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In-Depth: Presentation of the New Chronometre a Resonance (RQ) for WatchProSite

ChristianDK
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Chronometre a Resonance RQ . released April 28, 2020.



Overview

(Text extracts from the press kit for Chronometre a Resonance RQ)

The new Chronomètre à Résonance has only one single barrel spring to provide power for the two movements. A differential placed on the first wheel, visible in the centre of the dial, transmits, independently, the energy of the barrel spring towards the two secondary gear trains. Each secondary gear train is equipped with a Remontoir d’Egalité of a frequency of 1 second. Working in such a way, the force received by the escapements remains linear and assures isochronism throughout 28 hours.

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The new Chronomètre à Résonance features a redesigned case in Platinum or in 18K 6N Gold with a crown now placed at 2 o’clock easing the winding of the watch in position 0 and the time setting in position 2, clockwise for the left dial and anti-clockwise for the right dial. The pulling of the button at 4 o’clock simultaneously resets both seconds.



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“I have redesigned the dial in Gold to provide a perfect aesthetic balance between the 2 identical Silver guilloche hour and minute subdials, indicating 12 hours at 3 o’clock and 24 hours at 9 o’clock. At 12 o’clock the power reserve of 42 hours echoes the signature at 6 o’clock while the 2 synchronized small seconds reflect each other at 4 and 8. In the center, the differential bridge appears through the openwork dial, which with the barrel spring will equally distribute the energy to the two gear trains.”

 

On the movement side, 2 remontoirs d’égalité (constant force device) provide a linear force to each of the two balance springs to remain isochronous during 28 hours.



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The new Chronomètre à Résonance is available with a case in Platinum or in 18K 6N Gold in 40 and 42 mm diameter. The dial is proposed in 18K white or 6N Gold with 2 hour subdials in whitened Silver Guilloché clous de Paris. Leather strap or Gold or Platinum bracelet.


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Technical specifications

Movement:   Calibre 1520 in 18K rose Gold. Manual winding / 31 turns of crown

 Dimensions:               Overall diameter:                              34.60 mm

Casing-up diameter:                  34.20 mm

Overall height:                              7.97 mm

Height of winding stem:                3.39 mm

Diameter of stem thread:           S1.20 mm

 Balance:                     2 independent linear escapements, 15 teeth

2 independent balances with 4 inertia weights

2 flat micro-flamed Anachron balance springs

2 mobile stud carriers

Free sprung

2 springs laser pinned to Nivatronic collets

2 Pinned GE studs

Frequency:           21,600v/h, 3Hz

Inertia:                   10.10 mg/cm2

Angle of lift:           52°

Amplitude:             0h dial up: > 260°

  24h dial up: > 260°

 

Main Characteristics:         2 position winding crown at 2

Manual winding in position 0 - Time adjustment in position 2: left dial clockwise and right dial anti-clockwise

Resetting the seconds to zero by pulling the button at 4h

 

Indications:                         

                                             Double time display:        

                                             Left analog - indicating 24 hours

                                             Right analog - indicating 12 hours

2 small seconds at 6

Power reserve at 12

 

Power Reserve:                  42 hours ± 2

 

Finishing:                            High quality

Partial circular graining on baseplate

Straight waves on bridges

Screw heads polished and beveled, with chamfered slots

Pegs with polished rounded ends

Steel components hand finished

 

Case:                                  Platinum or 18K 6N Gold

                                            Diameter: 40 and 42mm

Total height:11 mm

 

Dial:                                    18K white or 6N Gold and whitened Silver counters with guilloche clous de Paris

 

Number of parts:                Movement without dial       :                     378

                                           Cased up with strap:                                427

                                           Jewels:                                                      62

 

 

Preliminary Price                Gold case 101.400 CHF ex. Tax

                                            Platinum case 105.000 CHF ex. Tax


Available both in 40 mm and 42 mm case

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Chronometre a Resonance RQ


By ChristianDK - F.P. Journe Moderator WatchProSite.com 


The Launch of the Resonance RQ

The launch of the new Resonance RQ was supposed to have taken place at an event in Geneva in late March. Collectors and journalists where invited from around the world. However, due to the Covid-19 situation, the event was cancelled, and the launch was postponed.

