21 December 2022


By In Brands, General, Richard Mille, Vacheron Constantin

Rally driver, Peugeot Talbot sport director, Ferrari F1 team principal, FIA president and a great watch enthusiast. This is Jean Todt one of the most important figures in the automotive industry which never ceased to amaze us with the watch he wears throughout the different occasions. His watch collection is very much linked to the motorsport world and includes beautiful, rare and even one-off commissioned timepieces from most Swiss maisons.

Lately some of his watch collection was up to sale: in fact, last 9th of November 2022 the well-known auction house Christie’s hosted an auction selling over 110 watches belonging to the FIA president. While people still wonder the reason behind the decision of selling part of his collection, there certainly were some peices that were most significant and stood off for sale. Here you can find a restricted selection of interesting timepieces that were auctioned.   

Richard Mille – RM 009

Since the beginning Richard Mille never stopped to amaze its fans around the world. While many critique its modern design, Richard Mille is surely known for its ability to combine the latest technology to special materials giving birth to literally pieces of art. Often Richard Mille strives to beat new world records with their latest models, this is the case of RM 009: the lightest tourbillon watch ever produced at the time (2005) limited to only 25 pieces.

Developed for the F1 driver and brand ambassador Felipe Massa, this watch stood out particularly because while at the time most maisons were looking to add weight to their pieces, Richard Mille worked in a nonconformist way to significantly reduce the watch weight. To achieve this record, the brand developed and produced a case made from ALUSiC (a special material used for satellites characterized by a high rigidity and exceptional wear resistance) combined with a first of its kind skeletonized aluminum-lithium movement. ALUSiC has in fact almost half of titanium’s density, more precisely we are talking about 2.95g/cm3. Within the 8 screws that close the bezel there is a manual winding movement, with 19 jewels and a mono-metallic balance rotating within a one-minute tourbillon carriage. Outstanding details, great emotions and many controversies: all within 29g of weight.

RM 009, Prototype n°3 – photo courtesy of watchesbysjx.com

Vacheron Constantin piece unique “Ferrari Enzo”

Whereas most of the watches show time with hands rotating in a circular motion, some watches benefit from having rare and artistic dials. This time we are talking about the Retrograde mechanic movement: firstly used by Breguet in the 18th century, it is an intricate movement in which the hands move counterclockwise as an arc, to then jump back to the beginning once the sequence is over. The movement name comes from astrophysics: in fact, the apparent retrograde motion is the apparent movement of a planet in an opposite direction to that of other bodies within the same system. The term come from the Latin word “Retrogradus” that means “backward step”. Maisons manufacture thiskind of movements to indicate the minutes, hours and days of the week, other to show the chronographer function, allowing watchmakers to play with configurations and create also bi or tri-retrograde dials.

A watch that surely gets the enthusiasts attention is this piece unique by Vacheron Constantin that utilizes the Retrograde function to display hours and minutes. The combination of Cloisonné enamel dial, depicting a red Ferrari Enzo, and the fancy movement is what truly stands out about this piece,  that was commissioned by Jean Todt back when he was Ferrari team principal. The 36mm case hosts an automatic movement with special 21K gold rotor, a skeletonized case back and the beautiful dial made by the exceptional craftsmanship in Vacheron’s ‘Metiers D’Art’ workshops.

HyperFocal: 0

F.P. Journe – Chronometre a Resonance

The last, but not the least beautiful, timepiece concerns  this stunning FP Journe Chronometre a Resonance. Firstly experimented by Breguet in the 19th century, the theory of resonance in watches includes using a two balance system that synchronize through the resonance phenomenon, allowing them to offsets any variation from the other and keep a much more stable rate. The proximity of the balances, favor the vibration waves to move through the main plate and influence the oscillation of the other balance by marginally shifting its period (Resonance is defined as phenomenon in which a vibrating system forces another system next to it to vibrate with greater amplitude at a specified frequency). Each helps the other to stay consistent and, due to resonance, offsets any variation from the other. It is worth noticing that if both balances are not adjusted to within five seconds per day of the same frequency in all positions, the two balances will not be in phase as the difference in frequency and the amount of phase shift will be too great for the energy transfer to shift the two balances.

The 40mm platinum case also includes the other highlight of this watch: the Ruthenium dial. Ruthenium-coated gold plate and then the remainder of the dial features a guilloché silver. The blued steel hands favor easy reading against the bright backgrounds and the case features a domed bezel and the lugs seamlessly integrate to the case, typical Journe style. At 12 o’clock we find the crown needed to adjusts the left dial by winding in one direction, and to adjust the right dial by winding in the opposite direction.

F.P. Journe, Chronometre a Resonance piece unique – photo courtesy of christies.com

Written by Matteo Marletto

Born in Genoa, since a young age he has been interested in the world of cars and horology, passions that he still cultivates and deepens to this day. Matteo is a great admirer of elegance and classicism, particularly of the vintage world and of gem setting. Nonetheless, he lately is very interested by the intricate complications and ground-breaking designs of independent watch makers.

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