FP JOURNE Astronomy Souvenirs

Even in the esoteric world of Haute Horlogerie, the FP Journe Astronomic Souveraine is a remarkable piece. With a total of 18 complications and functions, it includes not only several astronomical functions, but also highly complex mechanisms such as the Remontoir d’égalité, the tourbillon and the minute repeater. By any measure, this highly sophisticated watch deserves the words “Grand Complication” and “Great Book.”

On a clear day, adventurous people might decide to climb the highest hill they can see. Alternatively, some brave types, in serious mountaineering attire, may choose to ascend to higher altitudes. Then there’s a small group of highly skilled climbers battling altitude sickness and traversing dangerous obstacles eager to climb peaks like K2, Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc or Everest. Likewise, in watchmaking, François-Paul Journe frequents the top, exploring new and lesser-known territories. There is no doubt that he is a high-level person in Haute Horlogerie.

Over the years, Journe’s creative minds have conceived watches with high complications and ingenious mechanisms. His famous works include Chronomètre Optimum, Chronomètre à Résonance, Répétition Souveraine and Tourbillon Souverain. This quartet is arguably the clockwork equivalent of Everest, K2, Kilimanjaro and Mont Blanc, and François-Paul Journe has conquered them all. fake watch price

Given the enormous complexity of the FPJourne Astronomic Souveraine, François-Paul Journe is clearly someone who seeks to go beyond established norms. Introduced in November 2019, this timepiece is equipped with 18 complications, worthy of the title of “Extraordinary Complications”. Using my previous analogy, it’s the equivalent of fast climbing Everest, K2, Kilimanjaro, and Mont Blanc. Few mortals would contemplate such a daunting feat.

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In 2019, François-Paul Journe launched a prototype watch – the astronomical blue. Featuring an attractive blue dial and 44mm tantalum case, this prototype was donated to Only Watch.

While the models produced in the latter series share many similarities with Only Watch’s unique creations, there are also significant differences. For example, the inscriptions are different, the hands of the power reserve indicator are different colors, and the case materials are different. In fact, the FPJourne Astronomic Souveraine is housed in a 44mm stainless steel case, a metal that Journe often chooses for timekeeping watches because of its impressive sound that surpasses precious metals due to the crystal structure of steel performance.

Astronomy and Clocks

The history of astronomy and clocks is intertwined. At first, there was no form of time measurement, but scholars believe that humans eventually began making astronomical observations, placing stones on the ground as a primitive measure of time. In fact, the famous stone of Stonehenge in England is linked to this theory, although there are many alternative theories as to the cause of the Wiltshire Stone Circle.

The Nebraska Disk (circa 1600 BC) depicts the sky over Germany. It has 32 celestial bodies, including the sun, moon and the Pleiades. Scientists believe that the Nebraska astrolabe is used to predict the summer and winter solstices, allowing farmers to predict the best times to sow crops and then harvest them.

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), often described as “the father of observational astronomy”, challenged accepted wisdom. When observing the moon, he used the length of the shadow to estimate the height of the mountains on the moon, dispelling the previous idea that the moon was smooth. His spirit of inquiry led him to make many additional discoveries. For example, he observed a bronze chandelier swinging in Pisa Cathedral and noticed that each swing always took the same amount of time to complete, regardless of its magnitude. This discovery predates the first working pendulum clock produced by Christian Huygens (1629-1695). Clearly, astronomers, physicists, scientists and watchmakers all breathe the same air.

The 19th century saw the introduction of the first chronograph, the Louis Moinet Compteur de Tierces (1816). This is used to time the movement of celestial bodies when viewed from Earth. It is used in conjunction with a telescope fitted with a crosshair and calibrated to measure precise distances. The instrument has a frequency of 30Hz and a dizzying rhythm that can divide seconds into 60ths, giving a high degree of precision.

a huge complication

As the name suggests, the FPJourne Astronomic Souveraine is equipped with many astronomical complications such as moon phases, sidereal time, and times related to sunrise and sunset. However, the Maison also describes the watch as “completely dedicated to contemplation of the stars”. Indeed, while reading a company press release, the model invited the wearer to look at the stars and embrace their poetic allure. At first, one might think that Journe’s statement, “lost in the stars in order to better find your way here on Earth” is merely romanticism. Before finding a way to determine longitude, however, sailors would use astrolabes to measure the angle between the horizon and Polaris to determine the latitude of their location. After reflection, cheap swiss watches

However, not all of the Astronomic Souveraine’s complications are dedicated to stargazing, and some offer alternative uses. Allow me to elaborate.

