Prix Gaïa 1994 – François-Paul Journe. Craftsmanship-Creation category
His work as a “mechanical artisan” was awarded as his mechanical watches were remarkable in their technical and phenomenal complications, and because he himself saw to the development of the majority of his movements' pieces.
- Restoration of old clocks created by master watchmakers from the 18th century.
- Design and development of complicated watches of which he personally saw to the creation of movements' pieces.
He made his debut in watchmaking in Marseille, where he was born and where he attended watchmaking school. He then continued his training in Paris, which he completed a few years later. After his studies, François-Paul Journe stayed in the French capital to work in his uncle's watch restoration workshop. This gave him the chance to restore old pieces and get to know the work of master watchmakers from the 18th century, a period he considers the golden age of watchmaking.
His passion, however, mainly lay in making watches. And so, he started designing and producing complicated watches ordered by leading collectors. With their support, he opened his own workshop in 1985. A year later, he became a member of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI), through which he exhibits his work at the European watchmaking fair in Basel every year. One of the distinctive features of Journe's work is that he himself made almost all the pieces of his models.
The 3 laureates : François Mercier, François-Paul Journe and Anton Bally
Before the establishment of Prix Gaïa, he had already won two prizes - the first was the Bleustein-Blanchet prize from the Fondation de la Vocation in 1987, the year he turned 30 years old. The second was the Prix du Balancier d'Or which he received from watchmakers' Convention in Madrid in 1989. Together with Prix Gaïa, these awards are a tribute to the credit and quality of Journe's work.
To this day, François-Paul Journe has never stopped creating original and complicated watches. His career took two different paths. First, he founded Tim SA, a manufacture in Geneva specialized in the design of movements exclusively made for brands. And second, he has developed and produced several contemporary and, above all, innovative watches.
In 1999, the first wristwatches signed F.P. Journe - sporting the Invenit et Fecit inscription - were unveiled. The inscription, which literally means "Invented and Made", had been used by French watchmakers in the 18th century. They used to engrave it on their pocket watches as soon as their movements were certified and registered as authentic by the Royal Academy of Sciences. And so, by making the Latin reference the signature of his creations, he attests that his creations are original and entirely produced by his manufacture. The reference to the 1700s is no coincidence, since Journe considers this particular century to have been pivotal in the art of creating watch pieces.