Centigraphe Rose Gold
Centigraphe Rose Gold A spectacular Chronographe Centigraphe Souverain IMG 2036 IMG 2045 The movement Centigraphe Rose Gold Centigraphe Dial FPJ Centigraphe

F. P. Journe Centigraphe

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The Story

The journey of a watchmaker differs from case to case, the story of François-Paul Journe is unlike any other. The pillars of Francois Paul’s success can be attributed to many factors, although he consistently credits his uncle Michel Journe who was a highly gifted watchmaker, that was trusted by some of the most influential collectors in the world. Under his guidance François-Paul Journe flourished, he then went on to tactically build up the arsenal that eventually allowed him to establish, F. P. Journe – Montres Journe SA in 1999.

Being a talented watchmaker is one side of the coin, being a businessman is the other and finding a healthy equilibrium between to two is extremely rare. There have been numerous occasions whereby a highly gifted watchmaker does not have the capacity to build a brand or a viable business model. François-Paul managed to excel on both ends of the playing field by grasping the importance of transparency towards his collectors along with building a strong brand identity through a unique design language. Additionally, François-Paul understood that the distribution of his watches would also play a key role in furthering the brands offering. The opening of the Tokyo Boutique in 2003 symbolized that the brand was headed in the right direction through the principles instilled into the brand.

The brand F. P. Journe today would best be described as one of the largest independent watch brands, that practices a form of semi-artisanal watchmaking, in turn, this allows production to hover around 650-850 pieces per year. Each watchmaker is responsible for his or her watch from inception till the piece leaves the manufacture. In the event that a timepiece returns to the manufacture within 24-36 months, the original watchmaker responsible for this specific piece will be asked to repair the watch. In doing so, the efficiency of the manufacture is definitely not optimized but rather respects watchmaking of old. At the same time François-Paul understood the importance of a vertically integrated manufacture, today Montres Journe SA are the proud owners of both the dial and case makers, whereas the early pieces from 1999-2004 feature dials and cases that were produced by third parties, resulting in inconsistencies.

F. P. Journe is considered to be one of the most important independent watchmakers of this era. The constant innovation and sometimes mind-boggling creations have forged his name into the upper echelons of watchmaking with names such as Antide Janvier, Ferdinand Berthoud, A. L. Breguet, and George Daniels.

Our example

In 2007, F. P. Journe, decided to cease production of the Octa Chronographe in favour of the mind boggling ‘Centigraphe’. The word chronograph means ‘time writer’, whereas the word ‘Centigraphe’ means ‘100 writer’. Such is the superiority of the ‘Centigraphe’, in 2008 this reference won the highly recognized ‘L’Aiguille d’Or award at the GPHG (Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve). The birth of ‘Centigraphe’ can be traced back to François-Paul’s passion for motorsports as well as his friendship with Jean Todt (ex-executive director of Scuderia Ferrari and current FIA president).

This example of the Centigraphe features a 40mm rose gold case paired with a white gold dial, a configuration that is believed to be rather rare. The industry norm follows a similar path whereby, a given brand creates new caliber and only then conceptualises the dial, François-Paul, works the other way round. One could argue that the design of this dial paved the way for Francois Paul to explore other design related avenues, the then classical design mainly consisted of a smaller silver guilloché sub dial (bell shaped) for the hour, minutes and seconds. This dial features many intricate details such as the three main sub dials, the first found between the 9-11 o’clock markers reads “SPR 1” (seconds per round) measures up to 100th of a second, the second found between the 1-3 o’clock markers reads “SPR 20” (seconds per round) revolves once every twenty seconds and third found between 5-7 o’clock markers reads “MPR” (minutes per round) measures up to ten minutes. The use of the metallic holder around the sub-dials creates depth within the dial, additionally, the guilloché found on the three sub-dials enhances the stepped dial effect. The use of red font allows the user to take note of the time scale, whereas, the black lacquer font enables the use of the tachymeter scale in km/h.

This video will provide a better understanding of how the complication functions.

The Centigraphe remained in production till 2018 and apart from the anniversary of each boutiques 10th year anniversary the piece will no longer be made. The Centigraphe Souverain collection supports the ICM (Institute for Brain and Spinal cord disorders), each sale of the piece from the factory level constituted a donation to the institution. The prototype CTS (no. 000) was sold at auction in 2012 with all proceeds donated to the ICM, the ICM has benefited the support of personalities from the world of sport, culture, business … As founder members (such as Michael Schumacher) of IMC, they have all opted to invest in this project to ensure its success.


The distinction between the manually wound and automatic movements can be divided into the following: Octa (automatic) and Souverain (manually wound). The manually wound Centigraphe Souverain caliber 1506 is manufactured entirely from 18k rose gold. It is constructed with 50 jewels, from our research there are certain examples that have 49 jewels, an update to the movement might be the cause of this. The in-line lever escapement is unique for several reasons, firstly, the barrel (also found in the Grande Sonnerie) is patented due to its nature of providing two separate sources of energy without compromising the amplitude of the timekeeping. In essence, the chronograph has a separate gear train, driven directly from the mainspring, when not used it isolates its self from the escapement.

Secondly the use of the foudroyant allows for the 1/100th of a second to be recorded, despite only beating at 3 Hz (21’600 vph). Thirdly, the rather unique rocker to engage the chronograph has been successfully patented by F. P. Journe, the rocker allows for the user to use the function as a start, stop and reset tool. François-Paul, noticed that the only error whilst activating and deactivating the chronographe, is the human error, it is virtually impossible to start and stop a chronographe according to realtime events without a slight delay. The unique rocker also attempts to solve that ‘issue’.

The Set

This 40mm F. P. Journe Centigraphe comes with an original F. P. Journe alligator strap, a corresponding rose gold buckle and is also accompanied with the original inner and outer boxes. The warranty card also forms part of the set.

Brand: F. P. Journe
Model: Centigraphe
Movement: Caliber 1506, rose gold
Case Diameter: 40mm
Year: 2019 (sold)
Box & Papers: Full set


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