F.P. Journe just presented a watch with 18 functions and complications, entirely devoted to the contemplation of the stars. The Astronomic Souveraine is the final version after the success of the prototype’s sale at the Only Watch auction. It is a grand complication watch in a steel case, with tourbillon and minute repeater, whose vocation is to recall a long-forgotten gesture.
There was a time when the idea of losing oneself in the stars in oder to better find one’s way on Earth was not paradox, but a self-evident truth. And like the instruments that were once used for the observation of the stars, the Astronomic Souveraine is above all a tool. But it still celebrates time in all its glory.
The inspiration for this project was an adolescent’s drawing done fifteen years ago by François-Paul Journe’s son Charles. Another inspiration was a pocket watch with planetarium made in 1987 for a collector of scientific objects. The unique tourbillon watch indicated mean time and sidereal time, as well as the equation of time, a full calendar, and the power reserve. The future astronomic watch had to be resolutely contemporary and possess a distinctive personality.
The white gold dial, whose sub-dials are embellished with clou de Paris decoration, and the moon phases, with a hyper-realistic moon that was traced from a NASA photograph. At 3, there is the mean time (or civil time) dial, with a blue hand indicating a second time zone. At 9, there is the sidereal time dial, which allows the observation of the stars. Next to it, the mean time seconds are shown on a disc. Between the two are the central minutes and the power reserve indication, which remains optimal up to 40 hours. Above all this is a blue aperture showing the sunrise and sunset. Here, metal shutters lengthen or shorten the days. On the reverse there is the equation of time and a full annual calendar encircled by the signs of the zodiac. It is on this side that the dance of the tourbillon may be admired.
In all, the Astronomic Souveraine, which also strikes the hours, the quarters and the minutes, possesses 18 functions and complications. It is made up of 758 components, in addition to the case. However, the case is no larger than 44 mm in diameter and 13,8 mm in height.
The movement of the Astronomic Souveraine is totally novel. and it is, of course, very finely decorated. The Calibre 1619 is a manual winding movement which beats with 3 Hz and provides a power reserve of up to 40 hours.
The Astronomic Souveraine is not a limited edition, but J.P. Journey will only be able to produce a few pieces every year.