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F.P. Journe and Holland & Holland: a partnership of...
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F.P. Journe and Holland & Holland: a partnership of distinction

Tuesday, 17 October 2017
By The FHH Journal editors
The FHH Journal editors

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4 min read

Both manufacturers share common values of excellence, exquisite craftsmanship and a love of beautiful objects. Their collaboration has produced two limited editions of the F.P. Journe Chronomètre Holland & Holland, comprising 66 unique pieces in total.

Both have produced outstanding art objects for decades, each in their own field. Their highly specialized craftsmen have spent endless hours making and shaping each component. These skilled professional polishers, decorators and engravers, fine wood and precious metal specialists, lacquerers, precision mechanics and watchmakers all perform their tasks tirelessly and meticulously until they attain perfection.
The conception of an F.P.Journe watch can take a minimum of three years; the making of a bespoke Holland & Holland gun can take up to two years, during which time the client can choose each part of his new gun.

© F.P. Journe & Holland & Holland
© F.P. Journe & Holland & Holland

The meeting between Holland & Holland with F.P.Journe could only result in a common project in partnership. It immediately sparked the desire to produce something unique for a special occasion. Over time, the project has evolved, notably thanks to the discovery of two antique and rare Damascus steel Holland &Holland guns. Each one is over one hundred years old, and the knowhow that went into making them has been since forgotten.

Always in the search for something exceptional, unique and innovative, F.P.Journe immediately saw the possibility of including these barrels in a unique watch series with a powerful reference to ancient traditions dating back to 1850.

Excerpts from the Holland & Holland archives books dating 1860 to 1890 featuring Damascus gun barrels No. 1382 and 7183 © Holland & Holland
Excerpts from the Holland & Holland archives books dating 1860 to 1890 featuring Damascus gun barrels No. 1382 and 7183 © Holland & Holland

For their part, Holland & Holland was attracted by the idea of allowing two of their museum barrels of over hundred years old to be used to make magnificent haute horology F.P.Journe timepieces. The two barrels were registered by hand in the company’s books. Barrel No. 1382, dating to 1868, yielded 38 dials, while barrel No. 7183, dating to 1882, produced 28 dials.

About Holland & Holland

Holland & Holland have been at the peak of British gun-making for over a century, but the roots of the company are rather unconventional. The founder, Harris Holland, happened to be a fine competition pigeon shot and he started having his guns built to order in the 1840s. By 1850, he became a “gunmaker” and opened a workshop under the name “H. Holland”. His successes in the pigeon ring continued to be reported in the press and business flourishes. With expansion came a move from King Street to Bond Street, in the heart of the fashionable Mayfair district in London.

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The idea was to use bars of two or more different types of steel, or iron steel, one having less carbon content, and forge them together into a single bar. This was done by heating, twisting and hammering as needed, and then folding the bar, hammering and forging it again.

In 1860, his nephew Henry William Holland joined the company as an apprentice. He would become an inventive genius and gifted businessman, helping to drive his uncle’s firm forward. He lodged the first of the company’s fifty-one patents in 1861 and became a partner in 1876, thereby creating “Holland & Holland”. As the nineteenth century progressed, the company prospered. On the way, it won all classes in the 1883 rifle trials held by The Field magazine and picked up Royal Warrants from the King of Italy and King George V, among others. In 1885, the name “Royal” was adopted for the firm’s best guns.

In 1893, Holland & Holland built their first factory, which was soon replaced, in 1895, by the one currently operating in Kensal Green. Innovation continued with the introduction of the “Paradox” jungle gun in 1885 and the famous .375 H&H Magnum in 1912. In 1930, chairmanship passed to Col. Jack Holland, who opened the current shooting grounds in Northwood and saw the company through the difficult years of the Great Depression, World War Two, and the austerity that followed.

In the second half of the twentieth century, Holland & Holland maintained its position as one of the world’s best gun makers, moving to Bruton Street and introducing the “Products of Excellence” concept, which set a new standard for fine presentation-grade guns and rifles and introduced a new calibre, the .700 Nitro Express.

In recent years, new models have joined the range, like the “Sporting” over-and-under shotgun and the “Round Action” shotgun and rifle. Today, Holland & Holland continues to lead the field as a traditional gun maker with a thoroughly modern outlook and catering to the world’s most discerning sportsmen.

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