F. P. Journe
Octa Réserve de Marche | 38mm | Platinum
This Octa Réserve de Marche is one of the earliest pieces produced by the watchmaker. From 2001, it dates back to the model's first year of production , displaying a range of distinctive features, such as the straight-line Côtes de Genève on the movement and shimmery white gold dial. Accompanied by its outer box, inner wooden box and warranty card, it also comes with a complementary service through F.P. Journe.
The Dawn of Montres Journe
Prior to launching his own brand, Francois-Paul Journe had already proven his skill as a talented watchmaker. Having spent time restoring clocks and pocket watches from the likes of Janvier and Breguet, he had also completed complex commissions for Asprey and Cartier, among others. In his own time, the young watchmaker had also already assembled a pocket watch integrating a tourbillon, by following the writings of George Daniels, as well as a handful of prototype wristwatches integrating a tourbillon and remontoir d’égalité systems. However, Journe had not yet established his own brand, lacking the capital to do so.
One day, while out to lunch, his friend Camille Berthet suggested a subscription model. The idea was simple; a few trusting clients would have put the money forward for a watch that was yet to be made. In exchange for this good faith, they would receive a 50% reduction on its retail value, allowing the watchmaker to raise just enough money to start the production of pieces under his own eponymous brand. The project behind the Souscription Tourbillon was born, with twenty close clients and friends of the watchmaker committing a deposit, sight unseen. These early wristwatches became the foundation of the F.P. Journe manufacture we know today.
The Birth of the Octa
The Octa Réserve de Marche was the first automatic movement developed and produced by François-Paul Journe. The watchmaker 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. He achieved in doing so, hence why all the movements in the Octa line, from the Octa Chronographe to the Octa Calendrier, all share the same dimensions, no matter what complication they hold. That base caliber birthed a whole collection of complicated watches, which endure to this day.
The first step in this journey was the Octa Réserve de Marche, introduced in 2001. Only two years after establishing his own eponymous brand, this was the third watch released by François-Paul Journe, following the Tourbillon Souverain and the Chronomètre à Résonance. Combined, these three models represent the watchmaker's earliest brushstrokes and the foundation for the brand he would build over the following decades.
An early example
Between 2001 and 2003, it is estimated that F.P. Journe produced between 459 and 530 Octa Réserve de Marche watches with brass movements, before transitioning to rose gold movements. One of the main distinguishing traits found in these brass movement pieces is the use of rounded Côtes de Genève on most models, with a small handful displaying straight line Côtes de Genève. The straight line finishing only seems to feature on the first batch of models produced in 2001, making these all the more elusive and desirable.
Though it is unconfirmed exactly how many straight-line movements were produced, the highest number to have appeared is within the 13X/01A range. It is therefore estimated that around 110 straight-line calibres were produced and cased (excluding numbers 1 to 20, which were made later). This specific Octa Réserve de Marche belongs to that batch of early pieces with straight-line Côtes de Genève.
The Octa Réserve de Marche builds on the aesthetic cues cemented by the Tourbillon Souverain and the Chronomètre à Résonance. The dial design integrates a masterful use of asymmetry and empty space, achieving a layout that is both refined and legible. Though the dials of the Octa Réserve de Marche series show very little alteration throughout the brass movement period, some earlier examples carry a higher shimmer and texture, which can be found on this specific example.
The asymmetric dial is delicately textured, with a separate silver guilloché dial for the hours and minutes. The words "Invenit et Fecit" are inscribed below the power reserve - Latin for "Invented and Made" or more literally "Designed and built by F.P. Journe" - in classic F.P. Journe style, a nod to signing conventions of a century ago. At nine o’clock, a power reserve indicator of 120 hours is also shown. The classic 38mm case is another reminder of this being one of the watchmaker's earliest pieces.
The self-winding F.P. Journe caliber 1300 movement is made entirely from rhodium-plated brass save for one component, the bi-directional rotor in 22K rose gold. This is a logical choice for many watchmakers, for a rotor with a high karat gold count has a significantly higher mass than other materials such as brass or stainless steel.
It features Côtes de Genève embellishments, constructed with 32 jewels and a shock absorber mechanism. It also integrates a straight-line lever escapement, and monometallic 4-arm balance with 4 timing weights, adjusted to 5 positions. The movement is engraved "Exclusive Power Reserve System" and "Precision Chronometer".
The development of the movement was a prolonged process, with the main task being refining the mainspring to a point where it gave consistent power to the gear train, for as large a proportion of its unwinding as possible. Together with a specialist spring maker, Journe finally settled on a design that was a metre long and 1mm thick. This caliber 1300 also integrates a power reserve of 120 hours, which was still the largest that had ever been put into a wristwatch at the time.
This 38mm F.P. Journe Octa Réserve de Marche is accompanied by its original smaller-sized outer box and inner wooden box, which is only found alongside the earliest pieces from the brand. It also comes with its warranty card, which displays the watch's unique serial number, date of purchase and retailer stamp. It comes on one of our Stockholm straps, as well as an F.P. Journe alligator strap and platinum buckle.
Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.
To find out more about François-Paul Journe and his early pieces, you can read our Collector's Guide to early F.P. Journe.
|Brand:||F. P. Journe|
|Model:||Octa Réserve de Marche|
|Movement:||mechanical automatic cal. 1300|
|Functions:||date, hours, minutes, sub-seconds|
|Features:||power-reserve indicator, display-back, brass movement, steel blue hands|
|Crystal:||sapphire front & back|
|Strap:||Stockholm strap, F.P. Journe alligator strap, platinum buckle|
|Box & papers:||outer box, inner box, warranty card
As there are some inconsistencies with the setting of the date wheel, as is often found on these early examples, it is offered with a complimentary service from F.P. Journe, organised through the Paris boutique. It is guaranteed for authenticity from A Collected Man.
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