Event

F.P.Journe exhibits its collection “Steel Time” - The largest historic collection of gunmetal watches from mid to late 19th Century - At The Forbes Galleries, 62 Fifth Avenue, New York - From 23 April to 15 September 2012.

F.P.Journe exhibits its collection “Steel Time”

At The Forbes Galleries, 62 Fifth Avenue, New York
From 23 April to 15 September 2012

The Watch Quote™ - April 19th, 2012



After Geneva and Tokyo, the renewed Forbes Galleries in New York at 62 Fifth Avenue will host the exhibition Steel Time, featuring the largest historic collection of gunmetal watches – burnished steel - a remarkable display of 200 watches made between 1850 and 1910. Each piece is unique in a variety of styles and techniques, but all have echoed in the wristwatches produced today.

The industry of laminated iron was one of the greatest adventures of the 19th century. Produced in large quantities as of 1845, the material was used in railways, bridges and towers. As the price of steel fell, it replaced iron in most industrial applications and made a dramatic entrance with the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1885, and the building of the Eiffel Tower in 1889. The metal thus became familiar to the general population, and widely accepted. The fashion spread to all walks of life, and not the least horology.

Gun metal watches develop shortly after the war of 1870 and paint a captivating picture of a new type of watch that was both egalitarian and fun! There was a considerable price difference between steel watches and those in gold, which gave steel watches the possibility to circulate freely without being subject to heavy taxation. The watch thus became generalised to all classes of society and led to the birth of the proletarian watch. This production was also greatly encouraged by the growth of the French metal industry, which resulted in the development of new methods of production and treatment of steel.

Numerous styles were designed in gun metal watches, sometimes with a plain case, sometimes adorned with two gilt metals applied on the bezel and to the edge of the case back. The dials could be in white or colored enamel, simply marked with the word Regulateur, or embellished with numbers painted on round flinqué enamel cartouches of various colors, and often depicted a locomotive, a ship or a car. Depending on the price, some offered a more complicated movement, with chronograph, alarm setting or striking mechanism, and others could offer world time indications. In creative hands, steel did much to popularize watches.

For many years, François-Paul Journe, a passionate and knowledgeable collector brought together this collection of singular gun-metal timepieces. He is the privileged guardian of this historical heritage and is proud to share this unique collection with the American public at The Forbes Galleries. The NAWCC (National Watch and Clock Museum) in Columbia, PA, is supporting this exhibition.

This magnificent collection was previously exhibited in the salon of F.P.Journe’s Manufacture in Switzerland and at the Embassy of Switzerland in Tokyo. It leaves the visitor with countless thoughts about the measurement of time and its evolution. It also helps understand why contemporary watchmakers like F.P.Journe continue to develop watch making as a science.


“Steel Time” the book,

is published by Montres Journe SA


F.P.Journe keeps this exhibition alive through a book entitled Steel Time, written by two outstanding experts, Jean Claude Sabrier and Georges Rigot. More than 300 fascinating pages cover the origin of these creations, sometimes going back to the 17th century. One seldom sees such a vivid and complete approach to quality watchmaking in precious-metal watches.

The preface, by François-Paul Journe, introduces the only steel watch in the F.P Journe -Invenit et Fecit- collection. Only a steel case can give the Sonnerie Souveraine chiming watch its crystal-clear sound. Otherwise the brand only uses only platinum or gold for its precious and elegant cases and 18K rose gold for all its movements.

The astounding Grande Sonnerie will be available to hear at the F.P.Journe Boutique, 721 Madison Avenue, 10065 New York, Tel. 01 (212) 644 5918.

The Limited English Edition and signed by F.P.Journe will available for sale at the Forbes Galleries Exhibition site for US$ 250.-

Watch with digital hour and minutes display on revolving chapter rings with sunshine decoration. Ø 50mm

Square watch with digital hour and minutes display and analogical subsidiary seconds. 52 x 52mm

Watch with wandering hour display, advertising Poulain cocoa. Ø 54mm

Hebdomas watch in a square strut type case with flinqué decoration and visible balance in its lower portion. 81 x 81mm

Grande Sonnerie, Royal presentation watch with chronograph, the back applied with a gold royal monogram,
surmounted with a crown. White enamel dial with chronograph scale and subsidiary seconds, gilt brass movement
with lever escapement. J. Pourrat & Fils, Genève. Ø 57mm

Watch based on Linghazi’s patent N° 33368, La Chaux de Fonds, circa 1905. Ø 53mm

Omega watch with gilt metal dial. Ø 44mm

Haas Neveux & Cie Compteur Lafond - a calculator with no timing mechanism. Ø 47mm

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