FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018

The FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018 blends traditional Swiss craftsmanship, technical virtue and modern design. In a world where standards seem to wane and everything is ‘dumbed-down’, Angus Davies discovers a haven of excellence, alive and well in Geneva.

This detailed review of the FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018 includes live images, specification details and pricing.

FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018

Language evolves over time. Some words which were widely used in the 19th century are now no longer employed. In recent times, the beauty of the English language has been diminished with the shift to an informal patois. Many middle-class teenagers choose to converse using a ‘gangsta rap’ lexicon. Sentences are now populated with abbreviations, jargon and monosyllabic grunts. The fact is, standards have dropped in the pursuit of haste and perceived ‘coolness’.

Fast foods are widely consumed. The ubiquitous ‘drive-thru’ often serves fatty and sugary foods which are lacking in creativity and flavour and expeditiously produced. The notion of wholesome food is becoming increasingly alien to the teenagers of today.

Now, there are so-called ‘smart’ watches which purport to be timepieces, but in reality are wrist-worn electronic gadgets. They are devoid of craftsmanship and mechanical virtue, fulfilling a need rather than indulging a passion.

Thankfully, in terms of haute horlogerie, there are some companies which continue to uphold traditional techniques and reject mediocrity. One such company is FP Journe, a bastion of excellence. This company makes no concessions to haste. Skills and creativity abound. Indeed, no compromise horology flourishes at Rue de l’Arquebuse, Geneva, the home of this remarkable Maison.

Recently, FP Journe unveiled two new timepieces, the Centigraphe Sport and the Octa Sport 2018. In due course, I will review the Centigraphe Sport, however, for now, my focal point in this review is the FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018.

The dial

While FP Journe timepieces are endowed with traditional finishing, the new Octa Sport Titanium 2018 evinces a high quotient of modernity. The yellow hue of the lacquered dial would not look out of place on a space-age supercar. Its bold, sporty epidermis brims with excitement. Indeed, this is a watch that stands out from the crowd with its vibrant tones and ebullient personality.

FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018

The hour and minute hands feature fine tips, curving sides and luminescent treatment. They exude grace while lucidly expressing meaning. Luminescent Arabic numerals indicate the hours, save for 6 o’clock where the index is supplanted by a small seconds display. Additionally, 12 luminescent points provide a secondary means of indicating the hour. A chemin-de-fer encircles the dial, proving ideal for reading off minutes.

FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018

A large date display resides at 1 o’clock. The expansive date is proclaimed in red text avec serifs and is framed with a black aperture. The clearance between the two date discs is minimal, fooling the observer into assuming there is only one date disc at play and, more pertinently, augmenting readability.

A small seconds display resides at 6 o’clock. A svelte red hand, equipped with an openworked counterweight, floats above a crisp white disc. A chemin-de-fer, similar in style to the aforementioned item gracing the main dial, aids read-off and upholds the design language employed elsewhere. A plate frames the small seconds display and is held in position with three screws.

The FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018 conjures thoughts of an octane-rich world. It therefore seems fitting that this watch is equipped with a fuel-gauge, or should I say, power-reserve indicator, positioned between 10 and 11 o’clock. On this display, a lone white hand collaborates with a crescent-shaped scale to advise the wearer of the energy held within the barrel.

Lastly, a day/night indicator sits at 9 o’clock. No doubt, this function will prove very useful to disorientated jet-lagged wearers.

The case

Measuring 44mm in diameter, the FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018 is a large watch. However, this confers one major benefit, namely the scale of the dial provides sufficient room for each indication to breathe. Nothing is squashed. Everything is highly legible.

FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018

The case is formed of titanium grade 5, but delivered in a handsome shade of anthracite. In addition, the case is enriched with rubber inserts, reinforcing the sporty temperament of the watch. By using titanium, this timepiece possesses a low-mass, granting sublime levels of wearer comfort.

The crown sits between 4 and 5 o’clock. Consistent with several other FP Journe models, it features a rope-like motif around its edge.

FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018

A slender, titanium and ceramic bezel frames the dial. Silver-toned numerals avec serifs are paired with a black background. The numerals standout and prove useful when reading off the minutes. The bezel is comparatively slim, allowing more space for the dial and, therefore, enhancing read-off.

FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018

To the rear of the watch is an exhibition case-back, providing sight of the Automatic Calibre FPJ 1300-3.

The movement

Unusually, the Automatic Calibre FPJ 1300-3 is made of aluminium alloy. This lightweight material endows this watch with a low mass, weighing a mere 75g.

FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018

While other brands use rhodium plated brass movements, FP Journe has always sought an arduous route to movement creation. The brand is synonymous with gold movements, a metal that is very soft. When using tools, one careless slip can lead to irreparable damage. However, the benefit of gold is that it will not corrode, proffering peerless longevity. Aluminium is also soft and, once again, is not susceptible to corrosion. 

Appraising the movement with a loupe brings matchless finishing to the fore. The oscillating weight is unidirectional and partly openworked. Both the oscillating rotor and the bridges are adorned with circular Côtes de Genève. The anglage is exemplary with each bevelled edge contrasting with the adjacent bridge surface. The mainplate is embellished with perlage with each pearl perfectly overlapping its neighbour by 50%.

The free-sprung balance features four masselottes, or inertia weights, one on each spoke of the balance wheel. By positioning the adjustable weights in-board there is less air turbulence, augmenting precision.

A balance fitted with a curb-adjuster nips the hairspring and the rate is adjusted by shortening or lengthening the effective length of the hairspring. However, with a free-sprung balance, the effective length of the hairspring remains the same. The rate is adjusted with the aforementioned inertia weights. This latter approach is technically superior as the hairspring breathes optimally, again aiding precision.

The frequency of the balance is 21,600 VpH (3Hz). The movement contains 40 jewels and the power reserve is sufficient to deliver 160 hours of autonomy (± 10 hours).

Closing remarks

The FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018 is conspicuously appointed. The modern vivid yellow dial shade and cheery red highlights crave attention. The chosen palette would befit a liveried race car. This overtness may dissuade some conservative souls from selecting this model, however, I adore its flamboyance. Moreover, those would-be buyers seeking more restraint are well served by this Maison’s conservatively styled offerings.

While FP Journe has crafted a supremely stylish watch it has not done so at the expense of practicality. Despite the boldness of the dial, all indications are simple to read. The large date display is a paragon of lucidity and the power-reserve indicator proves very useful.

The grade 5 titanium case assumes a deferential role to the prima ballerina yellow dial. Its anthracite tones are muted, allowing the dial to shine. The rubber inserts imbue the aesthetic appearance of the watch with a casual air, making the watch the ideal accompaniment to a jeans and polo shirt ensemble.

FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018

While the rubber confers a refreshing informality, the movement is an exemplar of horological rectitude. Every element is virtuous. No shortcuts are visible. The free-sprung balance, the aluminium alloy movement and the exacting finishing distinguish this watch as special.

Sadly, there are many examples in life where skills have been lost, where items are ‘dumbed-down’ or cynically ‘lifed’, annoyingly intended to fail at a future point. Our language, the food we eat and the electronic ‘gizmos’ we are meant to crave, fulfil an immediate need rather than sustaining our souls or enriching our lives.

Thankfully, there is another way. With the FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018, the Swiss firm shows that nothing has been made speedily or produced without due care. Everything is created for discerning clients who appreciate the work of talented artisans. Indeed, FP Journe, once again, demonstrates that its atelier is a bastion of excellence where the air is rich with creativity and perfection pervades the organisation. Long shall its reign continue.

Further reading

Technical specifications

  • Model: FP Journe Octa Sport Titanium 2018
  • Case: Titanium Grade 5 with rubber inserts; diameter 44mm; height 11mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds; day/night indicator; power-reserve indicator; large-date display
  • Movement: Calibre FPJ 1300-3; automatic movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 40 jewels; power reserve = 160 hours ± 10 hours
  • Bracelet: Titanium Grade 5 with rubber inserts
  • Price: CHF 36,000 including taxes (RRP as at 14.11.2018)

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