New for 2019 from the independent watchmaking legend, François-Paul Journe (F.P. Journe), the Tourbillon Souverain Vertical watch demonstrates a new take on a classic line from the brand. It uses a unique design which we’ll go over in a minute to change the fundamentals of the classic Tourbillon Souverain that launched at Baselworld in 1999.
The most significant change to the watch is the tourbillon itself, which is now mounted vertically like the tourbillons in complicated Panerai watches. Unlike those tourbillons though, this one still rotates in the same manner. Imagine the original tourbillon, flip it on its side, and you have this watch. But, it’s a little more interesting than that. As we know, the tourbillon was initially designed to counteract the effects of gravity on the balance wheel by rotating the escapement assembly on its axis. That subjects every part of the assembly to gravity, thereby neutralising any degrading effects it had on the accuracy. Of course, wristwatches are not in one position, and the watch is either sat on top of the wrist as we sit down, or remains vertical while we stand.
To fix this issue, the tourbillon here is mounted perpendicular to the dial, so that whether you’re sitting, standing or generally doing something interesting the tourbillon is always in the best position to keep the timing accurate. It moves faster as well. It’s a 30-second tourbillon which, as the name suggests, completes one rotation every 30 seconds. Normally a tourbillon completes a revolution every minute.
Apart from that, it’s business as usual, well, as much as you can say that about an F.P. Journe watch, these do not come about every day. There is also the remontoire d’égalité mechanism in there, which also aids in ironing out timing imperfections by releasing stored power in bursts to ensure consistency.
Appearance wise, the significant difference is the tourbillon, but the dial itself is hand engraved as you’d expect, and the subdials are made of fired enamel. The case of the new tourbillon is both thicker and larger in diameter, at 42mm compared to 39mm of the previous one. It’s also 13.6mm in thickness as well, owing to the tourbillon. If you want one, you’ll be lucky, the price is 244,800 CHF for the rose gold effort, and 248,400 for the platinum including a Swiss tax of 7.7%. Visit F.P. Journe here.