Best Of The Best 2006: High Notes
The F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine is hardly the most complicated or flamboyant timepiece, but its purity of purpose and results-driven innovation place it among the best watches of the year.
The Sonnerie is both a grande and petite sonnerie (which means the piece chimes both quarter hours and hours as they pass), as well as a minute repeater (which chimes hours, quarter hours, and minutes on demand). François-Paul Journe encased this watch in steel because of the metal’s superior acoustic qualities, making it Journe’s first (and only) steel watch. The benefit of this construction is evident upon listening to the Sonnerie’s clear, resonant chime. Most significantly, Journe has made a number of patented improvements to the mechanism design, including a manual power management system for the strike works, and a number of safeties that protect the mechanism from damage when chiming. Throughout his career, Journe has crafted single-purpose, immaculately executed complicated watches, such as the Tourbillon Souverain and Resonance models, and once again, he has created a superlative without any extraneous bells and whistles.