Earth time and sidereal time

“Earth time” is a measure of time defined by the Earth’s orbital motion. The sun circles the earth every 24 hours. On the other hand, “sidereal time”, also known as “celestial time”, is equal to the rotation of the Earth relative to the star rather than the sun. The sky rolled over the Earth in 23 hours and 56 minutes.

The dial of the FPJourne Astronomic Souveraine has two subdials at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. The dial on the right shows the current time (local time) with 5N gold-plated steel hands and the current time (home time) with blued steel hands. The minutes are displayed with a single central hand, similar to adjusting the hands on a watch.

The second subdial on the left side of the dial features hour and minute hands, showing sidereal time. The blue hands interact with the hour track marked with Arabic numerals and chemin de fer.

Additional dial details are located on the front of the house

Both subdials are decorated with studded Paris and are joined by Journe’s patented rebar frame. The realistic moon phase is located at 5 o’clock, below the hour display (Earth time) on the right.

FPJourne makes clever use of symmetry throughout the composition. An arc-shaped aperture, similar in proportion and shape to the phases of the moon, is positioned at 7 o’clock. This window shows the natural jumping seconds display in the form of a spinning disc.

The power reserve indicator is located at 6 o’clock and is indicated by a blue hand. Below noon, a curved opening offers views of the sunrise and sunset. The slender minute hand talks to Arabic numerals positioned every 5 minutes and the clear chemin de fer.

As with other Journe creations, all indications can be adjusted via the crown. It’s much simpler than making adjustments with a stylus and numerous correctors, however, this user-friendliness is the product of a lot of Maison’s finesse.

time equation

The time equation is the difference between true solar time (the time it takes the sun to return to the local meridian) and mean solar time (1 day = 24 hours). Typically, this difference ranges from -16 minutes to +14 minutes (approximately), varying throughout the year due to the sun’s elliptical orbit. Simply put, the equation of time shows the difference between the time displayed on a clock or cheap replica watches and the time indicated by the sundial.

The FPJourne Astronomic Souveraine displays the equation of time to the back of the watch using clear scales set on a white track. The blued-steel hands, fixed to the dedicated oval wheel, are at the center of the movement, giving it meaning.


A “regular” watch with a simple date display usually requires the wearer to adjust the date according to the length of the month. For example, November has 30 days, so the wearer needs to pull out the crown and manually advance the date to December 1st.

Almanacs, on the other hand, have a significant degree of mechanical intelligence, recognizing the length of each month and automatically advancing the date as needed. In the above example, the date will jump from November 30 to December 1 without the wearer’s intervention. The only time an annual calendar wearer will need to adjust the date is March 1, as February contains 28 or 29 days, depending on whether it’s a leap year.

The Astronomic Souveraine’s annual calendar is displayed on a track on the back of the watch. Zodiac signs, around the annual calendar.


In 1801, Abraham-Louis Breguet, widely regarded as the greatest watchmaker of all time, patented his invention of the tourbillon. This ingenious mechanism is designed to counteract the adverse effects of gravity on the pocket watch’s adjustment mechanism. Breguet’s solution was to place the escapement and adjustment mechanism inside a rotating cage. Any potential rate gain is then negated as the cage rotates, improving accuracy.

FPJourne miniaturized Breguet’s invention so that it could be integrated into a wristwatch. While other companies produce watches equipped with Breguet inventions, few of these timepieces have so many complications in such a relatively modest space (see below).

The tourbillon of the Astronomic Souveraine rotates 360° every 60 seconds.

‘Remontoir d’égalité’

In most traditional watches, the power from the mainspring is transmitted to the escapement through a gear train. A fundamental weakness of most watches, however, is that the force diminishes as the mainspring becomes more and more relaxed. The result is a drop in the amplitude of the balance, causing the rate to increase, compromising accuracy.

FPJourne Astronomic Souveraine features several improvements to improve accuracy. First, it uses a double barrel with a soft mainspring, which provides the escapement with a more stable source of power than a single barrel. In addition, despite the complexity and complexity of this watch, it has an impressive power reserve of 40 hours.

The “Remontoir d’égalité” (constant force device) features an additional wheel between the fourth wheel of the gear train and the escapement. The wheel has a short-duration spring that pulses energy every second. This spring is very different from a regular mainspring, which is used to harness large amounts of energy, usually delivered over hours or even days rather than seconds. This is not the first time Mr Journe has outfitted a watch with the “Remontoir d’égalité”, it first appeared on the company’s Tourbillon Souverain (launched in 1999).

