Chronomètre à Résonance by F.P Journe - Focus on the Early Series

François- Paul Journe is the most talented watchmaker of his generation who is at the origin of the creation of the watch manufacture that goes by the same name, F.P. Journe. This brand is reminiscent of the most important watchmaking creations and inventions of the 18th century, the brand name is associated with the most exquisite craftmanship for a confidential yearly production, a brand that regularly brings the highest bids in auction houses…

We are celebrating at the time of the writing of this article the 20th birthday of the Chronomètre à Résonance, one of the most exclusive model of the brand, which contributed to its reputation. The Chronomètre à Résonance has known few adjustments and modifications over time, which results in very few units of the same series over the last 20 years. An important information to take into consideration when one looks at price and price potential for this unique timepiece.

The Chronomètre à Résonance from 2001, platinum case, 38MM, brass movement

Historically, the Résonance physics phenomenon was first tackled by German mathematician Christiaan Hygens in 1665, and was later developed by two prominent watchmakers, Antide Janvier first, who was the watchmaker of French Louis XVI, and Abraham-Louis Breguet, one of the founder of modern watchmaking….The Résonance phenomenon is probably best described by F.P. Journe himself: “In a watch, never mind which, there is energy which dissipates. When you listen to a watch, the tic-tac of the balance is dissipating energy. In a resonance chronometer, there are two balance wheels which are placed sufficiently close to one another, and the dissipated energy of each is caught by the other, leading to a unique type of frequency regulation.” It does sound that simple in the mouth of its creator…

The legend has it that the interest that F.P. Journe developed in the Résonance physics phenomenon first emerged when F.P. Journe was still learning watchmaking with his uncle in his shop rue de Verneuil in Paris Saint-Germain-des-Près (few yards away from 41WATCH new showroom address…). Everything began precisely in 1982 when F.P. Journe started to work on two ancient clocks from 19th century equipped with a Resonance mechanism, property of French King Louis XVIII…

The 38MM Caseback of the Chronomètre à Résonance

To be certain, even though Mr Journe is not the first having worked on Résonance mechanisms, he is undoubtedly the first to master the movement in a wristwatch in 1998 after several attempts and prototypes series.

The first twenty units ever produced contain the spirit of craftmanship dear to F.P Journe, with a very confidential production using materials such as brass preferred at the time to gold to manufacture calibers. As a young company, FP Journe went back to traditional means of financing to manufacture its first units of Résonance, requesting “subscriptions” to a fine number of privileged customers who fronted 50% of the cost of the watch beforehand to launch a commercialization process.

Offered in different calibers, materials, dials and diameters, the Resonance series are today amongst the most sought after modern pieces of collectors. The first ever series are probably the rarest and the most exclusive, with some of its characteristics below.

Focus on the wheels in résonance
The flawless finishings

Brass movement:

The first wristwatches produced by F.P. Journe are all made with a brass movement, soon replaced by a gold one as gold was eventually more representative to FP Journe spirit (in the owner’s mind). The brass period, from 2000 to 2004 in fact, is in effect one of the most sought after period as it is estimated than less than 2000 units were produced with brass movements, including less than 467 Résonance.

38 MM case:

The first units of Resonance have a 38 MM case, later on broadened to 40 MM. The crown is very elegantly placed at 12H and enables to rewind the watch and to set the time on the two clocks. The pusher at 17H enables to synchronize the seconds' counters.

Zoom on the crown at 12H
The button to synchronize the seconds'counters

After the pre-production period, the pre-souscription, and the souscription period, the model that we present to you here is the fourth generation of Resonance and the first one having been commercialized to a “wider” public.

Dial typography:

The power reserve writing is much thinner and more delicate than later versions. The dial in white gold transpires “craftmanship”, it develops a real “patina” over time as the alloy oxidizes… Later on series got varnish on the dial paint so as to prevent such an alteration…

Illustration of FP Journe fine work
A perfectly balanced timepiece on the wrist

Which future for those pieces?

Even though the wristwatch collectors market is relatively a new one, a look back on last 30 years enables us to imagine that pieces such as the Resonance will continue to raise interest amongst collectors as it reunites all necessary components, such as a limited production, a living legend associated with the product, multiple international awards to celebrate fine craftmanship combined with unique DNA.

The Chronomètre à Résonance in video

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