On march 31st, F.P. Journe sent out a message on Instagram, Wishing everyone well during the Corona Crisis, also saying that the new Resonance watch was ready and it would be available in boutiques once they reopened. You could sense his longing and excitement in his words, to present the watch to the world. This is a watch that clearly means a lot to the watchmaker and to the person that is Francois-Paul Journe. See post here:

www.watchprosite.com

As the world now seems to be making the first baby steps to carefully reopen, Mr. Journe has delighted us with the news that now is the time to reveal the watch through watch various Social Media and the watch press. Obviously, this is very far from being the launch he had intended. But this is the reality of the world right now! We have to make the best of the limited possibilities we have at the moment. Soon we will see live pictures and wrist shots appearing. As the various parts of the world reopens locally, you can potentially be able to see and handle the watch in a few weeks at your local F.P. Journe Boutique.

 

First impressions and reflections...

The following article is merely my first impressions as well as my first thoughts on the new Chronometre a Resonance RQ. It is – In NO way - a review!



“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.”

― T.S. Eliot,  The Sacred Wood



The Resonance is in my, TOP 3 all-time favorite watches. Sometimes I think it is THE favorite. I keep being fascinated and inspired by the Resonance phenomenon. It is not only a great concept.  I keep enjoying the watch on the wrist. I wear it for extensive periods at a time. I travel with it. It works both as a formal and as a casual watch. The watch wears well and perfectly balanced on the wrist with its slim and comfortable profile. In my horological life I have spent a fair amount of time and thinking on this watch. I consider it - in many ways - a masterpiece. It feels “Sublime” - in an artistic sense… Well, you know, with a few quirks also, that are part of the deal.

F.P Journe was not the first to discover or to utilize the natural phenomenon of “Resonance” in watchmaking, as a route to improve the chronometric performance. However, he was the first, and some say the only one, to use utilize the acoustic phenomenon to improve the accuracy in a wristwatch. F.P. spent 17 years of research to make it work before he could commercialize it in year 2000. (see also chapter below: CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF RéSONANCE)

Resonance is NOT a complication. It is a natural phenomenon where two escapements exchange energy by shiftily act as Excitor and Resonator and thereby equal out deviations. To make that work in a wristwatch, is just incredibly difficult. Others attempts exists, but no manufacture have been able to do it in the way FP does and further translate that into a manufacture piece. What seems to stand above discussion, is that no other has been able to make Resonance it “their own” in modern watchmaking, as in the way T.S. Elliot described the gesture of the good poet.


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I was very curious about how it was possible to renew The Chronometre a Resonance since the first time I heard a rumor that a new Resonance was in the works. Honestly, I was skeptical and had a hard time seeing the purpose of making a reinterpretation. Why change something perfect?

Last year though, during an evening with F.P, I was able to learn a little about what was hidden behind the veil. I learned that adding a Remontoir d´Egalite, or rather, two separate “constant force mechanisms”- one for each of the separate powertrains, was the concept of the new watch. Giving it some thought, the idea made complete sense to me. It was, in a way as simple as it was a brilliant answer to the challenge of reinterpreting and improving the Chronometre a Resonance.


The use of the Remontoir d’Egalite has played a crucial role through the lineage of many the most important watches from F.P. Journe.  It is applied because it serves as an effectful component in the quest to improve and optimize chronometric performance. For some manufactures, the use of a “constant force device” (in one form or other) is oftentimes more of a decorative element without the benefit of improving performance, since there is a tradeoff in terms of friction. It becomes an aesthetic undertaking.  However, this not the point for with F.P. Journe.

The Remontoir d’Egalite is used for the first time in the first tourbillon from 1991 and some of the following unique pieces he makes. It is also included in the Tourbillon Souverain from 1999 that became the first production Tourbillon and it was subsequently included in his Tourbillon TN from 2003. Tourbillon Vertical 2019. Again, the Remontoir D’Egalite is given a lead role in the Chronometre Optimum and serves as an aid in conceiving the concepts of the Vagabondage 2 and the Vagabondage 3. Throughout this lineage, F.P.J. has been able to develop and improve on his version of the Remontoir d’Egalite.



