A young Francois-Paul Journe created his sixth ever watch in 1987; it was an “astronomic planetary watch”, a pocket watch with faces on each side. Over three decades later that has been reimagined as the Astronomic Blue, a prototype grand complication made for Only Watch 2019.
Mentioned by Mr Journe in an interview late last year, the Astronomic Blue is a hand-wound wristwatch with astronomical functions on two faces, as well as a minute repeater and tourbillon with remontoir d’egalite. The complications total 18, and are powered by a movement made up of 758 parts, making it more complex than the Sonnerie Souveraine.
Like the preceding F.P. Journe watches made for Only Watch, namely the tourbillon and split-seconds, the Astronomic Blue has a tantalum case and mirrored blue dial like that found on the Chronometre Bleu.
The case is 44mm in diameter and 13.75mm high, making it comparable in size to the discontinued Sonnerie Souverain and recent Tourbillon Souverain Vertical.
As with many of Mr Journe’s early creations, the pocket watch was inspired by both Abraham-Louis Breguet and George Daniels, a quality that is echoed in the Astronomic Blue.
Like the George Daniels Space Traveller, the front shows sidereal and mean solar time on two symmetrically arranged sub-dials, while the reverse has a ring-type annual calendar and equation of time indicator, which is reminiscent of the Daniels Grand Complication.
The reverse is partially open-worked, and also reveals the cal. 1619, as well as the tourbillon regulator and remontoir d’egalite, or constant force remontoire. Also visible on the back is the governor for the minute repeating mechanism.
Notably, the layout of the movement shares distinct similarities with that of the Chronomètre Optimum, a calibre that Mr Journe has mentioned is a potential base for other complications. That being said, according to the company, the movement of the Astronomic Blue is an entirely new calibre.
Because this is a prototype, the movement is unfinished, although the bridges and base plate are made of 18k red gold, as it is with standard F.P. Journe watches. The production version of this watch, which will be offered with in a steel case as is the norm for F.P. Journe striking watches, will be available in approximately a year’s time.
The Astronomic Blue (ref. AST) has an estimate of 300,000-600,000 Swiss francs, and will be sold on November 19, 2019 at Christie’s Geneva. The rest of the Only Watch catalogue is available on onlywatch.com.
Update July 2, 2019: The production version of the watch will be available in mid-2020.Back to top.