The Havana collection by François-Paul Journe
In a frenetic world, often more attentive to form than to substance, there is always less time to stop and enjoy a pleasure. A word that, for man, sums up a refined rum, a good cigar, a great watch. Pleasures that are intertwined with each other and that sometimes can unexpectedly be found into a unique object like a watch. But not just any timepiece, no… When we talk about François-Paul Journe, the adjective “any” simply does not exist. Because, mind you, we didn’t juxtapose rum, cigars and watches by chance: we did it keeping in mind the Havana collection by François-Paul Journe. An author’s collection for the Marseille master, a collection that shares the warm and mellow shade of the caramel color that characterizes it with rum and cigars. Take the Chronomètre Souverain in your hands, or the Automatique Lune with Havana dial and you will understand it. You will understand why banality is a concept so far from these watches and why, on the other side, the synthesis of pleasures lives across their cases, straps and, above all, dials. The name Havana is certainly not needed to underline the atmosphere of “slow smoking” and slow Caribbean sense of time that the nuance of the dial evokes. Just look at it, wear it, enjoy it and the desire for a great cigar and the concreteness of Haute Horlogerie will find a synthesis on the wrist.
AUTOMATIQUE LUNE AND CHRONOMÈTRE SOUVERAIN
The Chronomètre Souverain first gained critical attention in 2005, when it won the Men’s Watch award at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. But enthusiasts already knew it and knew that François-Paul Journe had created it inspired by the marine chronometry of the early 19th century. The master himself underlined this, reminding that chronometry was invented by the 18th century English and French watchmakers, when their respective governments organized a competition that would reward the first watchmaker capable of making a timekeeper that could be carried on board a ship. Endowed with great precision, it was designed to calculate longitude. The conquest of the world’s great oceans and dominance over world trade were at stake!
The Automatique Lune Havana instead puts a new, fascinating look on the version launched in 2019 to enrich the collection presented for the first time in 2007; that was one of the first François-Paul Journe’s watch with centrally mounted hands, using the whole dial to display the hours and minutes, maximizing legibility with long teardrop-shaped blued steel hands contrasting against a stark silver guilloché dial.
The color of their dials is unique, it has no comparison in the watchmaking world and is the result of the company’s well-tended independence, which ensures the creative freedom of the Marseille master watchmaker. Like all works signed by François-Paul Journe, even this color is not the result of chance or unpreparedness. It was developed by F.P.Journe’s own dial makers, Les Cadraniers de Genève, which only after several months of work and research have obtained the result they desired, as a color and material rendering. In fact, Havana brown was born from a combination of gold and ruthenium, but to get the color just right required many adjustments to the formula.
The Havana version of the Automatique Lune comes in a 40 or 42 mm platinum or 18K 6N gold case and matching five-row bracelet, or alligator strap. The color of the dial gives the platinum version more charm. The ivory-colored hands add a touch of further elegance to the whole timepiece. The Maison’s craftsmen did their best in the dial, combining different finishes that gives dynamism to the whole: guilloché in the central part, concentric finish in the small seconds and power reserve sub-dials, smooth on the minute track, with indexes and chemin de fer motif ivory-colored enameled, like the hands. The watch features the same crown and dial, as well as the “grand date” at 11 o’clock: to increase the readability and aesthetic balance of the watch. The classic knurled crown makes it easier to use, to make the ergonomics of the Automatique Lune even better.
The moon phase indicator, visible through the aperture at 7:30, is made of sapphire, balanced by the small seconds indicator at 5 o’clock. At 9 o’clock, another hand indicates the power reserve, which can reach up to 120 hours. A stunning power reserve, a challenge won by François-Paul Journe by imagining that the best and the most obvious means of extending the running duration would be to extend the capacity of the spring development. The difficulty laid in integrating it on the same level as the gear-train and the escapement, given its stability: 1 meter and 1 millimeter thick. Thanks to the low torque of this spring, he could achieve extremely fast automatic winding. This is the strength of the Octa 1300.3 caliber that, like all models in François-Paul Journe Classique Collection, is made from solid 18K rose gold with a unidirectional oscillating mass in 22K 5N gold mounted off center. Even the slightest movement of the wrist winds the movement, up to its full power reserve.
The caliber beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour and is visible through the sapphire crystal case back, to best enhance both its architecture and its finishes. Between them, we can see circular stripes on the bridges, baseplate partly circular grained, gilt engravings, polished screw heads with chamfered slots, pegs with polished rounded ends and steelwork with polished chamfers.
Unlike the Automatique Lune, the Chronomètre Souverain Havana has only one case size, 40 mm, but the same combination of platinum or 18K 6N gold and five-row bracelet or caramel-colored alligator strap. The case is only 8 mm thick unlike the 10.7 of the Automatique Lune, which also required more space for inserting the moon phase disc.
The dial finishes reflect those of the Automatique Lune: guilloché in the central part, concentric finish in the small seconds and power reserve sub-dials, smooth on the minute track, with indexes and chemin de fer motif ivory-colored enameled, like the hands. The indications follow the same layout as the Chronomètre Souverain model in the current collection: small seconds counter at 7:30, power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock. The absence of the grand date has allowed the Maison’s logo to be positioned at the 12, as per tradition in the Chronomètre Souverain.
The Havana dress is incredibly fascinating, but don’t not forget however that, in its name, this watch holds François-Paul Journe’s obsession with chronometry which is precision, but above all consistency in the indication of time. Consistency which can be negatively influenced by several causes: thermal variations, movements, geographical situation, deterioration of the lubricants. That’s why the Chronomètre Souverain, as well as the other chronometers by François-Paul Journe, is adjusted in the brand’s workshops in Geneva before being sold throughout the world. Depending on the geographical location of the purchasers, a difference in rating compared with that of Geneva is normal: the gauging of the chronometer changes, but not its precision.
In the Chronomètre Souverain, this precision is ensured by the hand wound Caliber 1304. This 18K rose gold movement features 2 barrels, in the classic configuration of precision watches that work in parallel to deliver a strong and stable power for an unequalled precision. Power reserve is approximately 56 hours when fully charged. The clean and rational architecture of the Caliber 1304 is also visible, like that of the Caliber 1300.3 of the Automatique Lune, through the transparent case back; among the finish the partly circular grained baseplate, meulé soleil, the polished screw heads, the chamfered slots and the pegs with polished rounded ends stand out.
To highlight the importance of the Chronomètre Souverain in the history of François-Paul Journe, we remind that in 2010 the Master donated one with a platinum case to the great George Daniels. That Chronomètre Souverain had the dedication “FP to George Daniels my Mentor 2010” engraved on the balance bridge.
That’s why the Havana collection has a strong value. Because it dresses two watches, each with a special story for François-Paul Journe, with a strong traditional imprint in a contemporary and seductive dress. Owning both doesn’t just mean having a unique collection, it means getting to the heart of the great French Master.