Very recently, Phillips announced it would offer a complete set of five number one F.P. Journe Souscription watches at the Geneva Watch Auction: XIV in November. Each of the watches in the set of limited-editions bears the serial number 001, and it’s the only known set of its kind. What makes these timepieces even rarer is that they’ve never been auctioned before.
The auction will offer them not as a set, but as individual lots: The distinct Tourbillon à Remontoir d’Égalité has an estimated value starting at US$334,658 (about RM1.4 million) and the Chronomètre à Résonance estimate begins at US$223,105 (about RM922,000). Meanwhile, pricing for the three models of the Octa collection including the Réserve de Marche, Chronographe and Calendrier models have estimates ranging from US$55,776 to US$223,105 (roughly RM231,000 to RM922,000).
All five original “Souscription” models are consigned from the original owner. Each piece is housed in a 38 mm case, and all boast precise brass movements. The watchmaker’s first prototype of the Tourbillon à Remontoir d’Égalité was completed in 1991; Journe revisited it in 1999 for his first serially produced wristwatch. The Chronomètre à Résonance was launched in 2000, as the world’s first timepiece in which the movement is composed of two independent imbalances—notably as an “exciter” and “resonator.”
As for the Octa Collection, or series that introduced the brand’s first automatic movement, it was a real challenge to construct according to the watchmaker. More specifically in regards to chronometry and timekeeping, but also when it came down to day-to-day comfort. In turn, Journe effectively devised a caliber with an eight-day power reserve that could incorporate many future complications within the same volume. Although challenging, it’s worth noting that the Octa calibre maintains its original dimensions.
The first twenty models made in the Octa collection—launched when Journe’s brand had been officially established in 1999—were reserved for the collectors who had bought the original Tourbillon and Résonance “Souscription” series. Subsequently, these figures were also called “Souscription” pieces by Journe as well.
“The word ‘historic’ may have been overused but we cannot find a better term to describe the Souscription Set n°1,” said Aurel Bacs, senior consultant for Bacs & Russo and Alexandre Ghotbi, Phillips’ head of watches for continental Europe and the Middle East in a joint statement. “These five watches are not only the foundation of Journe’s brand but whose historical importance and relevance as number one cannot be underlined enough. It is humbling to hold the Tourbillon n°1 in one’s hand and to think it was the very first watch Journe made to launch his brand. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Previously published on Robb Report.