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View of one of the two Remontoir dÉgalite.




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Remontoir dÉgalite designed for the Tourbillon. The Remontoir spring-blade delivers constant energy to the escapement every second.


The two added Remontoir d’Egalite. Or the two “constant force mechanisms” solve a fundamental problem in the power train of a mechanical watch. As the mainspring unwinds, from the full rewind, the power diminishes in an uneven way. That means, for the first few hours, a strong energy is delivered but with diminishing force. Then, when the main spring is about two thirds unwound, a sharp drop in energy will begin occur until fully unwound.

Ideally a balance must be isochronous, which means that each oscillation it makes must be identical at all times. To achieve this, the energy fed to the balance need to be of the same or constant force. In short, a Remontoir d’Egalite is a device or construction,(in this case a spring blade) that acts as an interim energy buffer between the main spring and the escapement. Releasing equal portions of energy stored in the Remontoirs, once every second. In the case of the RQ, it ensures the two escapements to receive a linear energy for 28 hours and thus assures isochronism for this period.


 The Chronometre a Resonance is first and foremost a technical watch that utilizes the Phenomenon of Resonance with the aim to achieve the best possible chronometric performance. That is the sole purpose of the original concept! The purpose is not to be whimsical or poetic. So – the addition Remontoir d’Egalite x 2, is done in the same spirit and helps to distribute an even energy to the two, completely  separate escapements. These are very intolerant to deviations, in order to be able to resonate with each other.


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The new Caliber 1520


The new movement has been given the name caliber 1520 . 15 – because it is 15 linges in size and 20 because it is introduced in year 2020.

What we see, when we put this movement next to the original caliber 1499, is an airier and tectonic architecture. It still keeps almost perfect symmetry, except for the gear winding the main barrel. This has moved over to the left because the winding crown has been moved from 12 o´clock, to the two o´clock position. You can sense the single, large barrel spring under the plate through two kidney shaped apertures.

What is clearly different are the openings between the bridges, creating a space for the two remontoirs. You can sense the going train behind them and how they connect down to the two unconnected escapements.

The principle of how Resonance is achieved remains the same as in the old caliber. You still have a fixed balance to the left side, while the right balance sits on a movable plate that can be adjusted in terms of distance to the other, through the narrowing pin. When each balance is tightly regulated in all 6 positions to within 5 seconds of each other, the correct distance can be optimized and Resonance between the two will start to occur.


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The new Caliber 1520




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The previous and now retired caliber 1499


My initial feeling is that this is an extremely beautiful movement. Tectonically it is very easy to “read” the movement and what is taking place once you understand what the components in the train are doing. I love that clarity.

It is more open and interesting to look at than the cal. 1499, which has always been one of the most beautiful watch movements to my eyes. The two remontoirs in action will create some “life” and animate the movement further. Is this even more beautiful to the eye than the cal. 1499?


There is really great animation of the watch movement, showing all the gears and Remontoirs in motion. Link is here:   https://www.instagram.com/p/B_hhVGRH-JY/


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The dial of the new Chronometre a Resonance RQ


The dial clearly takes on some inspiration from the recently released Chronometre Astronomic. Instead of using the two classical dials with sub dials, that we find in the old Resonance, F.P. is forming a larger (almost) symmetric element that unites the two dials. The dial becomes an abstract shape, formed from within by the circles of the dial, adding an interesting figure to the dial.

Probably the most unusual and controversial part of the dial, is the large hole in the center. Here is an aperture creating room for a finely finished, carved out bridge. The bridge holding and exhibiting the first wheel and opening up to the view of a very unusual differential gear that is supplying equal force to each separate gear train. This is a detail I will think we will need to see and experience to fully appreciate. I find it interesting looking and I think I like it. Both the bridge and gears have been carved out to optimize the transparency.

F.P has a tradition of creating apertures in his dial to reveal and frame components of the watch. But how much movement is visible through this aperture? And a hole in the middle of the dial will surely cause some debate among collectors, I imagine. However, I think it is also a major component to visually separating the watch from the previous one.

The dial demonstrates FPs artistic interest in playing with the composition of the dial, just as a painter works with his canvas. He has now left the simple notion of form follows function and taken the liberty to play with and shape the form. Same as he also did on the dial of the Astronomic. I really like this symmetric shape. It just looks very cool!

