François-Paul Journe established his own Swiss horology company, F.P.Journe, in 1999. Both designer and creator of the brand’s array of high-end complications, tourbillons and repeaters, such as the grande sonnerie. Journe brings classic materials and expertise into modern cases with a minimalist appeal and often asymmetric designs.
ELEPHANT LIFESTYLE (L): Who was your greatest influence as a watchmaker?
FRANÇOIS-PAUL JOURNE: Legendary British watchmaker George Daniels inspired me the most in chronometers.
L: Which period of timekeeping influences you the most?
FPJ: I like the period around the 15th Century, when they were making pocket watches. Wristwatches started around the 18th Century, but I would be honoured to repair something from that period as well. I work with the kinds of materials they were using in the 18th Century. Although my pieces are contemporary, the designs are timeless and newer materials are out of the question because they tend to be more fragile.
L: What design elements are key to defining F.P.Journe watches?
FPJ: Our key features include a lot of small elements. The case is round, for instance. We don’t like squares because you lose so much space on the sides, so I keep the classical round style. Also amongst my signatures are the F.P.Journe drop-shaped blued watch hands and crown, which I make with a knurled helix pattern around the edges. They are important little details. And above all, we are the only watch manufacturer in the world to produce all of our movements in 18-carat rose gold.
L: What is F.P.Journe’s philosophy?
FPJ: I simply want to continue my profession to produce innovative precision watches. I am spontaneous; I don’t think much of what is behind the marketing. I like to create. Next year we will introduce a new watch for women. I have five very serious new models in the planning stage. I am working on a watch that will not need to be repaired for 200 years. This is the long-term project and the ultimate goal of my work.