THE RUTHENIUM COLLECTION
Early on in the life of the brand, five watches were chosen for the Ruthenium Collection, representing the latter part of F.P. Journe’s brass movement production. All the dials and brass movement plates were coated in ruthenium, a rare inert metal belonging to the platinum family. Due to its extreme hardness and insensitivity to oxidation, it is often used in electronics or aerospace engineering, though rarely ever included in watches.
All of the pieces from the collection are housed in a 40mm platinum case, which is larger than the usual 38mm size of the time. Limited to 99 pieces for each model, the Ruthenium Collection includes the Tourbillon Souverain, the Chronomètre à Resonance, the Octa Chronographe, the Octa Calendrier and the Octa Réserve de Marche Jour et Nuit. In total, 495 Ruthenium Collection pieces are understood to have been produced.
Interestingly, the Octa Jour et Nuit was only ever made for the Ruthenium Collection, making it all the more unusual. Indeed, it has no counterpart in normal production, making it one of the rarer complications produced by the watchmaker.
Aesthetically, the pieces from the Ruthenium Collection are rather distinctive. The dials feature the grainy texture and shimmer which has come to be associated with the early pieces, while at the same time offering the depth of a darker colour-tone, which is broadly absent from Journe’s production. Ruthenium has a complex colour, which varies depending on the angle and intensity of the light. The dials can go anywhere from a dark, charcoal colour to a lighter, smoke grey.
BUILDING ON THE OCTA FOUNDATION
While this piece is undeniably attractive, it is the movement that F.P. Journe is famed for. Since the introduction of the first Réserve de Marche in 2001, mechanical F. P Journe examples can be divided into two main movement types – the manually-wound Souverain and automatic Octa (Latin for "eight" or "infinite").
Each Octa movement is designed to incorporate fully-integrated complications within the same volume. Impressively, all variations within F. P Journe’s entire Octa collection are identical, both in diameter and thickness. This Octa Jour et Nuit builds on the movement of the Octa Réserve de Marche, with the incorporation of a day and night indicator below the power reserve.
Housed in a 40 mm dress watch case, the watch is made distinctive by the ruthenium coated dial. The charcoal grey surface is delicately textured, giving the dial a mixture of tones and added depth. The ruthenium plating reflects light differently, transitioning to a smokey, silver hue from different angles.
The words “Jour et Nuit“ are inscribed below the day and night indicator, along with "Invenit et Fecit" (Latin for “Invented and Made”) in the brand's classic style – the latter, a nod to signing conventions of a century ago. The signature F.P. Journe style hands form a distinct contrast to the silver and grey dial. Between eight and nine o’clock is a power reserve indicator of 120 hours, with a large date aperture above. Overall, the dial layout is clean and highly legible.
This automatic, self-winding F.P. Journe caliber 1300 movement is ruthenium-plated brass, with Côtes de Genève embellishments, constructed with 32 jewels and a shock absorber mechanism. It further features a straight-line lever escapement, and monometallic 4-arm balance with 4 timing weights, adjusted to 5 positions. It includes a self-compensating free-sprung flat balance spring, and an off-center bi-directional 22-carat gold guilloche rotor. The movement is engraved "Exclusive Power Reserve System" and "Precision Chronometer".
In 2004, Journe began manufacturing movements from 18-carat gold; however - interestingly - it is François-Paul Journe’s earliest brass-movement pieces that command more interest from collectors. It’s estimated that only 2,000 brass-movement examples were produced, across all lines, and were manufactured exclusively between 2001 and circa 2004. These earlier F. P Journe pieces are highly sought-after, owing to their placement within the brand’s history and rarity. The Ruthenium Series only enhances these qualities, using the light-absorbing dark metal to create a unique aesthetic.
Combining many of the most desirable aspects of F.P. Journe’s manufacture, the Ruthenium Octa Jour et Nuit continues to represent a rare opportunity to acquire an unusual piece in the history of the brand. Ninety-nine examples may have been produced, though only a handful of these have reached the market since, demonstrating the affection many owners of the series clearly have for the execution of these models. This particular example bears one of the first 20 numbers, making it one of the earlier pieces to be numbered in the production run.
This Limited Edition F. P. Journe Ruthenium Octa Jour et Nuit is accompanied by its original certificate of origin and instruction manual. It comes on one of our curved ended Stockholm grey grained leather strap and is also accompanied by its original alligator strap and platinum tang buckle.