F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain - 38mm - Rose gold


The Watch

There are certain watchmakers stretching back hundreds of years that are widely regarded as the pinnacle of mechanical watchmaking. It's been known for a select three to hold the titles of 'The Holy Trinity', but if one were to consider a new list today that includes independents, F.P. Journe just might sit at the top of the tree. 

There's nothing regular about an F.P. Journe, even with their most conventional model like this Chronomètre Souverain, a rare 38mm example featuring the desirable embossed dial. Rendered in 18k rose gold, the case carries a domed bezel with a symmetrical caseback and bezel flange that defines the mid-case profile of this elegant piece. The lugs blend flawlessly with that mid-case and downturn perfectly for wearability. The entire exterior of the watch is entirely polished, with only the double-dimpled knurled crown breaking up the smooth visuals. However, at 38mm wide, this isn't just any regular Chronomètre Souverain, as its smaller size was phased out in favour of the 40mm case, making it only available by special request. 38mm was the size Journe debuted many watches in, so aside from its favourable proportions, it is a size of great significance.   

The dial of this Chronomètre Souverain hides further scarcities, as its construction is an incredibly short-lived embossed execution. While later and current dials are silver with the gold Arabic numerals applied, early dials such as this one are rendered entirely in gold and are stamped or embossed from behind. Appliques always create more height and typically give off more depth, but embossed dials like this strike a lovely, subdued balance. The gold dial is presented in a classic silver-tone with an elegant grain finish, railroad track, and asymmetrical layout. At three sits the sunken power reserve indicator, which reads not how many hours of power remain but how many have elapsed since its last wind. At 7:30, the subsidiary seconds register is complete with a golden pomme counterbalance hand and a second railroad track. Sitting below the bold 'F.P. Journe—Invenit et Fecit' signature are the hour and minute hands in rose gold in classic Journe teardrop style form.

Between its 38mm size and embossed dial, it is believed, but unconfirmed, that less than 10 of these watches were ever produced.

The Movement

The calibre 1304 powers this Chronomètre Souverain continues the 18k rose gold theme and demonstrates the prestige of F.P. Journe. The movement is part of the manual-winding Souverain collection and boasts 56 hours of autonomy from its dual mainspring barrels, which sit parallel. Completely finished by hand, the movement combines circular graining with sunburst and wave patterns. All internal edges are smoothly chamfered with a Côte de Genève decoration on the bridges and black polishing for the screw heads.

How It Wears

As the years have passed, F.P. Journe's creations have consistently increased in size, enabling the manufacturer to incorporate more innovation into its pieces—but the Chronomètre Souverain truly excels at this charming 38mm size. Paired with a remarkable level of svelteness, this piece is a beautiful modern example of independent watchmaking that's incredibly special on the wrist. From a scholarship perspective, the significance of its dial construction is important, but it's also tangible on the wrist, with a more delicate depth than the newer applied numeral examples.  

Condition & set

This F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain Rose Gold dates from 2018 and is presented as a full set in excellent condition. The watch is fitted to a Mr Watchley Taupe strap.


Excelling in reputation and watchmaking merits alike, François-Paul Journe's eponymous brand is quite simply one of the most influential watchmakers in the independent world. Having left school at 14, he spent a summer with his uncle, a clock restorer. After undertaking formal horological study – to which he was expelled – François-Paul joined his uncle's new workshop in Paris, where he developed an understanding and appreciation for traditional 18th-century watchmaking lore. He also started taking commissions from clients and was eventually mentored by George Daniels. Around this time, he built his own tourbillon chronometer in his free time, as well as his first pocket watch. Other early creations from François-Paul include a planetarium mechanism for Asprey, a pocket watch with a fusée chain, a five-second remontoire, a retrograde perpetual calendar and an equation of time, as well as an early, failed attempt at a resonance, something François-Paul would later master. 

In 1985, Journe started a workshop to build watches for collectors. In 1989, he opened a movement manufacturer, and in 1996, he formed TIM SA, which was dedicated to exclusive calibres for brands. He then launched 'F.P. Journe—Invenit et Fecit' in 1999 with the Tourbillon Souverain.

While F.P. Journe's technical savoir-faire and ability to translate tradition into contemporary have cemented itself as a leader of independent watchmaking, its most straightforward watch remains an incredibly in-demand piece. Known as the Chronomètre Souverain, it's believed François-Paul wanted to debut his brand in '99 with this model but was astute enough to realise he needed to prove himself first with something more complicated. Released in 2005, the Chronomètre Souverain is a time-only watch with a power reserve indicator, and it stands as the epitome of its brand vocabulary, carrying historical elements that are visually influenced by marine chronometers. Despite the popularity and reputation of F.P. Journe, they're still producing handmade watches, and with that comes variation, experimentation and short-lived executions. For the Chronomètre Souverain that includes its dial, as F.P. Journe trialled embossed dials starting in 2015 while celebrating the model's tenth anniversary before switching over to appliques. Furthermore, the watch was offered in 38mm by special request only, with the standard more widespread size being 40mm.

It is believed that less than ten examples of the Chronomètre Souverain in Rose Gold at 38mm with the early dials were ever produced.

If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. We are based in Ghent, Belgium. 

No stock kept on site

Reference Chronomètre Souverain
Movement Manual
Caliber Calibre 1304
Dial Silver embossed numerals
Size (Case) 38mm
Material (Case) Rose gold
Bracelet Mr WATCHLEY Grained taupe
Buckle Rose gold FPJ
Condition Very good
Year 2018
Papers  Yes
Box  Yes
Warranty 2 years


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