F.P. Journe "Centigraphe Souverain"


What can I say? To be honest I feel that I should spare you my blabber and jump straight to the video. However, a proper introduction is in order. The "Centigraphe" has been open debate and discussion on many forums regarding its ability to indeed measure or not 1/100 of a second. Obviously for those not foreign to math there is something that does not add up when you have a 21,600 v/h (3hz.) movement that is meant to split 1 second into 100. Now the challenge here is how to explain how this is achieved without going into cryptic technical lingo. First let me explain that in order to rigorously split 1 second into 1/100 of a second you need 360,000 v/h, and that is equivalent to a 50hz. movement. Technologically we are NO-WAY-NEAR those figures. Actually the highest rated RELIABLE movements are and have been for the last 40-something years a solid 5hz. There have been developments lately where speeds have been increased to over 10hz. yet these are very doubtful (at least to me) over the sort-run. One of the main problems of higher speeds is the size of the balance wheel. The faster it goes, the smaller it has to be. The smaller it is, the harder it is to adjust and therefore be precise... So in other words, all that you gain on one side you loose on the other. Personally I very much enjoy "slow" movements with HUGE balance wheels that keep me hypnotized when I look at them from time to time. Personally I see no such emotion in an ultrafast micro balance wheel. To be honest, all that speed is really not necessary and improvements should be made in the longevity of the materials and precision of the manufactured parts instead. There are much more benefits to be gained here pushing quality instead of speed.

Now back to our 100th of a second Chronograph. As you might have guessed (or not if you do the math) a 3hz. movement will be able to split a second into six parts. The "Centigraphe" is a Foudroyante that does just that (like all other Foudroyante chronographs if I might add). The difference here is that the Centigraphe can stop the counter between any of the six 6th of a second transitions. The scale is set to 100 increments that the hand of the Foudroyante can be stopped at any time. So, yes, in a way IT IS and IS NOT a 100th of a second chronograph. The only drawback is that the hand of the Foudroayante remains a bit longer in its six pre-marked positions (as you will be able to see in the video) and the chances are that you will stop the hand on one of these is higher the the rest. If you play long enough you will see indeed that the hand of the Foudroyante CAN actually stop anywhere on the 100 marked spots. Enjoy...


NOTE: I have, and will in the future, deliberately skip any references as to the "chronometrical" aspect of the tested watch/es. The reason being that such test are futile, misleading and either unfair to the brand or the owner. Should a "particular" watch be deficient in its function that does not mean that all are. The same is true the other way around, if one works that does not mean that they ALL work. However, references about known issues with specific movements or a faulty after-sales service will NOT be left out.


  • WOW!
  • The box is beautiful but serves like most others little purpose after the initial "contact"
  • A very elegant watch despite its quite aggressive dial design
  • The crown is very easy to grip and handle as it should be for a manual
  • Movement finish is impeccable and in accord with the level of watch but I am missing at least one inward angle
  • The ardillon buckle is in platinum matching the case (not always a given in the trade)
  • The start/stop button is easy to grip and operate but feels a bit "flimsy"






    • Seconds-stop function: n/a
    • Date change: n/a
    • Alignment of hands at 12 o'clock: PERFECT
    • Alignment of chronograph hands: PERFECT
    • Anti-reflective coating: none
    • Contrast Day: ***
    • Visibility Night: none
    • Watch Case: *****
    • Strap: *****
    • Ardillon Buckle: ****
    • Crown: *****
    • Watch Case: *****
    • Bracelet/Strap/Buckle: *****
    • Dial & Hands: *****
    • Crown: *****
    • Movement: *****
    Price: Aprox. 55,110 €


    Few watches give the impression of being something special the very first moment you hold them. Wether it is the extraordinary finish or the heft of the platinum case combined with a solid gold movement, the Centigraphe transmits a feeling of superlative right from the start. Much like a dark grey Aston Vantage rolling slowly down Bond Street after short rain shower, it just transmits luxury and more important, taste like only few other items. An F. P. Journe has no need to be oversized or laced with diamonds to make a statement, and nothing makes a bigger statement than something that does not need to shout. Discretion and a strict abidance by it's horological philosophy makes Journe a joy to own. No bells nor whistles, just pure watchmaking.

