F.P.Journe’s Chronomètre à Résonance Is In a Class of Its Own

More than 20 years after its creation by master watchmaker Francois-Paul Journe, the timepiece remains unique in the way it harnesses the use of resonance.
by Lynette Koh

(Photo: The Hour Glass)

Visitors to the Manufacture F.P.Journe in Geneva are greeted by a slim, tall clock with twin movements and pendulums. Built by French clockmaker Antide Janvier in the 18th century, this clock demonstrates how the phenomenon of physical resonance increases accuracy in timekeeping. The concept of resonance was also harnessed by 18th-century watchmaking great Abraham-Louis Breguet in his clocks and pocket watches.

These pioneering creations have been a major influence on master watchmaker and F.P.Journe founder Francois-Paul Journe: Two centuries after those watchmaking greats, he would develop this concept in the compact space of a wristwatch. It took 15 years of work before he was satisfied with the chronometric performance and real-life wearability of such a watch: The first commercially produced F.P.Journe wristwatch bearing the trademarked term “Résonance” was launched in 2000.


The F.P.Journe Chronomètre à Résonance in 18K 6N Gold. (Photo: The Hour Glass)

Resonance occurs when a moving body creates a vibration, and this energy is picked up by a nearby body — without any physical connections — that then begins moving at the same frequency. The F.P.Journe Chronomètre à Résonance watches make use of this principle by having two balances instead of the usual one. Arranged side by side, these balances begin moving in sync as a result of resonance.

Thanks to this synchronisation, both balances return to a regular rhythm even if the watch is subjected to an impact. This gives these timepieces unmatched precision. It is no mean feat to create their movements: For resonance to occur, both balances must be precisely adjusted by the watchmaker so that they do not have more than a total of five seconds of rate differences each day.

Crafted from 18K rose Gold, Calibre 1520 powers the new Chronomètre à Résonance. (Photo: The Hour Glass)

Over the past two decades, F.P.Journe has created several versions of the Chronomètre à Résonance, all of which have drawn acclaim. The 10th-anniversary edition, for instance, was awarded the Prix de la Haute Complication at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2010.

In 2020, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Chronomètre à Résonance, Journe created a new edition, with a new movement made from 18K rose Gold, Calibre 1520. Instead of two mainsprings, the new model has a single mainspring, while retaining the same power reserve of 42 hours. Each of the two gear trains has a remontoir d’égalité constant-force mechanism that keeps the amplitude of both balances constant even as the power reserve runs down, and assures isochronism throughout 28 hours. The result is a timekeeper that is even more accurate and consistent. Until today, the Chronomètre à Résonance remains unique in its workings, affirming F.P.Journe’s motto, Invenit et Fecit — a Latin phrase meaning “invented and made”.


The F.P.Journe Chronomètre à Résonance is also available in platinum. (Photo: The Hour Glass)

In partnership with F.P.Journe.

This story originally published on The Peak Singapore.

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