F.P. JOURNE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE, HISTORIC AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT PLATINUM TOURBILLON WRISTWATCH WITH BRASS MOVEMENT, YELLOW GOLD DIAL, REMONTOIRE D’EGALITÉ AND POWER RESERVE
F.P. JOURNE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE, HISTORIC AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT PLATINUM TOURBILLON WRISTWATCH WITH BRASS MOVEMENT, YELLOW GOLD DIAL, REMONTOIRE D’EGALITÉ AND POWER RESERVE
F.P. JOURNE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE, HISTORIC AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT PLATINUM TOURBILLON WRISTWATCH WITH BRASS MOVEMENT, YELLOW GOLD DIAL, REMONTOIRE D’EGALITÉ AND POWER RESERVE
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F.P. JOURNE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE, HISTORIC AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT PLATINUM TOURBILLON WRISTWATCH WITH BRASS MOVEMENT, YELLOW GOLD DIAL, REMONTOIRE D’EGALITÉ AND POWER RESERVE
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This lot is subject to standard Swiss VAT rules an… Read more F.P. JOURNETOURBILLON SOUVERAIN 'SOUSCRIPTION' NO. 2/20
F.P. JOURNE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE, HISTORIC AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT PLATINUM TOURBILLON WRISTWATCH WITH BRASS MOVEMENT, YELLOW GOLD DIAL, REMONTOIRE D’EGALITÉ AND POWER RESERVE

SIGNED F.P. JOURNE, TOURBILLON SOUVERAIN 'SOUSCRIPTION' MODEL , NO. 2/20, CIRCA 1999

Details
F.P. JOURNE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE, HISTORIC AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT PLATINUM TOURBILLON WRISTWATCH WITH BRASS MOVEMENT, YELLOW GOLD DIAL, REMONTOIRE D’EGALITÉ AND POWER RESERVE
SIGNED F.P. JOURNE, TOURBILLON SOUVERAIN 'SOUSCRIPTION' MODEL , NO. 2/20, CIRCA 1999
Movement: Rhodium-plated brass, manual
Dial: Yellow
Case: 38 mm. diam.
With: Platinum F.P. Journe buckle, presentation box and outer packaging
Remark: The second timepiece ever commercialized by François Paul Journe
Special notice
This lot is subject to standard Swiss VAT rules and 7.7% VAT will be charged on the ‘hammer’ and the ‘buyer’s premium’

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Remi Guillemin
Remi Guillemin Head of Watches, Europe and Americas

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Lot Essay

Of all the timepieces created by François-Paul Journe at the start of his extraordinary watchmaking career, the ‘Souscription’ Tourbillon Souverain is probably the ultimate prize for the collector, so rare that it has an almost mythical status. Christie’s is therefore extremely excited to be able to offer for the first time at auction Souscription watch no. 2 from the series of only 20 numbered pieces ever made. Very few people have ever been fortunate enough to have ever seen one of these ultra-exclusive watches in reality, even fewer have ever possessed one. The present watch offers collectors of F.P. Journe and those who pursue the rarest statement timepieces an exceptional and almost unheard of opportunity to acquire a Souscription Tourbillon Souverain at auction. This second watch of the official Souscription series is not only a highly significant foundation piece in the early history of one of the most respected and desirable of all modern watchmakers but it also showcases a major first for the contemporary mechanical wristwatch, the remontoir d’égalité.

Souscription Tourbillon Souverain No. 2/20 – An Appreciation
Tourbillon Souverain no. 2 is particularly exciting as the second ever example of the model to be made in small series and sold officially to one of François-Paul Journe’s friends or clients, truly one of the key watches in the establishment of the Journe brand and reputation. In fact, both Souscription no.1 and Souscription no. 2 were purchased by the same client. This far-sighted purchaser paid in full for no.1 and advanced funds for no. 2, the present watch, in order that one of his closest friends could also possess this remarkable horological first and bear witness to the birth of the Journe brand.

François-Paul Journe’s early timepieces have become highly regarded as works of art in their own right, their incredible horological complexity synchronizes perfectly with the delicacy of hand-made details such as the ravishing gold dials and case engravings which have often softened and mellowed over time to form a sublime patina that cannot be replicated and is only found on these early masterworks. The charming untouched yellow gold dial of the present watch illustrates this point perfectly, beautifully textured and displaying the myriad reflections and shimmer that is so desirable to see on an early Journe timepiece. It is also noteworthy that the 20 Souscription Tourbillon Souverain are numbered beginning with 1/20 and ending with 20/20 on the dial and on the case, the dials of these 20 watches are inscribed only "Invenit et Fecit / F.P. Journe" and not with the additional "Remontoir d'Egalité" inscription of the following generations.

Souscription Tourbillon Souverain no. 2 is undoubtedly a major work of art made by the great man himself at the company’s inception and as such, its importance cannot be overstated. The privilege of seeing this very early Souscription Tourbillion shows that Journe’s fully formed and confident house style had been established from the very beginning. The Tourbillon Souverain whilst paying homage to the works of the great past masters Abraham-Louis Breguet and of course George Daniels, remains resolutely F.P. Journe’s original conception and realization, an undoubted icon of our age.

The Souscription Tourbillon Souverain
The model that launched François-Paul Journe and, in time, communicated his genius to a wider audience was unquestionably the Tourbillon Souverain. Although three prototypes were constructed by Journe before 1994, it was not until 1999 that the model was fully realized commercially. In order to finance bringing the Tourbillon Souverain into production, Journe was inspired after a discussion with a close friend who suggested adopting an idea first used by Abraham-Louis Breguet over 200 years earlier, to make the first series of Tourbillon Souverains on a ‘Souscription’ (subscription) basis. Thus, friends and clients paid 50% in advance for their watches, in return they received a substantial discount on the final retail price to repay their trust and confidence. Starting with a series of twenty ‘Souscription’ watches numbered 1 to 20 on the dial and case, these first twenty pieces of which the present watch is number 2, represent the beginning and very essence of the F.P. Journe brand as we know it today. The movements of these early Souscription watches are, in common with all Journe watches until 2004 when the 18k gold movements were introduced, made of rhodium-plated brass. In recent years, collectors have focused their attention and research on these early series production and pre-production watches with brass movements.

Tourbillon Souverain
The ‘Tourbillon Souverain’ is arguably F.P. Journe’s most famous wristwatch model and still one of the most accurate on the market today. Launched in 1999, it was the first ever tourbillon with a remontoir d’egalité, the first time a remontoire device had ever been used in a wristwatch. The remontoir d’egalité is a mechanism which delivers a constant force throughout the duration of winding, therefore the variable force delivered by the mainspring to the escapement as it unwinds is equalized. The Tourbillon Souverain’s combination of remontoire with tourbillon successfully showcases F. P. Journe's technical and design genius in the creation of a highly complicated modern wristwatch yet one whose roots are firmly in the great horological traditions. François-Paul Journe's ingenious masterpiece - The Tourbillon Souverain, received the ‘Aiguille d’Or’ prize at the Geneva ‘Grand Prix d’Horlogerie’ in 2004. It was also elected watch of the year at the ‘Watch of the Year’ grand prize in Japan in 2004.

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