Hands On: Barbier-Mueller Mosaïque II

An intriguing, inlaid F.P. Journe.

One of the most esoteric offerings in Only Watch 2024 is the Barbier-Mueller Mosaïque II. A follow-up to the first edition made in 2017, the Mosaïque II sticks to the same template that was originally inspired by a 19th century pocket watch with an inlaid case.

It’s essentially an F.P. Journe Chronometre Souverain with a slightly larger case inlaid with semi-precious stones and a hinged hunter back. This also makes F.P. Journe the only brand with two watches – the other is the Chronomètre Furtif Bleu – in the upcoming charity auction that takes place on May 10, 2024.

Initial thoughts

I liked the original version because it was recognisable as an F.P. Journe watch, yet entirely different. The Mosaïque II holds the same appeal, albeit at a far higher price given the increased demand for F.P. Journe in the years since.

While in 2017 one could reasonably hope to buy the first Mosaïque for a high five-figure price – in fact it sold for a trifling CHF90,000 – the Mosaïque II will almost certainly end up in the high six- or even seven figures.

Affordability aside, the Mosaïque II is a little more interesting than its predecessor because of the floral motif as well as the materials; the bloodstone inlays are a particularly striking backdrop for the other stones. The inlays are also more complex, with both the dial and back inlaid with stones in a mix of shapes and sizes.

A Geneva museum

Located along a small street in Geneva’s Old Town is the Barbier-Mueller Museum, one of the world’s great collections of tribal and primitive art. It’s made up of over 7,000 pieces, only a fraction of which are on display at any one time due to the small size of the museum.

The connection between Barbier-Mueller and F.P. Journe lies in Stéphane Barbier-Mueller, an investor in the watch brand from almost the beginning (alongside the late Gino Cukrowicz) who now helps run his family’s real estate business.

Like its predecessor, the Mosaïque II is based on the Chronometre Souverain. Its platinum case measures 41 mm in diameter, one millimetre wider than the Chronometre Souverain and substantially thicker, in order to accommodate the stone inlays as well as the hunter back.

The dial, case flanks, and hinged back are inlaid with semi-precious stones, including bloodstone, jasper, jade, nephrite, carnelian, and opal, using the champleve technique. The inlays form a lotus motif on the dial and back that was penned by Eric Giroud, the independent designer who frequently works with independent watchmakers.

Like the enamelling method of the same name, the champleve inlay starts with recesses milled onto the surface of the case and dial. The tiny pieces of stone are then cut and lapped to fit each recess exactly, then carefully inlaid by hand.

Impressively but unsurprisingly, the case and dial are all made in-house at Les Cadraniers de Genève and Les Boîtiers de Genève, the dial and case making divisions of F.P. Journe that were recently consolidated into new, unified premises.

Under the hinged back is a cal. 1304 that’s identical to the movement in the Chronometre Souverain, save for the hand-engraved “Barbier-Mueller” brand on twin plaques screwed onto the base plate.

Key facts and price

Barbier-Mueller Mosaïque II

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 10.85 mm
Material: Platinum
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Cal. 1304
Functions: Hours, minutes
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3Hz)
Power reserve: 56 hours

Strap: Leather, clasp with ‘Sphynx’ engraved on pin

Limited edition: Piece unique
Availability: To be sold at Only Watch on May 10, 2024
Estimate: CHF150,000-250,000

For more information, visit Christies.com.


Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Tudor Introduces the Pelagos FXD Chrono Cycling Edition

A lightweight, cycling-ready timepiece.

Tudor recently revealed another competitively priced chronograph, this time designed for the Tudor Pro Cycling Team participating in the 2024 Giro d’Italia. The Pelagos FXD Chrono “Cycling Edition” is based on the chronograph made for the Alinghi sailing team and features the same carbon composite case. But the aesthetic is more understated, mostly black with touches of red.

Initial thoughts

Tudor’s recent support for the sport, including the sponsorship of its cycling team and recruitment of Swiss champion cyclist Fabian Cancellara as a brand ambassador, meant a cycling-centric watch was on the way. Although the Tudor cycling team members were issued a special-edition Black Bay Chrono last year, that watch was not available to the public.

Now the team gets a new watch, which is also publicly available. In contrast to the equivalent Alinghi edition, the cycling chronograph has a more subdued, streamlined look that’s mostly monochromatic. The absence of overt cycling branding also adds to the appeal (in contrast, the Alinghi chronograph has the team branding on the inner flange).

Save for the design changes, this is identical to the Alinghi edition. Unsurprisingly, the price is also similar at US$5,275. True to the brand’s ethos, the value proposition remains excellent considering the carbon composite case, high-spec movement, and overall quality.

Last year’s Pelagos FXD Chrono “Alinghi Red Bull Racing”


The Cycling Edition is latest version of the Pelagos FXD Chrono that premiered last year as a special edition for the Alinghi Red Bull team taking part in this year’s America’s Cup. 

