F.P. Journe Minute Repeater Souveraine

The F.P. Journe Minute Repeater Souveraine (305.572.9802, www.fpjourne.com) is a much more modest timepiece than its celebrated older sibling, the Grande Sonnerie Souveraine. But to compare the bells and whistles of these two musical watches is to miss the larger picture of master watchmaker François-Paul Journe’s creative philosophy. Like the other watches in Journe’s oeuvre, the $165,000 Minute Repeater Souveraine is a thoroughly conceived timepiece. The classic minute-repeater complication is built to his notion of perfection: elegantly thin, reliable, and with exceptional sound. In fact, by listening to the clear, resonant chime that emanates from a case only 8 mm thick, one begins to appreciate the depth of the watchmaker’s achievement. Journe chose steel for its acoustic properties, and experimented with a new flat shape for the watch’s gongs. The steadiness and quiet operation of the strike works come from an ingenious flywheel that can control its own speed with centrifugal force.