TZ Blogs January 1, 2013 Timezone Feature
The Repetition Souveraine, reference RM, is one of the most impressive and sophisticated FP Journe watches manufactured.
The watch is as beautiful to look at as it is captivating to hear. The design is understated, elegant, ultra thin, incredibly light and super comfortable to wear on the wrist. In my opinion the RM is a serious contender in the “If you could have only one FP Journe watch competition,” a debate I have with myself all the time.
The RM was first introduced at Journe’s annual exhibition back in 2008. During the presentation Journe described the frustration of how others attempt to copy his style and how this inspired him to create a complication that would be very difficult to duplicate. He clearly accomplished this goal with the RM
At first glance the dial resembles the Chronometre Souverain, with some notable differences. A discreet window was inserted between 9 and 10 o’clock with a clear view of the flat gongs. The second hand sub dial is much smaller, allowing the font size for the 7 and 8 nearly the same size as the other hour markers.
On the CS you will notice the font size for the 7 and 8 are much smaller to help balance the second hand sub dial.
The dial is made from silver and has deep blue applied lettering and a guilloche center. The watch is presented with a double-sided blue croc strap on a steel deployment. The blue strap really picks up on the blue markings and compliments the blue steel hands.
The case size is 40mm and only available in steel. Steel was chosen because in Journe’s opinion it produces the best possible striking tone. Along the side of the case is a slide bar that is used to activate the minute repeater. To activate you slide all the way down until it blocks and then release. The visible hammer strikes the hours, and after a pause, strikes the minutes from 1 to 14. The quarters strike on two hammers between the hours and minutes. The first time I activated the minute repeater I was amazed by the how strong and clear the striking tone was.
On the back is a crystal sapphire that displays a perfect view of the 18k rose gold mechanical, manual wind movement only 4mm in size. Twin barrels work in parallel to deliver stable power for most of their 56-hour indicated power reserve. The free-sprung balance, with variable inertia adjustment on four opposing weights, oscillates at 21,600 v/h.
The watch has 312 parts (almost twice as many as the CS) and includes 33 jewels. The height of the watch is amazingly 8.8mm, about 0.40mm thicker than the Chronometre Souverain. The watch is also water resistant to 30m, though I don’t recommend you wear it swimming.
Journe redesigned the minute repeater mechanism to include an extremely flat gong, the same as used in his Grand Sonnerie, in order to produce a louder and clearer sound than traditional gongs. He then developed an innovative system of striking racks and strike selection mechanisms, which require much less space than conventional strike mechanisms.
Unlike traditional minute repeaters, the hours and minutes of the Repetition Souveraine do share the same hammer; so a pause is automatically inserted between hour and minute chimes when there are no quarters. The quarters sound with classic double chimes. An inertia regulator controls the speed of the chimes, thus eliminating the background noise usually associated with traditional air regulators.
Hearing time as a series of chimes is a wonderful pleasure and adds an even higher level of enjoyment to watch collecting. What’s most impressive is how Journe achieved this from such an ultra slim case. With such a thin case size I find it difficult to compare the sound to other minute repeaters in the same way I wouldn’t compare the speaker on an iPhone to stereo in a car.
Journe has definitely made improvements to the sound since the Exhibition back in 2008 when I first listened. Since putting the watch on the wrist I can not stop listening throughout the day. Part of the enjoyment is hearing the watch sing at different times of the day with the melody composed of the hours, quarters and minutes of that moment. The RM is completely a stealth watch. Most observers would never guess the complexity behind what appears to be just a simple time watch in a steel case. The Repetion Sourveraine has impressed me and earns my vote as one of the must own Journes.
Have a great week!