The standout entrant from this year’s Only Watch charity auction is a stellar chronograph from FP Journe
By Chris Hall
FP Journe has clearly not got the memo about token one-off iterations for charity auctions. The standard form is to take your latest watch, tweak the colours of the hour markers, maybe slap on a new automatic rotor, and away you go. Thankfully, not every brand is so devoid of imagination (You can read our take on the most interesting talking points of Only Watch 2017 here) – but FP Journe is the only company to create an entirely new watch for this year’s Only Watch.
One look and you know it’s something interesting. The size of those subdials takes us right back to classic 1940s chronographs from Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin, while the colour scheme reminds us of Peter Roberts Concentrique 5-handed chronograph, but it’s wackier than that. Those numerals…The calculation scales… The sheer chutzpah of the whole thing.
So what are you looking at? This is the FP Journe Monopusher Rattrapante chronograph. Only one will ever exist, which must place it very near the top of any list of “incredibly desirable watches that we will literally never clap eyes on”.
It is a 44mm chronograph cased in tantalum (a new size, but a material Journe uses often). It has a blue chrome dial with telemeter (yellow) and tachymeter (orange) scales around the edge. Tucked within them, neatly intersecting the subdials, is a minute/second track.
There’s a gloriously steampunk touch to the typography here, and great texture at work on the scales, which look like they are applied or at least thickly painted on. They’re the perfect match for the hands, which are more in line with FP Journe’s typical fare. The four central hands are cream-coloured, with blued steel for the chronograph subdials.
Turn the watch over and you’re going to find an entirely new chronograph movement, developed just for this watch (so far, at any rate). It’s a thing of serious beauty: hand-wound, with an 80 hour power reserve, it is made (or finished) in 18k rose gold. Reminds us a little bit of Parmigiani’s Tonda Rattrapante from a couple of years ago, but stylistically the FP Journe movement has more in common with something from A. Lange & Sohne or Patek Philippe.
The movement boasts a free-sprung balance beating at 3Hz, and comprises 251 components. The watch carries an auction estimate of between CHF 200,000 and CHF 400,000 but seeing that at Only Watch in 2015, an FP Journe Tourbillon Souverain Bleu sold for CHF 550,000, and that was merely an altered version of an existing watch, this totally unique one-off could get close to CHF 1,000,000.