Phillips Watches Presents Le Concours de Complexité – A F.P. Journe Watch Collection


Phillips Watches Presents Le Concours de Complexité – A F.P. Journe Watch Collection


If your new year’s resolution for 2023 is to not buy any more watches, until at least the May auction season, then Phillips could force a mission-abort signal for fans of hot independent watchmaking. Whilst most us will be looking in the mirror and promising that we will hit the gym every day from now on, Phillips is straight out of the traps with a single owner collection sale of F.P. Journe watches. Following the success of the Beauty in Everything sale from December, where The Armoury founder Mark Cho’s eclectic collection of watches was offered as an online and app only sale, Phillip’s is offering a tightly curated collection for one week online. If you have even a passing interest in François-Paul’s watches, you won’t want to miss this.

Phillips is dubbing the sale, Le Concours de Complexité, which translates to competition of complexity. This name represents the journey that Journe has been on as both a brand and a master watchmaker, challenging the status quo and demonstrating its appetite for creating highly desirable and innovative watches. There is little to no arguing that Journe’s creations are outstanding and also that his watches are stand-out performers at auction. I touched on this in my end of year wrap-up of the auction market, with Phillips having sold some outstanding examples from F.P. Journe that secured some very impressive results. The stand outs were a rare platinum Octa Calendrier with brass automatic movement and vibrant yellow gold dial. That hammered above estimate at $264.6k and a 1999 souscription tourbillon, dating to the year the brand was founded and one of six known with pink gold dials that sold for an impressive $1.24 million.

The sale is being managed in Hong Kong by Thomas Perazzi, Head of Watches in Asia, who also oversaw the Cho collection sale. He is confident that the sale will be another success for the house. He says, “We are honoured to be entrusted with the sale of this F.P. Journe collection formed by a visionary collector who has acquired timepieces with the highest quality and rarity over the years of collecting that embodies his vision and passion for horology. François-Paul Journe has long been admired for its innovation and brilliance for the design of his timepieces, since the brand’s inception in 1999 with remarkable pieces such as the Tourbillon Souverain, Chronomètre à Résonance and Octa Reserve that has gained fervent excitement amongst collectors all over the world. We look forward to kicking off 2023 with this tightly curated assemblage of fine and rare F.P. Journe examples.”

The jewel in the crown of the sale is a unique piece, made for the collector to whom this impressive assemblage once belonged. Nothing sends collectors into a tailspin like a one-off watch, especially by a brand like this. The watch is a black-dialled Sonnerie Souverain in stainless steel from 2018, of which only four were made each year over 13 years, meaning only 50 examples exist. This grand strike wristwatch has an active striking instrument that chimes the quarters and hours without manual activation and is unique thanks to its black dial that would normally be reserved for the ultra-exclusive Black Label series. At the time of writing the estimate is $360,000 to $650,000 but I imagine it will do significantly better than that.

A one-off black-dialled Sonnerie Souverain in stainless steel, the jewel in the auction's crown

Another highlight is a Ruthenium Chronomètre á Résonance is fitted with an in-house brass movement. These watches were made between 2001 and 2005 and were the last watches produced with brass movements before Journe began entirely working with 18K pink gold for his engines. The offered example is numbered “2” from a limited edition of 99 and is different to the standard issue due to its ruthenium-coated manual-winding movement that can be admired by the new owner through the watch’s sapphire caseback. The watch houses a grey dial forged from ruthenium-coated white gold and the two time-zones are presented on separate silver guilloche sub dials.

A Ruthenium Chronomètre á Résonance, from a limited edition of 99

Other highlights include a second-generation Tourbillon Souverain that is the last of its kind, from 2017. Featuring a world premiere remontoire system and deadbeat seconds. The dial layout was innovative too with the tourbillon in line with the minutes and hours sub dial to demonstrate their equal importance and the deadbeat seconds front and centre of the dial. The estimate is $100,000 to $200,000. Salmon dials have a certain place in collectors’ hearts and so the unique platinum 20th Anniversary Résonance will be another key lot. This version of the watch was made to celebrate two decades of the Chronomètre à Resonance and has the addition of the Remontoire d’Egalité, another ingenious Journe signature.

A second-generation Tourbillon Souverain

A unique platinum 20th Anniversary Résonance with salmon dial

The Le Concours de Complexité: Single Owner Online Auction runs online and on the Phillips app from the 13 January – 20 January 2023. There will be a Singapore preview at the Mandala Club, 31 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089845 on the 11th January 2023, between 12pm and 6pm (Singapore time). The catalogue will be available at: