The F.P. Journe Chronograph Monopoussoir Rattrapante Comes To The Bracelet Sports Watches Battlefield Fully Loaded
Editor’s note: This review of the F.P. Journe Chronograph Monopoussoir Rattrapante is part of our ‘W.R.A.T.H’ series, or ‘What’s Really Available Today Here’ watch photo reviews. It is a series where we go hands-on with watches that can at least at the time of photographing be bought! For our other reviews of the latest novelties, please head here. For our in-depth deep dives, please head to our dedicated review section here. Today’s watch is brought with the grateful assistance of The Hour Glass Sydney.
The F.P. Journe Chronograph Monopoussoir Rattrapante Calibre 1518 released as part of a 3-watch collection featuring options either in titanium grade 5 (as reviewed here), 18K 6N Gold or Platinum PT950. This series have exclusive movements and are a derivative of 2017’s Only-Watch (rattrapante) release, especially evident with the inclusion of ceramic inlaid tachymeter bezel and the numeral typography. These versions also mark the presence of rubber bumpers that may not be repeating in future iterations.
Available At: The Hour Glass Sydney at 142 King St, Sydney (02 9221 2288)
Suited For: Those who definitely know their horological game and wish to play it well. It’s for those who wish to have a high-end split-second chronograph in their collection that is not from the usual suspects but is also very identifiable due to the independent brand’s distinctive design DNA
Our In-person Impression
The timepiece’s understated sportiness and the light-weightedness are what drew me in. Next was the highly comfortable bracelet, the likes of which personally, I haven’t encountered on the wrist since I have started wearing by Breguet Marine 5817ST on its generation 1.0 bracelet. There is a great deal of give and surface play and again light-weightedness to the bracelet that I admired.
As far as first impressions go, this one was mostly positive, barring the use of sapphire on the dial to reveal parts of the movement. This may just be a matter of personal tastes, but I prefer F.P. Journe watches sans any movements displayed on the front of the dial. The Platinum PT950 version with the stunning purple dial is a case in point.
On closer inspection, a couple of things bugged me though: the numerals in the bezel seem to have been etched by a child’; the bezel, unfortunately, has mislaid numerals such as the different ‘200’ and ‘300’ markings where the former overlap and the latter curiously don’t, and the numeral ‘7’ in ’70’ and ‘170’ doesn’t match as well. Now if this is intentional, then I am going to chalk it up to the delightfully quirky nature of Mr Journe’s designs.
Ignoring this little bit, overall, the timepiece shows that as an independent brand, F.P. Journe is in a class of its own. It’s one of those brands that has managed to retain its uniqueness and design language of its timepieces in a way only independents can, but at the same time has also waged a war on the grounds until recently occupied solely by the likes of Patek and Rolex steel sports watches.
Essentially, F.P. Journe can now command high resale values while maintaining long waiting lists. If this is a positive thing or not, I will not get into its debate, but to be able to achieve such heights is definitely applause-worthy.
Will You Like It
On paper, sitting at 44mm, you would be correct in assuming that it is a big watch. But due to the absence of lugs and the extremely light-weight presence of the titanium body, you would be incorrect in assuming that it wears big or is huge.
Its only 12.1mm thickness and less than 50mm lug-to-lug spacing ensure that it sits rather snuggly on my nearly 16cm wrist, and owing to the lightweight material, it’s heft pretty much vanishes if you don’t look at the watch.
But the amazing anthracite dial in an aluminium alloy with luminescent numerals and counters in sapphire ensure that its presence is noted by everyone else around you. And mind you, given its got the layout straight out of the now iconic F.P. Journe playbook, it’s a very identifiable timepiece too.
So the Chronograph Monopoussoir Rattrapante works for both groups: those who truly appreciate the art of watchmaking that has gone behind this incredible timepiece, and for those who simply want to showcase a brand name in their collection. Also, the bracelet with rubber ends ensures that it brings to the table a daily wear outlook that I personally respect (though how good these rubber bumpers are in staying put is an interesting question).
Do We Like It
Definitely. The F.P. Journe Chronograph Monopoussoir Rattrapante is an excellent offering that is fortunately poles apart from their high in demand Chronometre Bleu Calibre 1304.
