F.P. Journe’s new QP: Born amongst the stars
At the SIHH 2013, the firm unveiled the very first prototype of its QP, serial number 00. The watchmaker designed it from scratch and, more importantly still, it’s his very first collection QP; a strictly limited edition of 99 units of the Octa Perpetuelle was released in 2008-2009 for the anniversary of the first Japan boutique.
A few key facts about this piece will suffice for any watch enthusiast to appreciate the significance of its introduction onto the market.
A transition for collectors
Firstly, while F.P. Journe had already demonstrated his skills with a Grande Complication pocket watch in 1987, this QP is really the first to form part of a regular collection. So far, the calendar range of Journe’s watches has only featured an Annual Calendar. For that reason alone, the very first of these QP timepieces will be genuine collectors’ items.
There’s more, too. Mr Journe is well-known in the industry for his tendency to confine himself to quite a small portfolio of in-house calibers. What this means is that he ceases to use a given movement once it has been replaced by another more modern and even more sophisticated successor – and so it is with the Annual Calendar. Production will halt in the coming months, once the last remaining watches to use it have been assembled. Ultimately, the very last Annual Calendar units will also become true collectibles!
François-Paul Journe designs all his timepieces himself. However, he doesn’t start with the movement, but with the dial. Here, the watchmaker is pursuing the aim of perfect readability and ease of use. Some might remember what he used to say about his Grande Sonnerie: “I’ve made it so that a seven-year-old child could use it”.
The same philosophy has guided the design of the QP. This was a particular challenge insofar as this kind of complication can very easily include a wide range of indications on the dial that make it unreadable or, at least, confusing.
Journe’s QP does just the opposite: its design is extremely refined, elegant, almost self-evident, featuring subtle work on geometry and hidden lines. One such example is the line on which the central axis of the power reserve and the minutes / seconds hands are positioned, from 9 to 3. This might appear to be simple and obvious, but from a technical and geartrain point of view, it was a real challenge – try and find another power reserve at 9 o’clock.
Last but not least, while all Journe’s creations were formerly available in 38 or 40 mm formats, the QP opens a new era: 40 or 42 mm. Apart from the Grande Sonnerie, this is the very first time in the manufacture’s history that it will be releasing a 42 mm timepiece.