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The Sonnerie Souveraine will cease to be manufactured on 31 December 2018

January 11 2018

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It took François-Paul Journe six years to create this great ringtone. It was launched in 2006. Twelve years later, the great watchmaker decides to remove it from the catalog: return to a masterpiece. - Isabelle Cerboneschi.


rançois-Paul Journe will withdraw his emblematic FPJourne Sovereign Ringtone from the catalog as early as 31 December 2018. The master watchmaker invites customers who wish to acquire this model, a collector's item, to order it during the current year. New collectors who have the financial ability to afford a six-figure watch have appeared on the market in recent years and are interested in the brand. How many pieces will have been ordered at the end of the year 2018 and how many collectors will have seen their timepiece named in their name?

A spring, a barrel, six years of research, ten patents, 3 assembly month, 582 components, 35'040 ringtones a year, and a lot of rage: these are some of the ingredients that were needed to create this watch sounding the time passing.

When François-Paul Journe had presented it to me in March 2006, he did not take it off his wrist and hesitated to let it be photographed. I did not dare to touch her. Probably because this great ring was worth several hundred thousand francs. But also because it came from another era: that where patrons were kings and they could afford everything, even watches that sound time and sing the apology of useless things.

I remember for a long time let my gaze wander in the movement of the Sonnerie Souveraine of François-Paul Journe, like a child fascinated by the magic of an automaton. In 2005, the watchmaker had unveiled a first version of the great ringtone, "but I was not happy about it. I dismounted everything and redid everything. And it took me a year to stabilize it. "As François-Paul Journe recounted his trial-and-error, the piece peppered his quarters, his halves, and the hour, finally punctuating the conversation: at each ring, the conversation was interrupted . Then went on in the meantime.

"A big ring, it must give 812 hammers for 24 hours, while a minute repetition 32 shots to the maximum," said François-Paul Journe. The difficulty is there: in the phenomenal energy that it is necessary to find. But the most amazing thing about this piece, which can also be in minute repeater mode, is the ease with which you can manipulate it. "The specifications were simple: it had to be understood by a child of 8 years."

It is at the time of reassembly and setting time that things get complicated with the big rings, in general. It is at this precise moment that one risks the false maneuver, that there is breakage, and that the watch is found in the after-sales service. François-Paul Journe had solved this problem: "Instead of two springs and two barrels, like the big traditional ringtones, which allow you to adjust the energy of the movement or the ringtone as you want, I did not put any only one for the two functions, which only goes back one way. "By a security system, when setting the time, the ringing is blocked, and when the ring is engaged, there is no has no discount at the time possible. As for the power reserve, "it takes into account the overall energy loss, thanks to a differential calculation," explained the master watchmaker. There is 24 h power reserve in grand ring mode, and 5 days for the indication of hours if you do not use the ringer. "And when there are only three rounds of barrels left - about 24 to 30 h - the ringing stops to let 24 h's power reserve move so that the hours continue to turn."

"This play is a great lesson in humility," he told me. Sometimes you have to shut up when it goes bad. We live great moments of loneliness. The hardest part was the 2% that had to be perfected. "

The conversation only about her, the watch has never been forgotten. But in real life, is she also present, also cut conversations? Does she disturb the opera neighbors? "It's an intimate watch, not a megaphone," Francois-Paul Journe told me. It's an absolute luxury: only the owner hears it. The entourage who does not know, does not pay attention to it and will not perceive the ringtone. "

Just before saying goodbye, I heard the watchmaker mumbling, "I'm very proud to have arrived."