My single main objection to the dial and the watch so far, is that this is a 24h/12h dial. That is, for me personally a slight disappointment. I feel the expression of the Resonance is slightly diluted as it takes more form of a travel watch. I always run my Resonance with the dials set symmetrically – even when I’m in another time zone. I hope we will see a traditional 12h/12h dial in a future edition.


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The dial of the new Chronometre a Resonance RQ
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The dial of the Chronometre A Resonance now retired. One year run in 2019.




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The dial of the Chronometre Astronomic launched in 2019.


The redesigned case. The winding crown has been moved from the 12 o´clock position to 2 o´clock. Oh boy – I think a LOT of people will appreciate this. Yeah, I also love the quirky look of the old crown at 12, but it is a pain to wind it.

The new case will come in 40 and 42 mm. the height is 11 mm which is a nice proportion. The Centigraphe is 10.7mm and the Quantieme  Perpetual is also 11mm high, so these pieces can give you some reference for the size and proportions of the case. The old Resonance case was 9.7 mm high.none

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A few last comments. As you can sense, I am really, really impressed with this final watch. This is an feeling I don’t get often, any more.

We all remember when the first iPhone came. It was a amazement and shock to most. However, no one remembers when the second came out. I was afraid this could have been a similar situation where the watch just felt like an update. This is clearly not the case - I see and feel this is an evolution with new meaning added to it and that the watch will hold its own place!

In particular, I am charmed by the new movement. I am looking at my 1499 on the table right now, and it suddenly seems slightly dull in comparison the pictures of the cal. 1520.

I really like the new dial. Especially the shape looks good. The aperture I think I will need to get used to, but the bridge looks very well done and is quite pretty.

It makes complete sense in the Journe Universe, that the Remontoir d’Egalite should finally find its way in to the Chronometre a Resonance. The conceptual purity and integrity is preserved.

I feel will take its place in the lineage among the most important of F.P. Journe watches. Of course - History will be the judge of that.


CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF R é SONANCE

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(Text extract from the press kit for Chronometre a Resonance RQ)

 

The first observations pertaining to the natural resonance phenomenon were made by 17th century Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens, followed by 18th century horologists Antide Janvier and Abraham-Louis Breguet, who developed timepieces based upon this principle. Since then, François-Paul Journe is the first and only watchmaker to manufacture wristwatches that perform through acoustic resonance.

 

When he presented his first Résonance wristwatch in 2000, it was baptized Résonance under the patented brand name Résonance ®. The F.P.Journe Chronomètre à Résonance is the only wristwatch in the world that utilizes the “physical natural resonance without any mechanical contact” phenomenon, previously known as double pendulum or double balance.

 

Conceived, developed and built to meet the demands of actual wear on the wrist and thereby provide chronometric performance driven to extremes, this watch represents one of the wildest challenges in the field of mechanical watches! Each of the two balances alternately serves as exciter and resonator. When the two balances are in movement, they enter into harmony thanks to the resonance phenomenon and begin to beat naturally in opposition. The two balances then support each other, giving more inertia to their movement. This result is possible only if the difference of the frequency from one to the other does not exceed 5 seconds per day cumulated on six positions. Their setting is an extremely delicate task.

 

Whereas an external disturbance affects the running of a traditional mechanical watch, the same disturbance, for the Chronomètre à Resonance, produces an effect that accelerates one of the balances as much as it slows down the other. Little by little, the two balances come back towards each other to find their point of harmony, thus eliminating the disturbance, and beating in perfect synchronization.

 

This emblematic watch that distinctively signs François-Paul Journe’s horological research on precision was awarded Grand Complication of the Year at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2010. François-Paul Journe has conceived several versions of his wristwatch throughout the last 20 years; the first 20 by Subscription (2000), the first collection series (2001), the Ruthenium series (2001-2002), with movement in 18K rose Gold (2005), the 24 hours Résonance (2010), the analogic 24 hours Résonance (2019), and the new Chronomètre à Résonance (2020).

