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Power or Precision? An Insider’s

Look at F.P. Journe (Part 1)

Marvin Hermetic - Its Place in History


One cannot avoid in the passion and quest of learning and understanding the beginning of the wristwatch​ to bypass the story of the hermetic timepieces.


“Sealed” pieces were first patented by Francois Borgel in 1891, and the semihermetic were patented by Charles Rothen, an employee of Francois Borgel’s daughter who took over after her father died. The “fully hermetic” was originally believed to have been first patented by Jean Finger in 1921, but later it was found that it was preceded by Gruen some four years earlier (applied 1918/granted 1919). The final Rolex Oyster patent was originally patented by Perregaux and Perret on October 30, 1925, and bought by Hans Wilsdorf for the launch of the now famous Rolex Oyster in 1926. My first fully hermetic timepiece and probably the most “exotic” watch in my collection even today is my 14-kt Eberhard.[...]

Ten years ago, when F.P. Journe introduced his Chronomètre Souverain, his goal was to achieve a true Chronometer status. Precision has always been the essence of Journe's quest. His first two attempts were the Remontoir d'Egalité that regulates the flow of energy in his Tourbillon, and the Resonance movement that compensates for the movement of one's wrist (making it—de facto—the only true wrist watch in the world). For a "seemingly" simple timepiece, Mr. Journe elected to fit his Chronomètre Souverain with a double barrel. But unlike his peers, the goal was not to achieve a longer power reserve. By fitting each barrel with a very long (1 meter long) but loose spring, Journe flattened the power curve. To easily understand, imagine a spring when it is fully loaded. It has a "speeding" effect on the movement and as it dies, power gets [...]

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