Movement Monday: FP Journe Chronometre Bleu

This Movement Monday brings the first appearance of the venerable independent FP Journe to the Amateur Horologist.  Journe’s status as one of the foremost independent watchmakers in the world and his brand’s unique style has made his eponymous brand one of the fastest rising (and already one of the largest) independent brands in watchmaking.  While his dials are fantastic and showcase his unique style, today we are focusing on the movement of his intro-level timepiece, the Chronometre Bleu.  The CB is in the same price bracket as intro level Pateks, Vacherons, and Langes, but offers a completely different style.  The finishing remains, however, on par with the best in the business and the end product is a unique and beautiful movement.

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Two things really jump out when l0ooking at the CB movement.  The first is the obviously unique coloration.  Journe is (I believe) the only watch brand that uses sold rose gold for the mainplate and all of the bridges in his movements.  Gold is generally avoided in favor of steel or German silver in watch movements given its softness.  Soft metals are much more difficult to work with when trying to get the prices edges needed in a high end watch movement, but Journe has taken on the challenge and the result is a unique soft glow that screams luxury and quality.  The second stand out feature of the CB is its symmetry.  Journe chose to hide the whole going between the mainplate and the dial, making it invisible, he then adopted a unique finish for the mainplate (as opposed to the more common perlage) given how much of it is visible from the back.  All that can be seen on the movement side is the balance and the two mainspring barrels.  This creates an extremely clean and visually appealing look that, when coupled with the rose gold tones, gives the movement a very sculptural quality.  Journe has adopted a style all his own that flows through his whole collection.  The CB is the simplest of the whole collection, but also the purest illustration of this style and definitely deserving of some attention all to itself.

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Movement Monday: A. Lange & Sohne Double Split

In this new alliterative series we will be looking at some of the move spectacular movements in the world of watches today. Since Monday’s are never fun we will focus on pictures instead of words and let the movements do the talking (rest assured the watches that house these movements will no doubt get their day in the sun as well, whether as grail watches or, if I hit the lottery, owner reviews)

Much as I kicked off the Grail Watch series with a watch that few watch lovers wouldn’t consider a grail, we are kicking off the Movement Monday series with a watch movement that is unrivaled in its unique complexity, depth, and beauty; the movement of the A. Lange & Sohne Double Split.  Not many watch movements can claim a truly unique complication, but the Double Split is in fact the only mechanical wristwatch or pocketwatch with both a rattrapante second and rattrapante minute counter for its chronograph.  What this means is theory is that you time the difference between two events (think two racers finishing a race) to up to 30 minutes.  This is a feature easily attainable on an Iphone, so not necessarily that exciting, but in practice it results in an incredible complex chronograph movement often described as “a city under glass”.

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Lange is known for the unique depth they bring to their chronograph movements.  Traditionalists may not like this vertical movement design, but to me it creates layers of visual interest that add to the mechanical artwork of the movement.  Combine that with Lange’s use of gold chatons with blued steel screws, German silver bridges, and stainless steel levers and column wheels and you have a multi-dimensional and multi-toned horological masterpiece.  Lange’s meticulousness is on display in the finishing of every bridge and lever.  Even the balance cock, barely visible underneath the chronograph levers, is hand engraved as with all Lange watches.  When people ask me why I like mechanical watches and what makes then worth thousands of dollars this is always the first picture I show them.  Lange demonstrates the pinnacle of movement making beauty with the double split and in my opinion no one has knocked them off their perch yet.  Now just sit back and enjoy some more high qualities pictures of this German masterpiece.

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