François-Paul Journe is clearly one of the greatest icons of independent watchmaking. Indeed, it symbolizes its rise to the notoriety it enjoys today.

Journe’s style is unique and instantly recognizable, as evidenced by the Tourbillon Souverain watch, unveiled in 1999 – the first wristwatch to incorporate a constant force mechanism, marking the start of a whole series of exceptional timepieces.

A year later came the Chronomètre Résonance, a timepiece which, over the years, has become one of the most emblematic and representative of its talent and know-how, later followed by the Sonnerie Souveraine. That same year, Journe set up his workshops in a magnificent building in the center of Geneva and in 2001 unveiled the Octa, its first automatic caliber – a movement designed to allow the addition of a large number of future complications. 2003 marked the start of an international exhibition, with the opening of a store in Tokyo, then in Hong Kong in 2006. At the same time, François-Paul Journe received a considerable number of distinctions – including the “Aiguille d’Or” award. of the GPHG in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

Francois-Paul Journe © FPJourne

Its respect for tradition has not prevented it from using innovative materials: tantalum, seen for the first time in 2010 with the presentation of the Chronomètre Bleu, as well as titanium and aluminum, introduced in 2011 for its new lineSport collection. 2012 saw the presentation of the Chronomètre Optimum, a timepiece with a movement incorporating a constant force mechanism and minimizing the effects of friction.

In 2013, the Octa Perpetual Calendar was unveiled; in 2014, the first women’s collection was created, featuring the Élégante, a watch that surprises everyone with its highly innovative electromechanical movement. This mechanism made it extremely user-friendly, while perfectly reflecting the resolutely independent state of mind of the man who created it. Many see this success as an example to follow.

* Written by Marc-André Deschoux

* On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus, we embarked on the ambitious project of summarizing the last 20 years of watchmaking in The Millennium Book of Watches, a large, beautifully arranged coffee table book. This article is an excerpt. The Millennium Book of Watches is available on, in French and English, with a 10% reduction if you use the following code: WT2021.

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