It’s dressed in a striking matte black and red aesthetic to match the cycling team’s colours, with subtle red highlights on the registers and the tachymeter. Moreover, the tachymeter scale is re-calibrated by 45-degrees specifically for road cycling.

That said, the dial still retains the typical Tudor design elements, including the “snowflake” hands and square hour markers covered in Super-Luminova.

The case is carbon composite and has the same dimensions to the Alinghi version, measuring 43 mm in diameter and 13.6 mm high. However, instead of a rotating bezel, it has a fixed 60-minute bezel for measuring elapsed time. Interestingly, although the case appears identical to that of the Alinghi chronograph, the cycling edition has 100 m water resistance, instead of the 200 m for the Alinghi.  

The watch is powered by the MT5613 that’s derived from the Breitling Caliber B01, which has a column wheel and vertical clutch. Though the basic architecture is Breitling, the calibre is made in Tudor’s own manufacture and has been substantially modified, including with the addition of a free-sprung balance with a silicon hairspring. 

Key facts and price

Tudor Pelagos FXD Chrono “Cycling Edition”
Ref. 25827KN

Diameter: 43 mm
Height: 13.6 mm
Material: Carbon composite case with case back in steel, bezel and crown in titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: MT5813
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, and chronograph 
: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Fabric strap with pin buckle

Limited edition: No
: Now at Tudor boutiques and retailers
Price: US$5,275; or 7,620 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Tudorwatch.com.


Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Hublot Combines a Two-Week Power Reserve and a Blue Sapphire Crystal Case

The MP-11 in clear sapphire.

A perfect illustration of Hublot’s extravagant style and technical proficiency, the Hublot Big Bang MP-11 14 Day Power Reserve Water Blue Sapphire boasts 336 hours of power reserve thanks to seven laterally stacked barrels working with 90° bevel gears and a helical worm screw to drive the movement.

This is a new variant of an existing model, with the difference being the case crafted from transparent “water blue” sapphire crystal.

Initial thoughts

Hublot is an anomaly. It’s one of the 20 biggest watchmakers in Switzerland by revenue and boasts a vertically integrated manufactured but is often criticised for being something of a “fashion” brand by enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike.

Part of this pushback probably stems from the brand’s entry-level watches that use inexpensive stock movements that are priced expensively for what they are. The mechanics don’t live up to the price. That reasoning is sound, but it doesn’t reflect the brand’s top-of-the-line products.

Like the recent MP-10, the new MP-11 reflects Hublot’s ability in movements and materials. Its manufacture develops and produces complex in-house calibres with unique complications and novel constructions, usually presented in cases made of novel materials with distinctive aesthetics and properties.

The only downside of such complications is their size. The MP-11 is enormous at 45 mm in diameter, and it isn’t even the chunkiest watch that Hublot produces. This limits its wearability and even on a big wrist, the ergonomics are not perfect.

Priced at US$171,000, the MP-11 “Water Blue Sapphire” is priced competitively in its specific niche, one also occupied by brands like Richard Mille and Roger Dubuis. Granted, it’s a lot of money, but considering the movement and case material, the price is justified, at least relative to the competition.

“Water blue” sapphire

The MP-11 14 sports a synthetic sapphire case in “water blue”, a baby blue shade that chimes with today’s fad for such colours. Although “grown” with a new chemical formula, the blue sapphire still maintains the usual characteristics of the material, including transparency and surface hardness.

Measuring 45 mm in diameter and 14.4 mm thick, the sapphire case is finished by hand for a perfectly smooth and clear finish. In the typical Big Bang style, the case is constructed as a sandwich, with sapphire front and back plates containing a sapphire case middle.

The dial has the time display at 12 o’clock, while the seven barrels are arranged horizontally across the lower half of the dial. Because the barrels sit above the plane of the movement, the sapphire crystal covering the dial is partially domed to accurate the barrels.

At eight o’clock, at the end of the barrel stack, is the power reserve indicator taking the form of a wheel, which completes one revolution every two weeks.

The fluting on the crown echoes the helical gear for time setting and winding

The watch is equipped with the HUB9011, a manually-wound skeletonised calibre with 270 parts that runs at 28,800 beats per hour. The view from the back explains the construction of the movement with the going train occupying the upper half, with the barrels below.

Key facts and price

Hublot Big Bang MP-11 14 Day Power Reserve Water Blue Sapphire
Ref. 911.JL.0129.RX

Diameter: 45 mm
Height: 14.4 mm
Material: “Water blue” sapphire
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Cal. HUB9011
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and power reserve indicator
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4Hz)
Winding: Manual-wind
Power reserve: 14 Days

Strap: Matching rubber strap

Limited edition: 50 pieces
Available in Hublot boutiques and retailers starting April 2024
Price: US$171,000

For more information, visit Hublot.com.


Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Welcome to the new Watches By SJX.

Subscribe to get the latest articles and reviews delivered to your inbox.