Originally introduced between 2016-2017, the tourbillon nouveau (TN) régence circulaire was limited to just 10 examples.
Some 200 years ago Abraham-Louis Bréguet successfully patented his revolutionary mechanism, the tourbillon regulator. Centuries later, a determined but then unknown watchmaker by the name of François-Paul Journe tackled the challenge of improving Breguet’s landmark invention, aided by a historically important book, The Art of Breguet by legendary English horologist George Daniels.
It took five arduous years for François-Paul to complete his first tourbillon pocket watch, which was entirely hand-made and featured with twin barrels along with a détent escapement – and proudly signed “F. P. Journe – à Paris” on the dial.
Upon the founding of the brand, F. P. Journe in 1999, the first wristwatch presented by the brand was a Tourbillon Souverain a Remontoir d’egalité. A late partner of the brand, Gino, vividly recollects the warm reception that the Tourbillon generated …
“It was simply amazing, everyone found it beautiful, it was original, following the rules of Bréguet and it was a question of accuracy … the remontoir d’egalité was unique, the tourbillon would work even if you only had 30 minutes of power reserve. It was quite a success”
Following the successful launch of the Tourbillon (ref T.) and the sales that followed thereafter allowed F. P. Journe’s initial ambition of creating all their movements in 18-carat gold to be realised. Between 2003 and 2004, the brand phased out brass movements in favour of an industry-first – movements entirely in 18k red gold and implemented the upgrade across all calibres then in production.
Unlike other references, the brass-movement Tourbillon Souverain (ref. T) was entirely discontinued in favour of a completely new tourbillon, the Tourbillon Nouveau (ref. TN). The newly-introduced cal. 1403 in the “TN” integrated a seconde morte, or deadbeat seconds into the constant force mechanism.
For more information on the production of the reference TN, we would encourage you to read this.
This 40mm rose tourbillon souverain régence circular was originally introduced in 2016. The inspiration of this reference dates back to the International Jewellery & Watch Exhibition in Bahrain circa 2001. This would mark the first time the brand would explore hand-engraved dials in the form of the Labyrinth and Régence motifs. Upon the discontinuation of the reference T in 2003, the newly introduced reference TN (tourbillon nouveau) remained in production until 2018.
Throughout the production of the reference TN, several limited editions were made, most feature semi-precious stones or different coloured dials. The introduction of this specific reference marked the return of engraved dials. The inspiration for the hand-engraved pattern originates in the 18th century, which François-Paul considers the golden age of time measurement. Modeled on the geometrical patterns popular during the Regency period, the Régence Circulaire motif pays homage to the clockmakers and artisans of the 18th century in both style and execution.
It is estimated that a total of 20 Regency examples were made, 10 with a rose gold case paired with a hand-engraved white gold dial, and the other 10 features a 40mm rose gold case paired with a rose gold dial.
The base of the dial is 18-carat white gold, similar to a canvas, the engraver sketches the motif onto the dial. Through the use of alternate sized burins the engraver begins etching out parts of the dial and creating depth by applying alternate pressure. To hone the skills required to make such a dial is hard to come by. There is virtually no margin for error, the smallest lapse in concentration or pressure asserted by the artisan can result in having to restart from scratch. In the event the dial is completed and passes the rigid quality control measures, it is then polished by another artisan. Each meticulously finished hand-engraved dial possesses unique features making no dial identical to one another. The layout of the dial remains unchanged, the upper sector of the dial is signed F. P. Journe – Invenit et Fecit and the lower quadrant is signed Remontoir d’Egalité avec Seconde Morte.
The warmth of the 40mm rose gold case paired with the hand-engraved 18-carat white gold dial offers a degree of contrast that is not found on the rose on rose examples.
In his quest for chronometric performance, François-Paul invented his own interpretation of a constant force mechanism named the remontoir d’egalité, the use of the remontoire – a constant force device – can be compared to a dam that controls the flow of water and provides constant energy to the blades of a turbine. In effect, the remontoire regulates the power to the escapement to attain greater stability in rate. The adjustable inertia weights make it possible to optimize the amplitude of oscillation; the four-armed balance beats at a frequency of 21’600 v/h.
This particular example is powered by calibre 1403 which integrated a seconde morte, or deadbeat seconds into the constant force mechanism.
Brand: F. P. Journe
Model: Tourbillon Souverain Régence (TN)
Movement: Caliber 1403, manual
Case Diameter: 40mm
Year: 2016 (sold)
Box & Papers: Full set