The Octa Automatique (or as it used to be called, the Octa Réserve de Marche) was the first automatic winding watch produced by Montres Journe, and just the third piece in the collection of the brand. The model was introduced in 2001, and as one might expect from an exacting man like Journe, he didn’t take the task of creating an automatic movement lightly. Journe wanted the watch to be practical and thus have a long power reserve, but he didn’t want it to suffer the downside usually associated with a long power reserve, which is poor precision. “Achieving a long power reserve and high precision at the same time is a very difficult task. One method of achieving a long power reserve is to have a very small balance wheel that doesn’t use much energy, but a small balance wheel isn’t very precise. So a large balance wheel, with it’s high moment of inertia is desired, but that means to have a long power reserve, you need a spring with lots of power in it. If you have a very strong mainspring, it tends to not delivery power very linearly. How to solve this conundrum? Journe realized the best solution was to work on the mainspring itself. He worked closely with the firm Generale Ressort to create a mainspring that was very long and very supple. The result is a mainspring that is 1 meter long and 1 mm thick which has very little torque so it can deliver power linearly. The mainspring is used in conjunction with a large 10.1 mm diameter balance wheel to ensure stability. It was no small task, but in the end Journe was satisfied with the result.”1
This particular example here has several things going for it: it’s in excellent condition, it’s a full box and papers set, and it has the desirable yellow gold dial. That dial was only made on this watch for about 4 years, and then it was discontinued.
As a sidebar on Journe’s yellow gold dials, there is a bit of misinformation about them. Here are some facts – they were only made until about 2005, they were only made with brass movements, they are only found in platinum cases, and they are only found in 38mm sizes. There may be a handful of watches that are legitimate exceptions to these rules, but I mean literally a handful.
In the world of F.P. Journe collecting, there are a lot of fans of the yellow gold dials because they are the embodiment of the company’s early collection. They are the dials that the company often used to display the models in the early days, and they were only made until 2005, so numbers are relatively low. Also they look good, and an offset subdial with a yellow gold dial is a pretty iconically Journe look…it’s part of the brand’s DNA.
This watch comes with inner “presentation” box, outer box, original “credit-card style” guarantee card, instruction book, and polishing cloth, so a full kit.
F.P. Journe Octa Automatique
Case: Platinum, 38mm with sapphire exhibition case back
Movement: Caliber 1300
Dial: Yellow gold dial
Condition: Watch is in excellent condition
Includes: Box, certificate, and manual. See photos for more details.
1 – Excerpted from the book F.P. Journe: The First 30 Years by Kiran Shekar.
This desire for an F.P. Journe watch stems from the fact that Journe is quite simply considered one of the very top watchmakers alive today. Max Büsser, founder of the watch company MB&F said of Journe, “François-Paul is in my opinion the heir to Abraham-Louis Breguet. He has managed over the last twenty-five years to master and synthesize the past with the future of watchmaking. Locked in his head are quantities of projects that will amaze the connoisseurs.”