The F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain is a 100th of a second chronograph, with one hand that makes a revolution every second. The chronograph display has three dials, one for one second, one for 20 seconds, and one for ten minutes. For each, a tachymeter scale is marked inside the time scale, so on the one-second dial, the tachymeter reading corresponding to a tenth of a second is 36,000. In theory, of course, because human reaction times have to be taken into account and they are far higher than hundredths of seconds. But no matter, this is a brilliant piece of engineering and a perfect expression of the fascinating dichotomy of watchmaking: high-priced objects of mechanical perfection, that have no real application in the world today.
It has to be said that François-Paul Journe has worked on the problem of reaction time, and instead of buttons on each side of the crown, the watch has a rocker at 2 o’clock on the case band, which starts, stops and resets the chronograph.
Another technical feature is the fact that the chronograph has a gear train separate to the timekeeping function, so that the latter is not affected by starting and stopping the chronograph. The watch has an exceptional power reserve, 80 hours without the chronograph running, and 24 hours with the chronograph used continuously.
As for all F.P.Journe watches, this has a movement in rose gold, comprising 284 components, in a case 40 mm in diameter, 10.7 mm thick. The watch is made in gold or platinum, with leather strap or metal bracelet. It is spectacular when it is in operation, with the three chronograph hands revolving at different speeds.