LineSport Centigraphe: F.P. Journe rhymes with sport4 May 2023
Anyone who knows the watches created by François-Paul Journe knows how refined they are, with aesthetics and mechanics at the service of timeless elegance. He also knows that in the Master’s watches elegance does not set apart dynamism, as demonstrated by the LineSport collection. Within it, the Centigraphe can turn refinement into sportiness thanks to a combination of superfine mechanics, precious materials and an aesthetic that is unmistakably by F.P.Journe.
We knew the LineSport collection with the Automatique Réserve, which joins the Chronographe Rattrapante and the Centigraphe. A collection born in June 2011 with the Centigraphe Sport, the first mechanical wristwatch in aluminium, and then grown in February 2012 with the second model, the Octa Sport, also in aluminium. Today we want to talk about the Centigraphe and more precisely the version with the yellow dial, which we at Watch Insanity had the opportunity to have in our hands and to photograph in an exclusive shooting.
Just to have a more complete overview, we remind that the Centigraphe is available in three versions: one in grade 5 titanium, one in 18K 6N gold and one in 950 platinum. The timepiece with the yellow dial is combined with titanium case and bracelet. This material needs no introduction. Maybe just a little reminder.
TITANIUM AND CASE
Grade 5 titanium has good tensile strength properties at room temperature and a useful creep resistance (the deformation of a material subjected to constant stress and maintained for long periods at high temperatures) up to 300°C. Like most titanium alloys, Grade 5 has outstanding corrosion resistance in nearly all natural environments and many industrial process environments. Its resistance to aging and its light weight make it a good choice in mechanics for springs and fasteners and, in watchmaking, for cases and bracelets.
Speaking of cases, that of the Centigraphe has the proportions same of the LineSport collection with its 44 mm diameter and 11 thickness, except for the Chronographe Rattrapante which is 12.1 mm thick It features a beautiful satin finish that is also found on the three-row bracelet, closed by a butterfly buckle. The links adapt to different wrist sizes and the buckle is adjustable in length by plus or minus 5 mm. The slim and elegant bezel is made of dug metal with ceramic inlay added.
THE PATENTS OF THE CENTIGRAPHE
The architecture of the case takes us directly to the movement. “How is that possible?” you ask. Because the first thing that catches the eye on the Centigraphe case is the original rocker at 2 o’clock, which is used to start, stop and reset the chronograph. A solution that takes the place of the classic pushers and which has been patented by F.P.Journe.
Pressing once the top part of the rocker starts the chronograph, pressing it again stops it and pressing the bottom part resets it. A solution that is not only innovative, but also ergonomic.
The oversized crown, with the classic knurled motif that makes it easier to handle, is used to wind the watch (first click and clockwise rotation) and to set the time (second click and counterclockwise rotation).
The special chronograph rocker embodies the spirit of François-Paul Journe’s watches: making what is actually very complex seem simple and natural. Like the 21,600 vibrations/hour manual-wound caliber 1506 that animates the Centigraphe and which has a second patent, in addition to the one already mentioned, which concerns the start-stop-reset function.
This is the mechanism that isolates the chronograph function from the watch movement. A solution that allows the chronograph to have no negative effects on the amplitude of the balance wheel which could alter its regularity. The hands of the 100-second counter (at 10 o’clock) and the 20-second counter (at 2 o’clock) are driven by two different sets of gears, driven by the mainspring. Another separate gear, driven by the barrel arbor, engages the 10-minute hand (at 3 o’clock).
MEASURE THE 100TH OF A SECOND
Since the watch is called Centigraphe not surprisingly, the 100th of a second hand deserves a more in-depth discussion. Once released from the escapement, it completes one revolution per second. A wheel mounted on the escape wheel releases the arbor to which the hand is fitted; the seconds are thus moved by the barrel train and by the energy of the chronograph train, transmitted by the barrel arbor itself.
François-Paul Journe then added an unusual function to 100ths of a second: the possibility of stopping them anywhere along their one-second lap, even between two divisions of a hundredth of a second, thus allowing for fractional reading of the times. A function made possible by the vertical disengagement of the pinion of the 100th of a second hand from that of the escapement, which presses on the pivot shank and works as if it were a brake.
To remedy the fact that such a movement is energy consuming, it has been equipped with a barrel with a system which maintains the power delivered by the mainspring, to ensure that the driving force does not decrease during winding. The mainspring provides at least 80 hours of power reserve without the chronograph engaged and 24 hours with the chronograph running.
The 1506 caliber is developed in aluminum alloy for the titanium version, measures 34.40 mm in diameter by 5.60 mm in thickness and, in keeping with the best tradition of F.P.Journe, is finely finished. Circular Côtes de Genève on the bridges, circular graining on the baseplate, polished screw heads with chamfered slots, pegs with polished rounded ends.
AESTHETICS SIGNED F.P.JOURNE
This time we have left the dial at the end, certainly not because it is less precious than others, but because the bunch of innovations inside the caliber deserved a place in the foreground. And here it is, in a beautiful bright optimistic yellow, in aluminum alloy with applied luminescent Arabic numerals, large steel and luminescent hands, three sapphire counters with three small red lacquered Titanium hands.
The 100th of a second, 20 seconds and 10 minutes counters each have a red and black time scale. They are supported by a single bezel fixed to the dial by nine screws. Glimpses of the caliber can be seen through the transparent central sections of each counter, and the movement is in full view from the sapphire crystal case back.
Careful readers will not have missed a detail, namely the use of aluminum for the dial. The caliber is also made of aluminum alloy, as we have seen: together with the titanium case and bracelet, they make the Centigraphe extremely light, around 81 grams. The price? 83,300 euros tax included.
It’s worth it, as you can see looking at the pictures of our shooting, made possible thanks to the collaboration of GMT “Great Masters of Time”; partner of F.P.Journe since 2007, in 2014 it was the first retailer in Europe to open an Espace F.P.Journe, where collectors and enthusiasts can see and touch the entire watch collection.
THE BIG HEART OF THE CENTIGRAPHE
Besides having an excellent mechanical heart, the Centigraphe also has a fair heart. Jean Todt, president of the FIA (International Motoring Federation), is also vice president of the Institut du Cerveau ICM in Paris – center of excellence for research on diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis – and has a special relationship with François-Paul Journe.
Thanks to this relationship, he ensured that the maestro pledged to donate 30% of the profits deriving from the sale of the Centigraphe to the ICM, with no time limit. In this commitment to the institute, François-Paul Journe is joined by people such as the actors Jean Réno and Michelle Yeoh and the director Luc Besson. So, this excellent timepiece helps those who see their own time slip silently through their fingers to hold it, for a while longer.
By Davide Passoni