New Watch! • 08 Nov 2018

F.P. Journe’s Unique Rattrapante for Ball in Monaco

by Cait Bazemore


In 2006, Prince Albert II of Monaco established his namesake foundation. The charity serves to protect the environment, encourage sustainable development, and promote equitable management of natural resources. In twelve years, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has funded more than 420 projects focused on the world’s three major environmental issues: climate change, biodiversity, and water.

The Ball in Monaco 2018

Every other year, the foundation organises a fundraising gala dinner to benefit the charity’s efforts. 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Singapore branch of the foundation. Once again, they will host the exclusive gala at the iconic Marina Bay Sands, the official venue of the event for the past four Ball in Monaco.

This year’s ten-year anniversary soiree will be particularly exceptional. In addition to a fireworks display, giant birthday cake, and 3-D photo booth of the logo, the Grand Ballroom in Marina Bay Sands will recreate the palace in Monaco. Special guests will include Prince Albert II of Monaco himself as well as the guest of honour, Masagos Zulkifli bin Masagos Mohamad, Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

The culinary team at Adrift by David Myers will design this year’s flavour-forward, modern Asian menu. Plus, this year’s charity auction will feature two particularly spectacular items. First, contemporary art lovers can bid on the Balloon Dog sculpture by renowned artist Jeff Koons. Then, racing fans can bid on a trip to the Monaco Grand Prix Formula One in 2019. This extravagant voyage is all-inclusive. It consists of business class plane tickets provided by Air France, four nights at the Fairmont Monte Carlo Hotel, a reception at the Prince’s Palace, and admission to the Automobile Club of Monaco Gala Dinner.

The Limited Edition F.P. Journe Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante

Yet, of all the remarkable elements set for the 2018 Ball in Monaco, one of the most exciting is sure to be the auction of the limited edition watch created specifically for the event. High-end watch manufacturer F.P. Journe and The Hour Glass designed this exclusive version of their Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante. Bidding has started on this one-of-a-kind timepiece and will end the night of the gala on November 9th. What sets this exceptional variation apart from the original is the blue dial with Oracle Bone Script numerals chronicling The Passage of Time.

Oracle Bone Script is one of the oldest known forms of Chinese writing. As the name indicates, these ancient characters were carved on animal bones in the late second millennium BCE. Chinese scholar Wang Yirong was the first to identify the symbols on oracle bones as a form of writing in the late 1800s. In 1908, philologist Luo Zhenyu picked up Yirong’s work. He discovered a source of thousands of bones outside the city of Anyang. Scholars believe these oracle bones were used to foretell the future during the last nine kings of China’s Shang dynasty, including predictions about weather, infrastructure, agriculture, the economy, and astronomical events. Researchers have deduced that diviners would heat the bones until cracks formed on the surface. Then, they would read the cracks to answer questions about the future. Finally, they would inscribe the answers to the questions on the bones themselves. There are estimated to be around 5,000 unique characters found on oracle bones, but scholars have only been able to translate around 2,000.

With the limited edition iteration of the Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante for the Prince Albert II Foundation, F.P. Journe flawlessly integrates Eastern design concepts and history with Swiss design and ingenuity. François-Paul Journe consulted with renowned scholars and scribes to re-imagine the numerals for the chronograph counters and hour-and-minute chapter rings with interpretations of the Oracle Bone Script that are as authentic as possible. Other design elements reflect the highest calibre Swiss watchmaking. The model features an oversized 44mm titanium case. It is paired with an assorted precious metal bracelet strap with matte finishing. Additionally, rubber inserts on the case and bracelet links help protect the watch from friction between the smooth surfaces. The limited edition Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante houses F.P. Journe’s new monopoussoir split-seconds chronograph movement in Aluminium alloy. It features an 80-hour power reserve and large date window on the dial. These two cultures coming together in one watch beautifully represents the symbiosis between the nations for a common cause: our planet.

The F.P. Journe Chronographs

The brand initially released the Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante at the annual SIHH exhibition in January 2018. F.P. Journe based the model on the Monopusher Split-Seconds Chronograph sold at the yearly Only Watch Charity Auction in 2017. The brand specifically designed the Calibre 1517 movement for the auction item, marking the creation of their first spilt-seconds chronograph.

Like the Only Watch model, the key feature of the Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante is its impressive split-seconds chronograph movement: the Calibre 1518. The split-seconds mechanism is particularly useful in timing two events. Unlike a typical chronograph, it features two sweep seconds hands. Activating the chronograph function simultaneously starts both hands. Once the first timed interval completes, the wearer engages the pusher to stop one hand while the other continues timing the second interval. After the wearer records the time, he can engage the pusher again to make the stopped hand “catch up” to the running hand. The wearer can then repeat this process as many times as necessary. Throughout the process, the two hands overlap then split when one stops, which gives the mechanism its name.

Though the split-seconds complication is a relatively new addition to the manufacturer’s catalogue, F.P. Journe’s history of chronograph watches extends a bit further. Their first was the Centigraphe Souverain, which they debuted in 2016. The incredibly unique model features three large sub-dials with time scales in red and tachometer scales in black. These can measure elapsed times from a 100thof a second to ten minutes. What is particularly impressive about the function is its ability to split hundredths of a second with a patented and specially configured 3Hz movement. In addition, sales of the model, as well as the recently released Centigraph Sport and Octa Sport, help support the ICM Institute for Brain and Spinal Cord in Paris.

Bidding is active as we speak: https://fund-well.com/product/f-p-journe-watch/ 


Cait Bazemore

Cait is a New York based writer and founder of Grey Ghost, a boutique marketing agency. After setting up shop in 2013, her first client happened to be in the watch industry. She’s since become a watch nerd with an immense knowledge of the industry and a passion for watches.


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