    It has been 3 weeks now with the Centigraphe and despite all the discussion regarding it's capability or not to measure accurately the 100th of a second being only a 3hz. movement, it is a stunning piece of work. In the end, who cares if it accurately measures the 100th of a second? It's not the point. I can't shake the feeling that all this discussion is distracting the general "connoisseurs" from what is a very impressive piece of craftsmanship. Quite frankly, I got this piece for many reasons and it being able to accurately measure the 100th part of a second had not ever crossed my mind... Furthermore, I would find it quite intriguing should there be somebody out there that did. Hell, if anybody thought they had the reflexes to make this complication really count... what a retard. Anybody with the need for such precision would most likely turn to sensor triggers and electronics, but definitely NOT an idiot's index finger. So, to that aspect I consider the matter closed.

    One of my first surprises at first contact with the Centigraphe was the rubberized back and sides of the strap. I was not acquainted with this strap version/model and it seemed a bit awkward at first, mainly because I expected a full crocodile front and back strap. Plus, the day that I picked it up it was over 30º Celsius. Rubber is not my favorite choice for the summer except for when you are at the beach. After only one week I can only recommend this version, the reason being: the weight of the watch itself, remember platinum and massive gold movement, make it a bit heavy on a leather strap. Heavy watches on leather straps tend to be uncomfortable. You either wear it tight or it will wear you out over time. Now, having the extra grip of the rubber on the inside of the strap fixes that issue completely. It helps maintain the watch in place without the need to "strangle" your wrist. This is especially welcomed in the summer. Almost forgot; the buckle is in Platinum. Normal you would say, but not all prestige power-houses match ardillon buckles or deployment buckles to the case. It is sometimes so that platinum watches get white gold buckles or titanium watches get steel buckles. For instance, I recall that AP's "Montoya" in titanium was fitted with a steel deployment buckle...

    Operating the watch, especially the chronometer takes a bit to get used to since it's not a classic chronograph disposition. Over time you become aware that this alternative to place the pusher is actually better than the classic chronograph pushers placement. This "rocking-lever" has excellent grip and is easy to operate due to the placement, however it feels a bit flimsy or loose. The crown is an absolute treat to use for setting of winding the watch. The grip of the crown is simply perfection. Unfortunately the winding has no slipping differential and could be easily damaged if wound with heft. Winding has to be done in a careful manner, too careful for my taste since the winding resistance is harder than average. There are no references as to power reserve or winding state so that you can stop before you reach critical. The lack of a power reserve is also a negative point in this case, mainly because there is quite a large disparity between the actual power reserve when the chronograph is activated or not. Mind you, it is a Foudroyante and it should not be left running without purpose. Measuring my tea or eggs four times in one winding circle (about 80-hours) will not influence the length much. Rather, it is a matter of "completing" the complication.

    I admit I have exceptional eye sight (and I am not bragging here...) so visibility issues are not really a problem for me. When I rate visibility I try to be as picky as I possibly can. Especially after crossing the 40's barrier things tend to go worse in the eyesight department. The reading of the chronograph I found easy but I admit that a regular chronograph is easier to interpret. The detail of the dial is simply breathtaking as you can see from the pictures. The contrast between the hours and minutes is good enough yet the front glass is not anti-glare treated on the outside. This attracts a lot of reflections especially on bright summer days. Mind you, I would not like this watch with anti-glare treatment since it would loose some of its flare.

    As a hole I would place the Centigraphe in the section of VERY special superlative chronographs. In that section I count; Lange's "DoubleSplit", Richard Mille's "RM004v2", Jaeger leCoultre's "ExtremeLab 2", Patek Philippe's "5950" and possibly AP's "Carbon Concept 1". A wonderful piece of work by F.P. Journe, yes Sir...

    Patek Philippe: Regulator "5235G"

    It has been a while since I posted something from Patek. The reason being that there is a lot of rumors regarding the dismisal of hand finishes in all movements except for the very BIG pieces, the blatant manipulation of auctions and an alleged overlooked poor/irregular finish amongst the same watches further down the line. Well, all these things remain to be proven and until then they are just rumors. What is proof is that Patek know their trade and while the rather steep crisis hit most head-on in the luxury business they have managed to remain on top. Could this be the reason for these latest attacks? Maybe, but leaving all these battles aside I would like to remind everybody that Patek is still the "Ambassador" of the Swiss watch industry to the world. So a bit of caution is advised. Anyway, should any of these rumors be true, nobody will be able to shut me up...