 

The new Chronomètre à Résonance features a redesigned case in Platinum or in 18K 6N Gold with a crown now placed at 2 o’clock easing the winding of the watch in position 0 and the time setting in position 2, clockwise for the left dial and anti-clockwise for the right dial. The pulling of the button at 4 o’clock simultaneously resets both seconds.

 

 

The resonance phenomenon explained

(Text extract from the press kit for Chronometre a Resonance RQ)

Resonance is a natural acoustic phenomenon. Any animate body transmits a vibration to its environment. When another body picks up this vibration at the same frequency, it absorbs its energy. In watchmaking it pertains to two independent movements set side by side that get in synchronization.

 

A few resonance examples: A soprano’s voice. She delicately sings into a glass until she hears to which frequency the glass replies and then, she emits a stentorian sound at that same frequency. The glass then vibrates in sympathy. If the energy provided is sufficient, the glass will not be able to tolerate it and will break.

 

Musicians who play wind and stringed instruments also know about the resonance phenomenon, as Keith Jarrett mentioned in the first catalogue of F.P.Journe. Certain strings on lutes and sitars, for example, are not made to be touched; they vibrate by resonance when the musician plucks the strings in close proximity to them.

 

All radio communication systems, transmitters and receivers, use resonators to “filter” the frequencies of the signals they use. When we are looking for a program on the radio, it crackles until the chosen wavelengths meet those of the transmitter: only then do they harmonize to begin resonating together.

 

A bridge is subjected to vertical and transversal oscillations, or torsion. In 1850, a troop that was crossing a bridge suspended over the Maine River in Angers, and that was marching in step to the same rhythm, caused the bridge to rupture, leading to the death of 226 soldiers. Military regulations forbid them to walk in step across a bridge.

 

Magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, uses the resonance of a body’s protons to produce images. An automobile, with its suspension system, is an oscillator! Shock absorbers prevent the vehicle from resonating sharply.

 

Large buildings subjected to earthquakes are protected by installing an oscillator (a large pendulum) that is suspended above the building and whose own frequency is similar to that of the building. In this manner, the pendulum absorbs the energy, preventing the building from collapsing.


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Comments:
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mywrongwrist April 28th, 2020-07:06
Thank you so much!!! I’m speechless!!! ❤️❤️❤️ incredible, such an astonishing achievement by FPJ... lots of thoughts for the forthcoming weeks... ciao Luca  
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ChristianDK April 28th, 2020-07:12
Thank you so much, Luca :-) yes a lot of food for thougts. We are looking forward to finally see it thank you for chiming in. Hope you are well!
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holdemchamp1225 April 28th, 2020-07:14
Marvelous write up and explanation Christian. This new Resonance is really amazing as well as being beautiful. Bravo FPJ 👍👏  
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ChristianDK April 28th, 2020-10:45
Thank you so much, I really appreciate you saying that :-) it was fun to write - the only bad thing was realizing how badly I want one ;-)
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holdemchamp1225 April 28th, 2020-11:06
👍🙏😁  
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mahesh April 28th, 2020-07:19
impressive movement and i love the symmetry in most case...in deed i would have loved to see it on the dial too (i like the old dials)... i was also impressed by the thinness of the timepiece with all what the movement is entangled with - wow ! not but not the least, ppl always say Mr Journe is difficult to discuss but i think he address the 'crown position' which was always a difficulty me... 
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ChristianDK April 28th, 2020-10:51
Yes, Isnt it. I think it is impressive how he has struk a perfect balance He has really made true improvements on the watch while staying true true to the original concept. I think we both agree on the symmetry of the 12H dials. best Christian
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mahesh April 28th, 2020-12:16
hopefully he'll do a symmetric dial variant in future or may be a special edition for Purists ;-) i think he is a genius & always pushes the boundaries towards precision timepiece !
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ChristianDK April 28th, 2020-12:29
Haha let’s ask :-) I suspect it will come a point. i agree, he is genius!!! At least incredibly creative and talented
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TheMadDruid April 28th, 2020-07:25
From pictures, Instagram and your description I think this might be the perfect Resonance; and very close to the perfect watch. I’ll have to hold it and put it on before committing to that last proposition. My one objection to the 2019 dial was the 24 hour scale looking so barren and open compared to the right side subdial. This watch solves th... 
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