This collaboration between high-end watch manufacture F. P. Journe and British heritage gunmaker Holland & Holland is not a watch. Rather, the two brands prefer to call it an ‘objet d’art’ – or object of art. And, with its stunning Damascus steel dials – created from the barrels of two antique Holland & Holland shotguns, it’s a label we’re not going to argue with.
F. P. Journe have never played by the rules. Their founder, the eponymous Frenchman, was born in Marseille in 1959. After graduating from the Paris watchmaking school in 1976, Journe has created everything from the Chronometre Bleu – a wristwatch housed in a tantalum-case and created for the Only Watch auction, to the Tourbillon Souverain – with its reflective chrome blue dial and 18k pink-gold movement.
This latest piece, hewn as it is from two antique gun barrels, has a limited run as a result. Only 66 of the watches will be produced, and the most striking element of each will be the mottled dial, an effect known as ‘Damascus’ where different types of steel are pattern welded to created this striking, stunning effect.
38 of the dials are crafted from a Holland & Holland barrel bearing the serial number 1382, and the remaining 28 from 7183. And, given the lines and patterns afforded to barrels by the process of ‘browning’, each steel dial is highlighted with its own individual series of swirls and whorls.
And if you thought this timepiece – sorry, objet d’art – couldn’t get any more exclusive, you’d be wrong. The 39mm case, smaller than that usually seen in F. P. Journe’s watches, houses a rose-gold self-winding calibre featuring twin barrels and pallet escapement with 15-tooth escape wheel.
A sapphire caseback, with a partly circular grained baseplate, polished screw-heads, chamfered slots and sunburst finishing, has actually been engraved with the word ‘Holland’ around each of the mainspring barrels. Paired with a leather strap of a dark brown – to complement those deep swirls of colour on the Damascus dials – the watch’s retail price has been set at CHF 45,000, which may seem a little steep, but it’s a watch that makes up for in concept what it may lack in features.
Due to limited amount of dial material available only 66 pieces can be made. The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Holland & Holland is priced at 45,000 CHF. For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing this iconic watch, visit the F.P. Journe website.