    Well, on to the latest addition to their collection, and it is quite an unusual one. Who would have though, a regulator?!? Quite a surprise if you ask me and surely few saw this one coming. This "baby" comes with the latest Gyro and SpiroMaxes not forgetting that it is fitted with their window display annual calendar. The movement has a similar look to the 240 but slightly more attractive. Can't really critisize that at a list price of 36,150€, mostly when considering the garbage offered out there by others, this piece a real steal. Regardless, I have mixed feelings about this watch.

    At a first glance, I am somewhat confused with the overall design. Is it just me or does this look like anything else, but NOT a Patek? The angular watch case, slim straight hands, clean aseptic dial... Don't know about you but to me this is closer to NOMOS than to a Patek. On top of that, what is the point of adding the annual calendar when it almost disappears in the dial? Not a good idea is the relatively simple and uneventful dial. So simple that, I really hate to say this but, as I am writhing this right now you can bet your but that there is a counterfeit mogul somewhere in China nailing this sucker on the fly! By the time the first 5235G is delivered there will we about 20,000 cheap copies for sale at your local and favourite counterfeit dealer. Lovely.

    In any case, it is an interesting piece of kit if you overlook the somewhat lacking Patek DNA. The proportions are modern at 41mm and with slightly over 10mm in thinness you can bet it is comfortable enough under any shirt. I would have liked to see some more "spunk" in this piece, but taste is personal. No matter, if you like this dial design you should be aware that this should be a difficult piece to source the next few months. Good luck.

    10-DAYS: Glashütte Original "Sixties PanoDate"

    Many already are familiar with Glashütte Original and possibly the "Sixties" models. I have always wanted to have something that my grandfather could/would have worn, yet the standard sizes in the 60's ranged from 32mm to 36mm for gentlemen's watches make them just look ridiculous on me. The Sixties by GO has brought that look back and with the PanoDate at 42mm, straight to my wrist. Never expected to ever own a Glashütte but I could not resist. Here is the large date version...

    NOTE: I have, and will in the future, deliberately skip any references as to the "chronometrical" aspect of the tested watch/es. The reason being that such test are futile, misleading and either unfair to the brand or the owner. Should a "particular" watch be deficient in its function that does not mean that all are. The same is true the other way around, if one works that does not mean that they ALL work. However, references about known issues with specific movements or a faulty after-sales service will NOT be left out.

  • Perfect and "to-the-point" packaging. No unnecessary extras but a very useful and well thought travel/safe box.
  • Surprisingly well finished watch case at this price point with two convex sapphire glasses, front and back.
  • Exceptional leather strap quality and finish.
  • Very well finished and designed ardillon buckle.
  • The movement finish is well executed but a bit "coarse" at this level. Could be finer, especially on the edges of the bridges and peripheral bit on the main-plate.
  • Embodies the "Sixties" spirit to PERFECTION.

  • 10-DAYS...

    Day 1: Very well proportioned and comfortable to wear. The dial is very clean and pleasant The large date is well placed and proportioned on the dial. Nice piece!

    Day 2: First night with the Sixties and although the Super LumiNova is present it is not especially bright. The hours and minutes are very similar in length and position on the hands. I wonder if designers ever test the placement of the luminous material at all? One thing is to look at it fully charged in the day time when you are lucid... another is to wakeup at 4:00 in the morning and have to concentrate to discern the actual time.

    Day 3: As mentioned before the finis of the movement although perfectly executed and completely scratch free could be a bit finer. My eyes tend to go to the edges of the movement were the finish gives the impression to be a bit "raw".

    Day 4: The front and back sapphire glasses make this a very smooth and comfortable watch. You can't get caught up in anything since everything about this watch is very well rounded and polished. The "plexi" look of the front sapphire is very well executed and together with the dial really work the "sixties" theme to perfection.

