Monochrome Watches
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The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain with Havana Dial

One of the most original watches by indie watchmaker François-Paul Journe.

| By Brice Goulard | 6 min read |
F.P. Journe Chronometre Souverain Havana Dial 6N Gold

When you think about Journe’s watches, the most essential model could well be the Chronomètre Souverain. Surely, one could argue that the Tourbillon Souverain is the most F.P. Journe of F.P. Journe watches – it was the first-ever wristwatch of François-Paul after all – but in my books, there’s something extremely pure to the CS watch. Something that is all about its authenticity, a simple time-only watch solely focused on chronometric performances. But this emblematic watch of the brand, often seen in a highly classic attire, can also become far more original. And that’s the mission of the Chronomètre Souverain Havana Dial, a watch that retains everything to be loved in the CS, with far more presence.

The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain has been around for more than 15 years now and has barely changed since its introduction. The classic pendant of the ultra-desirable Chronomètre Bleu, with which it shares the same base movement, we’re here talking about, on paper at least, the simplest, purest expression of the watchmaking expertise of François-Paul Journe. Indeed, no tourbillon, remontoire d’égalité or complex chiming complication here. The Chronomètre Souverain is just a simple, time-only hand-wound watch with an additional power reserve indicator. But of course, F.P. Journe being F.P. Journe, simple doesn’t mean ETA-simple. Underneath this beautiful Havana-coloured dial lies something that is deceptively simple.

F.P. Journe Chronometre Souverain Havana Dial 6N Gold

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Since its introduction, the Chronomètre Souverain has been offered in a variety of editions. There are, of course, the classic silver guilloché dials but also the models with solid gold dials and raised numerals, both part of the permanent collection. Then are the Black Label, the boutique edition with mother-of-pearl, the green dial model, the Holland & Holland, the boutique edition with black dial, the Tokyo-only model or the 38mm steel edition (part of a set of 5 watches.) And there are probably more that I’ve forgotten… So, in addition, this watch is also gifted with a certain versatility, despite its rather original display. It can certainly live with colours. And the one we have today is certainly something special. First of all, such a Havana tone isn’t that common. Second, the way it has been achieved is… well, typical Journe.

F.P. Journe Chronometre Souverain Havana Dial 6N Gold

The Havana dial is something that isn’t reserved for the Chronomètre Souverain, as it has been offered already in the Octa collection. But it remains nevertheless something of a rarity, and on the CS, a watch that you might not see very often in the wild. And despite not being new, we wanted to bring the light back on this model, especially on this red gold edition of the Chronomètre Souverain, where the Havana colour takes a whole new dimension than when it’s paired with platinum.

First, the basics about the habillage. The Chronomètre Souverain is, as most watches of the collection, housed in a 40mm case, which can be ordered in 950 platinum or in 18K 6N (understand red) gold. The diameter is great, combining modernity with elegance, and will suit most wrists. The design itself is without surprises and retains everything we’ve come to see on F.P. Journe watches, from all over the range. This means a relatively strong domed bezel, a thin middle case and curved lugs with a certain heft, giving the watch a nice presence on the wrist. Still, as often with Journe, we’re talking about a thin timepiece that measures only 8.60mm in height. The movement is wound and adjusted by a thin flat crown with the signature rope-like pattern.

F.P. Journe Chronometre Souverain Havana Dial 6N Gold

While these Havana dial watches are often presented in platinum, we had one here with a red gold case. At first, the combination with the caramel-coloured strap and the brown dial might feel a bit too extravagant and could lack contrast between warm and cold tones. In the metal, the result is actually rather impressive and desirable. I’d personally still choose platinum over gold, but this combination adds extra boldness to a normally very classic watch.

F.P. Journe Chronometre Souverain Havana Dial 6N Gold

The star of the show for this specific Chronomètre Souverain is, as you’ve guessed the dial and its unusual colour. First of all, it is based on the classic edition of the watch, meaning a dial with Clou de Paris guilloche in the centre and printed numerals. The real difference comes from the colour. As some of you might know, F.P. Journe is one of the rare watchmakers to have its own dial maker company, a sub-division named Les Cadraniers de Genève, resulting from the desire of François-Paul Journe to gain in independence and to have the opportunity to free his creativity.

F.P. Journe Chronometre Souverain Havana Dial 6N Gold

For this watch, and the Octa with the same dial colour, finding the right colour was a process that lasted several months. We’re not talking about paint or lacquer. The dial is actually coated with a mixture of gold and ruthenium, so basically a yellow-ish coloured material for the base, combined with a dark grey metal for the depth. The result is a very unique dark gold colour, rather than a simple brown – hence why it actually pairs well with a gold case. The signature Journe-style hands and the numerals are executed in off-white. The display is retained from the classic editions of the Chronomètre Souverain, using central hours and minutes, with a small seconds between 7 and 8 o’clock and a power reserve at 3 o’clock. Note that the power reserve is not showing the remaining energy stored in the barrel. The 0 indicates a fully-wound movement, and the gauge gives an indication of the time spent since you’ve wound your watch. The idea is here more “chronometry-focused” than “energy-centred” as it is there for the wearer to keep his watch in the best running zone of the movement.

F.P. Journe Chronometre Souverain Havana Dial 6N Gold

Under the dial is a very, very attractive movement. And not only visually. This thin hand-wound calibre 1304 is all about chronometry, with a focus on precision. It is built around two mainspring barrels in parallel, a solution that isn’t there to improve the length of the power but the stability of the torque delivered to the regulating organ. Being a certified chronometer, it uses specific solutions to gain precision, such as a free-sprung balance with four inertia weights. Looking at the movement, the architecture is extremely pleasant and elegantly designed, with a central ratchet wheel next to the crown, distributing energy to the two barrels. And if you look closely, there’s something on this movement that is… impossible! There is no visible connection between the barrels and the escape wheel. The trick is the “mystery balance” with part of the going-train positioned under the dial.

Being a modern F.P. Journe, the movement of this Chronomètre Souverain Havana Dial is executed mostly in 18k pink gold – for the bridges and the mainplate. All the parts are meticulously decorated, with thin Geneva stripes, polished bevels, fine perlage on the mainplate, polished sinks and screw heads.

Availability & Price

The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain Havana Dial is worn on a light brown alligator strap closed by a pin buckle matching the case material. It is part of the permanent collection, even though it is only available through official boutiques. It is priced at CHF 32,400 in red gold and CHF 36,200 in platinum. It can also be ordered on a platinum or red gold bracelet.

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2 responses

  1. Honestly have seen both iterations both the Red Gold and the Platinum and I have to say the Red Gold is the one to go for. It just elevates the watch to the next level as it pairs perfectly with the brown dial, the platinum actually leaves the watch a bit sterile and flat to say the least.

  2. I own the platinum havana version and it is far more versatile IMHO. An incredible watch that is slim and low key… a true masterpiece

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