40 timepieces capturing the watchmaking artistry and engineering of F.P.Journe
Offered for the first time in one auction
A significant thematic sale taking place in Geneva, 12 May
Carefully curated by a single connoisseur over more than twenty years, this exceptional collection retraces the chronology of a ground-breaking independent watchmaker in the History of Haute Horlogerie: F.P.Journe.
The watchmaker F.P. Journe only founded his namesake business in 1999, making 95 per cent of its own components. It’s this devotion to craftsmanship, coupled with the fact that it creates fewer than 1,000 watches each year, that has made the brand highly sought after, representing the link between the golden age of horological science and contemporary watchmaking.
The Art of F.P.Journe live auction on May 12th at the Hotel des Bergues in Geneva presents a unique opportunity to acquire a timepiece by one of the most important independent watchmakers of our time, each one of the 40 timepieces is exceptional, a testament to Journe’s relentless pursuit of perfection.
“Watchmaking is like a long wall. What I have done is to bring one or two stones to the wall, which is already not bad as there are many others who have never done even that.” (F.P.Journe)
This collection of masterpieces – “portable works of art” – epitomises his ability to interpret and construct watch movements of incredible complexity, often with unique takes on historic complications, within the confines of a wristwatch: Tourbillon à Remontoir d’Egalité, Chronomètre à Résonance, Centigraphe… to name only a few of the most famous.
Arguably F.P.Journe’s most famous wristwatch model is the Tourbillon Souverain, launched in 1999, the first ever tourbillon with a remontoir d’égalité. A mechanism delivers a constant force throughout the winding process to compensate for the uneven force delivered by the mainspring to the escapement as it unwinds. The Tourbillon Souverain, showcases F.P. Journe’s technical and design genius in creating a highly complicated wristwatch that is both modern yet firmly anchored in the great horological traditions. François-Paul Journe’s first step onto the world stage as a brand won him the ‘Aiguille d’Or’ prize at the Geneva ‘Grand Prix d’Horlogerie’.
Chronomètre à Résonance
Resonance is a natural physical phenomenon, said to have been first discovered by Christiaan Huygens in 1665 when he noticed that two pendulum clocks, hung together on the same beam, would beat together in perfect synchronicity. Almost a century later, it was further experimented on by the great French clockmaker Antide Janvier and the legendary watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, both of whose work F.P.Journe greatly admires. By achieving synchronicity without a physical linkage, resonance considerably reduces the effects of wrist and body movements. Almost two hundred years later, with the development and production of the Chronomètre à Résonance, François-Paul Journe became the first watchmaker to incorporate this tremendous improvement in precision into the smaller available volume of a wristwatch, an incredible achievement of modern horology.
Produced between 2008 and 2017, the Centigraphe was born from the encounter between François-Paul Journe and famous motorsport legend as well as watch connoisseur-collector Jean Todt. The Centigraphe Souverain was developed with the aim of producing the perfect chronograph for the world of automotive racing. Following extensive research on the balance of power in a movement, energy loss, motricity and pushers, François-Paul Journe created an unprecedented chronograph able to measure elapsed time from a 100th of a second up to ten minutes, making it possible in theory to time an object moving at 360,000 km/h, or approximately 1/3000ths of the speed of light. The Centigraphe won F.P.Journe the top prize of the Golden Hand Award at the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix for the third time since 2000; the Centigraphe Souverain was recognised as the very first and only of its kind.
The Black Label Editions, The Boutique Editions
A Black Label edition of any F.P.Journe model is always the most prized and difficult to obtain, only offered to existing F.P. Journe watch owners. These timepieces were available exclusively through F.P.Journe boutiques, with between 2 and 12 Black Label Edition timekeepers each year (a maximum of 2 per model).
- Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).
- auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s has sold 8 of the 10 most important single-owner collections in history, including the Paul G. Allen Collection—the most valuable collection ever offered at auction (November 2022). In recent years, Christie’s also achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.
- Following the groundbreaking 2021 sale of the first digital art NFT ever offered by a global auction house (Beeple’s Everydays), Christie’s recently launched the first fully on-chain auction platform dedicated to exceptional NFT art. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats.
- Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.
- Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps.
* Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price – see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium.