The 2010 hand-wound F.P. Journe Chronometre Bleu (ref. 11874) brings you an in-house Calibre 1304 movement, which is hidden inside a finely crafted, extra slender case made from tantalum: a highly corrosion-resistant metal that you will rarely see outside of mobile phones, computers and other sorts of electronic gadgets that surround us in our life.
This one took me long. I first noticed this interesting timepiece back in November (time indeed flies,) but it is only now that I got the time to write a piece about this brilliant job.
Although the F.P. Journe Chronometre Bleu lacks a lot of features we are used to expecting from a truly fine watch that commands a five-figure price tag (like, say, instead of the usual hand-guilloched dial we see a rather plain-looking part, and a matte-finished surface of a simple body replaces the normal exquisitely sculpted, intricately polished and brushed case), it takes exactly 0.3 seconds to understand that you are dealing with a true haute horlogerie product.
F.P. Journe did the trick using a winning combination of a noble blue dial, the bluish-grey case made of matte-finished tantalum, and adding to the mix their signature “Journe” hour and minute hands (well, there is a nicely guilloched part here, but it is limited to a tiny subsidiary seconds sub-dial making it look more contrasting compared to the rest of the face). While the elements look unassuming when judged separately, it is their meticulously calculated combination that makes this timekeeper truly stand out, easily trumping less experienced competition.
Judging by F.P. Journe’s press release regarding this product, the Swiss manufacture positions this time measuring device as the best back-to-school gift a particularly wealthy connoisseur may make to his/her heir. As inconspicuous as it is, the gadget may complement nicely not only the usual private school uniform but also will easily match your child’s iPhone or some other high-tech gadget.
Also, at 39 mm in diameter and less than 9 millimeters in height, this beautiful chronometer will perfectly fit even a rather thin wrist and it will fit your college kid better than some massive Daytona chronograph (and it is a bad idea to give your young kid a Rolex).
Its manually wound Calibre 1304 in-house movement, too, deserves some attention.
Clearly seen through a sapphire display case back, the caliber sports two mainspring barrels that store enough energy to supply it with 56 hours of power reserve. Its baseplate and bridges are carved out of 18k rose gold and are decorated with Geneva stripes and circular graining (also known as ‘perlage’.) The movement is dynamically adjusted to six positions, which makes it a true chronometer.
Although being a chronometer doesn’t make it more precise than a cheap quartz mechanism, it still guarantees that the watchmaker used the best parts available for crafting the movement and that it probably won’t just break down on you if you take care of this beautiful tiny engine.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: F.P. Journe
F.P. Journe Chronometre Bleu (ref. 11874) specification
Price range: $23,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Calibre 1304, hand-wound, in-house, 22 jewels, 133 parts, 21,600 vph, 30.4 mm in diameter, 3.75 mm thick, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 56 hours
Size: 39.00 mm
Case height: 8.60 mm
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black leather
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire, antireflective