RN 110 TB
RN 110 TB RN RGWG FPJourne Resonance

F. P. Journe Chronomètre a Résonance

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Origins of Resonance

The phenomenon of resonance is believed to have been conceived by Christaan Hughes, a dutch scientist from the 17th century, who is also recognised as the inventor of the pendulum clock in 1656. Hughes observed that two separate pendulum clocks would usually synchronise. Antide Janvier, the royal clockmaker of Louis XVIII, explored this phenomenon further and is thought to have produced at least three clocks that feature resonance. Montres Journe, is the current owner of the double pendulum wall regulator no. 453, bought for CHF 1’488’500 in 2001 at Antiquorum. Abraham Louis Breguet, was believed to be the first watchmaker to implement the phenomenon into a pocket watch. It is rumoured that no more than three were ever produced, one of which currently resides at the Breguet museum in Paris.

In 1982 François-Paul along with his uncle Michel Journe had the honour of restoring the then relatively unknown Breguet No. 3177 that featured two pendulums, according to François-Paul, not many people understood the logic of having two pendulums as opposed to a single one. Upon disassembling the clock, François-Paul, quickly understood the principle intended by Breguet. The fascinating clock left a profound impact on François-Paul. At the age of just 25 years old, having recently just finished his first pocket watch (tourbillon), a curious François-Paul, then embarked on the journey of attempting to create his own version of the phenomenon. After a year and a half the project ultimately ended up being deemed a ‘failure’ as the concept was simply not reliable. With hindsight, François-Paul admits that this was his second project and he did not possess adequate experience to take on such a project. As the years passed by, the idea of failure was simply not an option, the fact that both Janvier and Breguet were able to achieve the phenomenon of resonance almost 200-300 years ago, at a time when technology and lubricants were limited, only drove François-Paul further in his quest. Naturally, François-Paul reembarked on a brave journey to be the first, not only to coin the term resonance (according to him) but to achieve this phenomenon in a wrist watch. 

First unveiled in 2000, the Chronomètre à Résonance represents one of the wildest challenge ever in the field of mechanical watches. This emblematic timepiece is a milestone in the constant research for the precision of the master watchmaker François-Paul Journe. According to Franćois-Paul, the phenomenon can be compared to a radio:

“When you are looking for a channel on the radio, it crackles until the chosen wavelengths meet those of the transmitter: only then do they harmonise and begin resonating together”.

The proximity of the balance wheels sit just 0.4mm apart from each other, each of the two balance alternately serves as an excited and resonator. When the two balances are in motion, they enter into sync due to the resonance effect and begin beating in opposition naturally. It is important to note that this harmony is possible only if the difference in frequency between them doesn’t exceed five seconds per day. 

The production of the resonance follows a similar path to the Tourbillon Souverain. The owners of the Souscription Tourbillon Souverain were offered matching numbers for the resonance, although the number was not displayed on the dial, unlike the Tourbillon Souscritpion. Thereafter, the standard production of the brass resonances (R) was produced till 2004 featuring caliber 1499, followed by the updated caliber 1499.2 which was a transition period from brass to gold-based movements. The newly introduced RN, which stands for resonance nouvelle featured both caliber 1499.2 and 1499.3 and is believed to have been produced till 2008. In 2009, reference RT (resonance trois) replaced the RN, the main difference being the use of 24hr vs. 12hrs sub-dials, collectors have nicknamed this the ‘parking meter’. The RT remained in production from 2009 till 2018, two anniversary pieces were introduced in 2018, reference RTA to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the resonance, although the reference remained unchanged. The entire caliber 1499 was discontinued in favour of the recently introduced Chronometre a Resonance – aves remontoirs d’egalites powered by caliber 1520, reference RQ.

Our example

This 40mm rose gold resonance forms part of the second generation reference RN (resonance nouveau) produced from 2005-2009. In this version the symmetry of both dials remains intact, retaining the classic 12-hour silver guilloché display on both sides. The white gold dial appears to be in immaculate condition showing no signs of oxidation. The separate guilloché dials for both the hours, minutes, and seconds appear to be aging ever so gracefully, hints of brownish-yellow (stain-like) oxidation can be found on the lower part of the guilloché. It is believed that no more than 60 examples were produced in this exact configuration.

The movement

The distinction between the manually wound and automatic movements can be divided into the following: Octa (automatic) and Souverain (manually wound). The Octa collection was introduced in 2001 with the introduction of the Octa Reserve de Marche, the caliber 1300 is the backbone of the entire automatic collection (till date). Naturally, the movement is Francois Paul’s unique creation and has allowed him to integrate different complications within the movement whilst still keeping the proportions of the movement identical to the most ‘basic’ models.

This Chronomètre à Résonance forms part of the Souverain collection which features a 42-hour manual wound movement. The transitional caliber 1499.2 is found on this particular example, this caliber is believed to have been produced for a rather short period of time from 2004-2005.  

The Set

This remarkable F. P. Journe – Chronomètre à Résonance, is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity dated 2020, an original 18-carat gold pin buckle, and further product literature. 

Brand: F.P. Journe
Model: Chronomètre à Résonance
Movement: Caliber 1499.2, rose gold
Case Diameter: 40mm
Year: 2008 (sold)
Box & Papers: Extract only.


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