During a not so recent trip to New York City last fall for an evening of F.P. Journe hosted by the Horological Society of New York, I sported the Centigraphe Souverain in 18k rose gold. I opted for a tweed jacket that accentuated the rose gold and brown case beautifully. Below I’ll be detailing the specifications of the watch, it’s price and what it was like on the wrist.
Watch Technical Specifications & Closer Look
Below are the technical specifications.
F.P. Journe does not give specific reference numbers but rather collection names, so this piece is known as just the Centigraphe Souverain.
- Case Size: 40mm
- Case Thickness: 11mm
- Lug Width (strap size): 20mm
- “Integrated” Brown Alligator Strap with a Rose Gold Tang Buckle
- Quick Release System
- Lug to Lug: 48mm
- Movement: Manual Wind, in-house caliber 1506
- Centigraphe Chronograph measuring 1/100th of a second
- Power Reserve: 80 hour
- Exhibition Case Back
- Water Resistance: Less than 50m
Recommended Retail: $57,870; however the black dial, rose gold on a brown alligator strap is not currently available in the collection as new. You may be able to find this piece on the pre-owned market around $38,000 – $45,000USD.
The watch was originally released in 2007 and was one of the first watches to have a chronograph measuring 1/100th of a second. You can now find other brands that have matched or beaten this quick measurement, such as the Tag Heuer Mikrograph.
The Centigraphe has two balance wheels, one controlling the centigraphe while the other normal timing. Since the systems are separate, it allows precision while reducing friction on the movement.
Watch Face & Case
The watch is made of 18k rose gold and surrounds a black dial. Other variations of the Centigraphe Souverain include white gold with a silver dial, rose gold with a rose gold dial, the Black Label edition with platinum case and black dial, and the Centigraphe Sport with aluminum dial and titanium case.
This combination of black dial and rose gold case is truly stunning. Matching the case, the dial features rose gold hands and Arabic numerals. The dial can be somewhat hard to read, depending on the environment. The rose gold hands are extremely reflective and the light has a tendency to reflect off of the black areas of the dial.
This rose gold model features three sub-dials placed on a single white gold plate sitting on the dial. Each of the sub-dials record the Centigraphe in motion. The red, outer ring of the registers are for reading the elapsed time. The black is the tachymeter scale allowing you to measure speeds.
The right Centigraphe register, at approximately 2 o’clock, measures the seconds. Every 20 seconds the hand moves around the dial. The register found at 6 o’clock measures up to 10 minutes and is also segmented into 20 second parts. The last register, at 9 o’clock, is also the fastest hand. This is where 1/100th of a second can be measured. This hand rotates around once per second!
The Caliber 1506
As F.P. Journe typically does, the Caliber 1506 powering the Centigraphe is built on a solid gold movement. With the two balance wheels, the watch has an approximate 80 hour power reserve when the chronograph isn’t running. Running a chronograph does drastically reduce the power reserve, in this case down to 24 hours if used consistently without winding. It is always recommended to wind the watch before engaging the chronograph.
Unlike most chronographs which feature a start and stop pusher, F.P. Journe has designed the Centigraphe to feature a rocker switch.
Wearing the Centigraphe
I was fortunate to be able to borrow the Centigraphe Souverain from the Govberg Jewelers pre-owned collection for the weekend. The watch combines both sport and elegance. It is visually engaging on the wrist with the separation of the sub-registers in white on top of white gold, resting on the black dial.
Not only does the dial itself draw attention, the combination of the black dial surrounded by a rose gold case is quite dramatic, and dare I say, fall-esque. The combination of colors makes it an extremely versatile and formal timepiece. With the fall air beginning to creep back in, it was the perfect time to match the watch to the browns and tweed in my Cheaney boots and Benson & Clegg jacket.
Since the watch does measure 40mm across, it is a modern size without being overwhelmingly large. Even with an 8″ wrist size, I tend to gravitate towards a smaller case size that can sit flush against the wrist.
The Centigraphe delivered.
The lugs turn downwards pretty quickly after leaving the case, giving it an almost cupped caseback. This, in combination with the 48mm lug to lug measurement made it a perfect fit.
The watch features a matching 18k rose gold tang buckle, allowing for a quick adjustment on the fly.
Even being a precious metal, the watch wasn’t too heavy on the wrist for an entire weekend. In fact, it was quite comfortable. The weight of the watch was just enough to let you know it was there while staying firmly on the top of my wrist.
The watch was a true beauty, and I suggest trying one on if you get the opportunity. There are many different variations and metals if the rose gold and black aren’t your style!
"Having the opportunity to wear the F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain was a pure pleasure. Its unique movement and unusual complication make it a truly superlative piece, not to mention its distinctive styling."Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★
HSNY Evening with F.P. Journe
After working my way around New York City for the weekend, it was time for the main event; an evening with F.P. Journe himself, hosted by the Horological Society of New York events.
The event was around the History of the Calendar and featured Jack Forster, Keith Lehman, Noel Poirier, Pierre Halimi-Lacharlotte and Francois-Paul Journe.
On display at the General Society Library were examples of calendar watches from Francois-Paul’s personal collection as well as examples of his Quantième Perpétuel.
After the talk, I had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Journe and thank him for his superb watchmaking and skill. I’d also like to thank again, everyone at HSNY who put together the fantastic event. If you’re not already a member, I suggest taking a look at their past and upcoming events and becoming a member.