F. P. Journe Octa Réserve de Marche, Rose Gold

£153,000
Watchdrawer

An early example of F.P. Journe’s work, this Octa Réserve de Marche* features a lesser seen configuration of a white gold dial and rose gold case – the latter, a material rarely found within his early work. Another striking feature of this reference is the brass movement housed within it, further indication of where this piece sits within Journe’s body of work.

The idea behind the Octa

The Octa Réserve de Marche holds the first automatic movement developed and produced by Journe.

He approached the project very thoughtfully, displeased with a lot of the automatic movements that attempted to elongate their power reserve by simply making bigger main springs, or smaller balance wheels. These simple fixes ultimately led to a decrease in timing and performance.

However, this was not the only issue that Journe hoped to fix in the development of the movement. Another pet peeve of his was modular complications, which he often compared to making a sandwich. By adding layers to the base calibre, in order to achieve the desired dial configuration, the movement was made unnecessarily thicker.

However, this was not the only issue that Journe hoped to fix in the development of the movement. Another pet peeve of his was modular complications, which he often compared to making a sandwich. By adding layers to the base calibre, in order to achieve the desired dial configuration, the movement was made unnecessarily thicker.

What Journe aspired to do was create a base calibre that could hold all kinds of complications, without gaining a fraction of a millimetre in thickness or width. This is why all the movements in the Octa line we have today share the same dimensions, no matter what complication they hold. It is believed than another motivator for Journe was the fact that in the infancy of his brand, he did not have his own casemaker, so being able to order the same size of case for all his watches was much more practical and economical.

The earliest version of an Octa Réserve de Marche that is publicly known, is the prototype that was sold at Phillips last year. With the serial number “Proto/00A”, this is supposedly one of three prototypes made by Journe in 2000, all owned by members of the Montres Journe SA board.

By looking at auction records, the highest serial number we’re aware of that still contains a brass movement is 459-03A. We’ve also had the opportunity to privately handle an early 38mm rose gold movement example with a 52X-04A case number. Considering that it is believed that the serial numbers continued rather than resetting after the introduction of gold movements, this helps us estimate production numbers. This would suggest that between 459 and 530 brass movement Octa Réserve de Marche were ever produced (excluding three prototypes), before they were replaced with the rose gold movements partway through 2004.