FP Journe Octa Lune
The FP Journe Octa Lune may not be the Maison’s most complicated timepiece but it delivers a heady mix of readability, understated and refined aesthetics and a movement brimming with horological rectitude. Angus Davies freely admits he is smitten with this paragon of watchmaking excellence.
This detailed review of the FP Journe Octa Lune includes live images, specification details and pricing.
I am mindful that I possess a strong Lancastrian accent. The first time I ventured ‘down south’ to London and mingled with its inhabitants, I was painfully aware that my broad accent was unintelligible to the locals. Ever since, I have reserved my Lancashire dialect for conversations with friends at home. I have always retained my regional accent but strived to enunciate each word slowly. The importance of imparting information to others cannot be underestimated.
In the elevated world of high-end watchmaking where the air is thin and few exist, FP Journe is a horological aristocrat. Its breeding ensures only the finest practises are observed. Timepieces are painstakingly crafted by the most accomplished watchmakers, using the best materials. Many of the brand’s watches feature cases formed of precious metals, gold movements and peerless finishing. However, perhaps most of all, an FP Journe watch has the capacity to articulate the time with notable clarity.
The FP Journe Octa Lune is an exemplar of horological eloquence. In 2015, the watch was subject to a sympathetic makeover, retaining the handsome appearance of its forebears, while augmenting the legibility of the time and date indications. A recent visit to the FP Journe Atelier on Rue de l’Arquebuse in Geneva, provided the perfect opportunity to appraise the Octa Lune at close quarters.
The dial of the FP Journe Octa Lune segregates each indication from its neighbouring function. By adopting this approach, the mind can absorb information in digestible portions, aiding interpretation.
The hours and minutes are presented on an off-centre dial, presented in white. The surface of the dial has a granular texture and the hours are denoted with silver-hued Arabic numerals in relief. Encircling the dial is a chemin de fer, again employing Arabic numerals. The hour and minute hands sport sinuous sides and feature pointed tips which enunciate the time with matchless clarity.
Resembling a Venn diagram, the small seconds display overlaps the hour and minutes indication. The appearance of the small seconds display repeats the design language of its conjoined neighbour, providing a welcome dose of cohesion. The crisp strokes on the minuterie continue across the face of the small seconds display, ensuring readability is upheld.
At 11 o’clock, a large date display proclaims meaning unequivocally. Two discs, featuring blue numerals, collaborate seamlessly, indicating the prevailing date intelligibly. Nearby, at 9 o’clock, a blued hand arcs upwards as the energy stored within the spring barrel increases.
A moon phase indication is located at 8 o’clock. A silvery moon is depicted against a starry blue sky. In truth, I struggled to capture the vibrancy of the display with my camera and suggest the brand’s images provide a more realistic depiction of the moon phase indication.
FP Journe offer the watch in a choice of platinum or 18-carat red gold cases, with either a red or white gold and silver dial. The watch described herein is the platinum option with a white gold and silver dial. I can attest its beautiful appearance supplants most horological suitors.
The prestigious Maison has chosen to offer the FP Journe Octa Lune in a choice of 40 and 42mm case options. The platinum model pictured in this review is 42mm in diameter and would be my preferred version.
Platinum befits this watch. Its muted tone is consistent with the tastefully restrained styling of the FP Journe Octa Lune. Platinum is far more scarce than gold, imbuing this timepiece with a high quotient of exclusivity. Its silvery-white tone and highly lustrous appearance differentiate it from white gold. Moreover, its extraordinary density endows the watch with an agreeable mass.
There is a welcome absence of flamboyance with the FP Journe Octa Lune. Its styling is agreeably restrained. The case sidesteps gimmicks or fussy details. It is suffused with gently curving lines. Even the crown is beautifully detailed with a rope-like motif and two dimples on its vertical flank. The hours, minutes, date and moon phase indication can all be adjusted by the crown. There is a welcome absence of caseband correctors.
The caseback is fitted with a large pane of sapphire crystal, affording splendid views of the self-winding movement.
The Calibre 1300.3 is presented in 18-carat rose gold. FP Journe seem obsessed with making life difficult for themselves. Gold is a challenging material to work with. It is incredibly soft and can be marked with one wayward glance of a tool. However, a key benefit of gold is that it is the most non-reactive metal, meaning it is not liable to corrosion or tarnish.
One lone barrel delivers 160 hours (±12 hours) of autonomous operation. This is a prodigious power reserve and is attributable to the large barrel containing a 1 metre long mainspring. Ordinarily, this could lead to a reduction in torque as the force serving the balance diminishes, however, typical of the fastidious François-Paul Journe and his eponymous company, this potential obstacle has been surmounted.
The oscillating weight is made of 22-carat gold and adorned with a guilloché motif. Unusually, the rotor is unidirectional. In the accompanying instruction booklet for the watch, Journe explains that the low torque of the mainspring facilitates ‘extremely fast automatic winding’, granting an incredibly efficient winding system.
The FP Journe Octa Lune is a ‘precision chronometer’, a fact stated clearly on the movement. There are numerous examples of the company’s obsession with accuracy. The free sprung balance offers superior precision to a balance equipped with a simple curb adjuster. In the case of the balance fitted to the Calibre 1300.3, the balance spring is not pinched at any point, allowing it to breathe freely, delivering superior isochronism. The four spokes of the balance wheel are fitted with masselottes, C-shaped weights, that can be rotated to adjust the moment of inertia and, by default, the rate. A free sprung balance is more challenging to realise, but Journe has never shied away from challenges when they confer advancement.
When it comes to the Calibre 1300.3, flawless finishing is omnipresent. The bridges are adorned with circular Côtes de Genève and feature radiant bevelled edges. Jewel and screw sinks are highly polished. The screws sport polished heads and crisp chamfered slots. The various pegs punctuating the bridges feature polished rounded ends and gleam resplendently.
I have studied this movement closely and can readily discern its horological propriety. Quite simply, its excellence is palpable.
FP Journe craft the exquisite Tourbillon Souverain and its sibling, the Souveraine Ringtone endowed with a ‘Grande et Petite Sonnerie’. These watches represent the pinnacle of watchmaking. By comparison, the FP Journe Octa Lune is simple, however, in my opinion that is its principal attraction.
Each indication is discrete, allowing the wearer to interpret the information presented without any distraction. The dial has a pure, elegant appearance. Indeed, there is nothing contentious or vulgar about this watch. The case is smooth, sinuous and softly spoken, courtesy of its silver-hued torso.
The gold movement is embellished with sublime finishing. Moreover, the prodigious power reserve, the ‘precision chronometer’ status and the free sprung balance distinguish this movement as special. However, the most impressive aspect of the Calibre 1300.3 is its 18-carat gold movement. It demonstrates FP Journe’s desire to imbue each of its watches with notable longevity, a refreshing alternative to today’s throwaway society.
The FP Journe Octa Lune converses with the fortunate wearer clearly. It does not have an annoying accent or an indecipherable dialect. Its means of imparting information is seemly and becoming. However, despite this watch’s clear and understandable voice, it is recognisably a product of Geneva and the talented watchmakers who diligently work at FP Journe.
- Model: FP Journe Octa Lune
- Reference: LN
- Case: Platinum PT950; diameter 42mm; height 10.07mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; large date; power-reserve indicator; moon-phase indication.
- Movement: Calibre 1300.3; automatic movement; frequency 21,600 VpH (3Hz); 37 jewels; power reserve = 160 hours ±12 hours
- Strap: Black leather strap paired with a platinum pin buckle
- Price: CHF 49,900 (RRP as at 17.12.2018)