I recall my first trip to Geneva in 2016 and one evening I was sitting next to one of François-Paul’s good friends. We were in the middle of a conversation and I couldn’t help but notice (obviously) that he was wearing an early Resonance; very early since the dial had a very glamorous sheen to it. I asked the gentleman for a closer look and he took it off immediately and there I was, drooling over his watch.

The watch dial was a super shiny rose gold dial with a silvery set of subdials, cased up in a beautiful 38mm platinum case. One look at it and you could tell it has seen many years of wear and enjoyment and no surprise, the man confessed he was wearing it almost daily for nearly 16 years.

Anyhow, upon flipping over the watch I was flashed by a number that triggered my senses in an instant. The watch had a very early serial number being 22 but what shocked me was the second set of digits. N°022/99R.

A lovely movement but a curious serial on a shallow-engraved case

If you hadn’t yet picked up; during Journe’s early days of outsourcing cases, he would have the casemaker engrave the year of the case alongside the serial number. The example shown above denotes the 22nd Resonance case with a case ordered in 1999. The same formula can be applied for all Journe watches between 1999-2005. The reason behind this was that since the cases were ordered in batches; if something wrong were to happen (defects) then it would make it an easier task to pinpoint all the cases from a specific batch.

Keep in mind that even though the cases were ordered during a certain year, it does not necessarily mean the watch was produced that same year. A case ordered in 2002 (02) could have been used and delivered in 2002 or much later. Cases are made in chronological order but the production does not necessarily follow that line. However, the general idea is that this gives experts a closer idea to when the watch was made but again, not necessarily an accurate claim.

Do you spot the problem now? What if I remind you that the Resonance was released in 2000 and that the first 20 Souscription Resonance pieces all had cases ordered in 2000. Do you see the problem now?

The image played in my head for the next 9 months and it wasn’t until I was interviewing Mr. Journe on the subject of the Resonance that I later brought it up. He explained that he started to order the cases in 1999 but he had reserved the first 20 numbers as Souscription numbers. Thus, in the case of the Resonance, not only were the watches not made in order but the cases themselves were not ordered chronologically. His response when I had asked why he would do such a thing was simply, “there must always be anticipation.”

The shine of a super early dial

The following year I approached the collector for his permission to share photos of the watch and he gave me the green light under the belief that there is better joy to share than to hide. I thank him for the opportunity.

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