I say fortunately not because I don’t appreciate the latter timepiece; on the contrary, it’s an exceptional looking watch, one that despite featuring an insanely common blue coloured dial manages to leave a positively sparking memory behind.
Rather, it is fortunate because credit should be given to F.P. Journe for creating a sporty timepiece in their LineSport collection that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Chronometre Bleu but could not be more different. And to me, the ability of the independent brand to manage to break free from what’s expected and create something new is something that is very impressive.
Moving on to the features of the specific watch in hand, personally, I am a sucker for big dates. So its 6’o clock inclusion is something of a plus for me. That said, I would have preferred a division marker between the two so that they didn’t appear rather ‘raw’. I am also a sucker for legibility in my timepieces, and this 5.2 x 2.8mm date aperture ensures that.
And I also appreciate a watch that can tick for more than a day without being charged; my personal minimum limit is set to 64-hours going from 5pm Friday to 9am Monday untouched and again, the Chronograph Monopoussoir Rattrapante impressibly boasts of an 80-hour power reserve.
Of course, the in-house movement gloriously on display through the case-back is the aspect that seals the deal for me – intricate and delightfully finished, it is indeed a work of mechanical art.
The Calibre 1518 is a manual-winding — 38 turns of the crown — mechanical movement beating at the frequency of 3Hz (21’600 A/h). The 33.60mm diameter and 6.8mm thick movement features 285 components and 29 jewels (and its impressive finishing in discussed a bit further on).
The rattrapante is considered to be one of the most sophisticated complications in the world of watchmaking. In a nutshell, this complication is designed to measure two elapsed times simultaneously by the use of two superimposed central chronograph hands. The F.P. Journe Chronograph Monopoussoir Rattrapante features a split-second pusher that will allow the wearer to measure split times or compare the results of several competitors.
Technically, watches with this complication are not cheap, and also a relative pain in the wallet to service. That said, cheaper ones do exist. For instance, you can buy a decent Swiss Rattrapante watch for around 15k AUD. Case in point? The Breitling Navitimer B03 Chronograph Rattrapante 45 in stainless still with Anthracite dial and on a metal mesh bracelet ref. AB03102A1F1A1 retails for $16’450 AUD. The German Sinn 910 Anniversary Limited Edition Split Second Chronograph, another relatively pocket-friendly option, retailed for about $6’000 USD upon its release back in 2016. Then there is also IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupery” ref. IW371808 again from 2016 retailed for about €12’400 incl. tax upon release.
But as you move more high-end, where the F.P. Journe watch is really meant to compete, you get the likes from the houses of Patek and Vacheron, all the way up to the RM 50-02 ACJ Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph that coincidently again debuted in 2016 for around US$1 million. So the cost of $58’000 CHF (upon release) for the F.P. Journe Chronograph Monopoussoir Rattrapante is by all means a rather just one given it easily competes with watches are than way costlier.
Decent price point apart, there are a couple of other aspects that stand out.
I really appreciate the uniform use of red – in the date text, the ’S’ branding at 12, and the chronograph hands and text. It is a nice little splash of colour that ties in the various elements of the dial neatly.
Another aspect that is prominent is that the dial and the bezel together feature three tracks of numerals. This on one hand judging solely by the pictures make the dial look crowded. But on the wrist, they help he 44mm diameter shrink visually, and personally, add to the aesthetics of the watch.
Flip the watch and you get to witness the glory of the finely finished movement:
- Circular stripes on the bridges
- Circular graining on the baseplate
- Polished screw heads with chamfered slots
- Pegs with polished rounded ends
- And straight-grained steelwork
Last year when I reviewed the F.P. Journe Astronomic Souveraine, I remember calling it a seriously complex watch with a quirky attitude. The Chronograph Monopoussoir Rattrapante takes that essence further by adding a touch of sporty to the mix.
Master of Haute Horlogerie, the eponymous watchmaker’s watches are not only unique but take your visual sense through an emotional journey of complicated dials and mechanisms.
And with the sports “LineSport” model the Chronograph Monopoussoir Rattrapante, F.P. Journe comes to the sports watches battlefield fully loaded.
To find out more about the F.P. Journe and their other timepieces, please head to their website here or visit their authorised retailer The Hour Glass Sydney at 142 King St, Sydney (02 9221 2288). All images unless otherwise stated are ©WatchYaGonnaDoAboutIt.