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The New F.P. Journe Vagabondage Is the Final Chapter for a Journe Deep Cut
Vagabondage I Gold, 18 years in the making
Last week, FP Journe announced the release of the new Vagabondage I Gold, calling it “the final chapter of a trilogy that started 18 years ago.”
As FP Journe himself relayed in a 2017 story to Revolution, the original idea for the Vagabondage came from a client in the 1990s. But it wasn't produced until 2004, when Journe created three unique examples for an Antiquoruom charity auction.
"Antiquorum approached me and asked me to create a special watch for their anniversary sale," Journe explained. The problem was Antiquorum gave Journe just six months to dream up a new watch. "It makes you wonder what sort of miracle they were hoping for me to accomplish. I had to resort to one of the many pieces that I had had to put in my drawer for one reason or another. It was then that I felt this was the right time to bring my watch with the vagabond hours out from my drawer and give it to the world."
Journe was able to produce three pieces for the auction — in white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold. In the tradition of early Journe, all featured brass movements. All three examples sold for more than CHF 60,000 at Antiquorum’s auction back in 2004.
Shortly after that auction, collectors started asking Journe to produce another run of the Vagabondage. The original plan was to make 66, but Journe said that a good client of his said to him: "but Francois, you know I always buy number 69 of your watches. You can't simply make 66." "What was I to do? I made 69 pieces," Journe said. "Of course, then I had everyone asking me why 69. And you know exactly why these people were asking." (Even ole FP loves a good 69 joke!) The limited-run of 69 pieces of the Vagabondage I featured a platinum case and rose gold caliber 1504 movement.
Vagabondage I-III have been released over the intervening years — Vagabondage II in 2010 and Vagabondage III in 2017 — so it's exciting to see the Tonneau-shaped wandering hours model being brought back again for one “final chapter” to complete the gold trilogy of the Vagabondage.
For 2022, Journe has introduced the Vagabondage I Gold, featuring an updated 1504.2 caliber.
“The first Vagabondage can be considered as a prototype at the time. We now have the experience to make a better, more reliable caliber and so the movement is a new and more updated movement compared to the first attempt. The first was Calibre 1504 and this new one is 1504.2,” Journe said.
According to Journe, this will be an application-only piece (like previous Vagabondages) priced at CHF 86,000, with priority given to collectors with matching serial numbers of the Vagabondages II and III in Gold.
This is certainly a niche piece, with long-time Journe collectors getting the first bite at the apple. And you’ve got to commend Journe for respecting its die-hards. It’s one of those watches that, unless you visit FP Journe, you might never even see IRL. That said, it’s one of those things I love just knowing exists. A real deep cut for those that love Journe.
And man, imagine what one of those original three Vagabondage I examples would get if they came to auction today.
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