When it comes to charity auction Only Watch, F.P. Journe is always one of the highlights, not only because of the name but mainly because he usually donates a unique, unprecedented and complex watch. Remember the tantalum/chrome blue dial Tourbillon Souverain of 2015? Or the unique Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante of 2017? Well, for the 2019 edition of Only Watch, the brand has just announced an incredible, totally unique (prototype stage), ultra-complex watch: the F.P. Journe Astronomic Blue.
Visually, no big surprise, as F.P. Journe retains his classic “Only Watch” theme, meaning a tantalum case (a rare metal with a dark grey colour and high density), an orange alligator strap and the signature chrome blue dial (which is also found on the Chonomètre Bleu). Considering the impressive number of complications that are included in this watch, the case is relatively large at 44mm in diameter but still reasonable when it comes to thickness, at 13.75mm. Everything you see here on this F.P. Journe Astronomic Blue is unique and has been developed exclusively for Only Watch 2019 – not only the dial and the case but the entire movement and its multiple indications too.
What is really interesting here is the prototype calibre “1619” encased in this tantalum protective box. And yes, this is clearly Journe’s most complex movement ever, and probably one of the most complex movements recently made by the Swiss industry, with no fewer than 18 complications. Dial-side, the F.P. Journe Astronomic Blue displays the time (including dead-beat seconds), the sidereal time, a second time-zone, a power reserve, a day-night indicator, the moon phases and the sunrise and sunset indications. Not the simplest watch to read, but still impressively well organized. The classic chrome blue background with a guilloché silver dial is always a thing of beauty.
The reverse side of the F.P. Journe Astronomic Blue offers another impressive view. The back of the watch reveals a unique movement, which apparently shares almost nothing with the previous watch manufactured by the brand. Visible are a one-minute tourbillon with “remontoir d’égalité” (constant force device), a double barrel, an annual calendar displayed on the periphery of the movement, an equation of time and some of the minute repeater parts, including the governor. As often with Journe, the chiming mechanism is located dial-side and relies on specific, flat hammers and gongs.
This F.P. Journe Astronomic Blue is probably the precursor to a future grande complication watch that Journe will launch in the coming year or so. This model is a unique piece developed exclusively for Only Watch 2019, with an estimated price of CHF 300,000 – CHF 600,000. Expect to see this watch smash a record at auction.
Only Watch is a biennial fundraiser for research on muscular dystrophy – Association Monégasque Contre les Myopathies (AMM). Organized under the patronage of HSH Albert II de Monaco, the watches of the 8th edition will be auctioned by Christie’s on Saturday 9 November 2019. More details at www.onlywatch.com.