FPJourne equips the movement with a free-spring balance. Unlike an exponentially regulated balance, the effective length of the hairspring remains the same. The watchmaker adjusts the movement by turning four inertia weights located on the four spokes of the balance wheel, thereby changing the moment of inertia and thus making the watch run faster or slower.

The system is far superior to exponentially regulated balances, proving less susceptible to position errors and having excellent rate stability. Interestingly, by placing the inertial weight inside the machine, instead of using traditional chronograph screws set on the edge of the balance wheel, the balance wheel is more aerodynamic, creating less air turbulence, making the movement a Calibre 1619, more accurate.

The family also equips the balance wheel with a Breguet upper ring, which makes the hairspring breathe more concentrically, thereby enhancing isochronism.

Minute Repeater

In modern times, society has become accustomed to electric street lights, however, such lighting did not appear until the late 19th century, initially in the city of Paris. This often poses a difficult problem for watch owners, namely how to determine the time under the cloak of darkness?

The advent of the minute repeater allowed watch owners to use a series of chimes to determine the time. This striking sequence is driven by a lever or slider on the side of the case. The timepiece will use a combination of two gongs and two hammers to sound the hours, quarters and minutes.

Normally, the arrangement of gongs and hammers would take up a lot of space, however, with the arrival of the FPJourne Répétition Souveraine, this concept was swept away. Measuring just 40mm in diameter and 8.50mm in height, this watch is similar in size to many “regular” models without complications. It is this ability to create complex watches on a relatively small scale that has become one of the distinguishing features of François-Paul Journe’s work. In fact, despite having 18 complications and functions, the Astronomic Souveraine measures just 44mm in diameter and 13.70mm in height. To put this in context, watches equipped with similar features are often worn on a chain and display behemoth proportions.

Sports – Additional Comments

At the heart of the FPJourne Astronomic Souveraine is the Calibre 1619, a hand-wound movement that has been refined. Consistent with many of the brand’s movements, the 1619 calibre is crafted from 18-karat rose gold. This precious metal is one of the least reactive materials and does not require electroplating. Inevitably, when the surface is plated, it will eventually deteriorate and eventually need to be stripped and re-plated. Journe clearly considers the longevity of his watches, which can be easily discerned time and time again.

The cleat is decorated with a circular Côtes de Genève pattern, while the main plate part has a pearl pattern. Polished screw heads with chamfered grooves abut pins with polished rounded ends. Undoubtedly, however, the most important thing is the unparalleled mirror finish on the numerous movement components. This finishing technique is the best expression of a finishing process and involves the use of tinplate coated with a fine-grained abrasive. Then polish the part to this surface until it is completely flat. The final appearance of the part can be shown as uniform black, gray or white, depending on its main angle.

There are watches, there are examples of Haute Horlogerie, and there are pieces made by François-Paul Journe and his eponymous company. It seemed to me that this son of Marseilles sat on the highest plane, thriving in a world so high that many of his contemporaries could hardly breathe. Mr. Journe is not only a dreamer, but a consummate creator of horological art. He has spent years researching and developing ideas, as can be seen in his track record, summed up by the brand’s slogan “Invenit et Fecit” (invent and manufacture).

Unlike Astronomic Blue, the FPJourne Astronomic Souveraine is not a one-of-a-kind piece, however, with its lengthy creation, this model will remain very rare. In fact, such is the complexity of this watch that only a few are produced each year.

The Astronomic Souveraine is an extraordinary watch, crafted to the legendary and lofty standards of Mr. Journe. However, while I admire this remarkable timepiece, I can’t help but wonder what future creations await the connoisseurs of Journe, and more precisely, what new heights will he reach next?

Technical Specifications

Model: FP Journe Astronomic Souveraine
Case: Stainless Steel; Diameter 44mm; Height 13.70mm; Sapphire Crystal Front and Back
18 complications and functions: sapphire glass day/night; sunset; minutes; hours; second time zone; sapphire glass moon phases; power reserve; natural non-beat seconds; minute sidereal; hour sidereal; minute repeater; sunrise ; Tourbillon 60 seconds; ‘Remontoir d’égalité’; double barrel; date, annual calendar; time equation; all settings adjusted by the crown.
Movement: Calibre 1619; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 68 jewels; 40-hour power reserve; 758 components without dial / 817 components on leather strap.