    Day 5: The more I look at it the more I think they made a great job on the outside. The rear convex sapphire glass is very pleasant to the touch. To make this watch perfect it should have been manual and with a slightly more advanced movement finish. It is really starting to get hot here... I am thinking of putting it on a NATO strap. Hmmm, let's see what do I have in my strap arsenal...

    Day 6: I thought I mention this; It has been a long, I mean LONG, time since I have had a hand assembled watch with hands so well aligned (with the added challenge of the hands being so long and thin). Here I challenge any that read this to check their watches how well aligned they are. The procedure is simple... put on your reading glasses, align the hour hand at exactly 12 o'clock (or preferably another hour not to block the view) to the nearest micron and now check the minute hand. Is it it at 12 o'clock, or several minutes past? Here is a picture to illustrate;

    Day 7: Today it is 40º outside my doorstep. Finally equipped the Sixties with some summer clotting... Don't know about you but it looks surprisingly well on a NATO.

    Day 8: The night visibility is a bit better than anticipated at first although it could be better. I do not understand why the Super LumiNova was not applied to the whole length of the hands. I don't think it would have influenced in a negative way where the design is concerned.

    Day 9: Sourced a 22mm Glashütte Original buckle to fit it to the NATO strap. Looks great. I also removed the excess strap by sniping it away with a pair of scissors and melting the end with a lighter to prevent unraveling. Not difficult but recommend a bit of practice with the discarded piece before you go ahead with the good piece of strap. I do not remember where I got this particular NATO but it should not be too dificoult to source if you google "NATO STARPS".

    Nice option but unfortunately the original buckle is not available in 22mm. Too bad, the original 20mm buckle is much nicer aesthetically and finish wise.

    Day 10: Ten days are over and although I do not consider this as a "summer" watch (only waterproof to 3 ATM) it was quite a joy to wear. Very comfortable and pleasant to wear.


    • Seconds-stop function: yes
    • Date change: at 00:02
    • Alignment of hands at 12 o'clock: PERFECT
    • Anti-reflective coating: yes
    • Contrast Day: ****
    • Visibility Night: ***

    • Watch Case: ****
    • Strap: ****
    • Ardillon Buckle: ****
    • Crown: ****
    • Watch Case: *****
    • Bracelet/Strap/Buckle: *****
    • Dial & Hands: ****
    • Crown: **
    • Movement: **
    Price: Aprox. 7,050€


    I must say that I was quite impressed with the look and feel of the Glashütte Original "Sixties PanoDate". The case construction and dial finish really manage to convey that "sixties" feeling with modern day quality and construction. The added bonus of having it in 42mm enables it to be worn on medium to large size wrists, unseen so far in these genre of watches. The dial and hands are not what I would call complicated to make but they are so well executed that they are beyond reproach. The hands are aligned to perfection (other more prestigious brands seem to have trouble with that...). Very much like the movement, that I would rate as having mediocre finishes but they are executed to perfection without any signs of scratches, dented or damaged screew-heads, no oil stains and very minimal particles of dust. The strap seemed of way over average quality and the ardillon buckle very well finished and designed. The buckle gives the impression of being milled out of a piece of metal and not stamped. That is a very welcomed detail since many watches that are three times the cost have buckles that look like they where made in a Vietnamese "sweat-shop" with a bored looking individual pulling on a leaver while looking bored with a cigarette stump logged in the corner of his mouth... Here you go... 1,000 buckles... next... Get the picture?

    The only complaint I can make about this watch is that the crown seems a little awkward. It is a bit too prominent/tall and considering it is an automatic it is not absolutely necessary to have maximum grip on the crown. For some reason the finish of the crown does not look or go well with the watch. I do not know if it is the size, the polished surface or the design but something bothers me about it. If feels a bit like when you get a replacement that is not "quite" the original.

    A minor issue would be the 3ATM (20 meters) waterproof rating. It is a bit low for todays standards and could be slightly better yet I do not consider this a summer watch so this is a minor issue as long as it is at least shower proof.

    Overall, the Sixties is a very well balanced and finished product on the outside, which in the end is about 99% of your interaction with it. But, I do believe that at slightly over 7,000€ the finishes of the movement deserve either to be more refined or a 10% to 15% price drop would make this a much more competitive product. I found myself yearning for the same version (42mm with the large date) in a manual wound movement. That would have been perfect...