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 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 Octa Lune
The Octa movement was introduced in 2001, becoming the third ever caliber developed by François-Paul Journe, following the Tourbillon Souverain and the Chronomètre à Résonance. It was also the first automatic mechanism designed by the brand, which would go on to power a range of different complicated watches. The Octa Réserve de Marche and the Octa Lune were the first two to be released, marking the manufacture's first steps into automatic pieces.
Two years after the movement was first developed, F.P. Journe introduced the Octa Lune, which was produced between 2003 and 2014, with less than 800 cases believed to have left the manufacture. For the first two years, the movements were made out of brass, before they transitioned to rose gold. This change is understood to have occurred in 2004, once the brand was sufficiently developed to further their manufacturing processes and move away from brass. This particular example features a "20X-L" serial number on the caseback.
A transitional example
With this introduction, all existing movements were issued with new caliber codes. In the case of the Octa Series, this caliber was referred to as 1300-2, indicating the second version of the movement. It’s believed that very few 1300-2 movements were made, during a short transitional period. Consequently, it makes these rarer than many of the first generation brass-movement pieces. You can read more about this in The Journe Guy’s in-depth study.
The Octa Lune 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 Lune series show very little alteration throughout the rose gold movement period, some earlier examples still retain the two-tone silvery sub-dial - a feature which is typically only found on Journe's earliest wristwatches.
The words "Phases de Lune" are inscribed below the moonphase indicator, following the curvature of the aperture. This is mirrored by the words "Invenit et Fecit", which are found below the power reserve - Latin for "Invented and Made" or, more literally, "Designed and built by F.P. Journe" – a nod to signing conventions from 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 earlier pieces.
The self-winding F.P. Journe caliber 1300-2 movement is made from solid rose gold, including the bi-directional rotor in 22K rose gold. The bi-directional winding rotor was later changed in subsequent calibres, in favour of uni-directional winding, making it a feature of only the early brass and rose gold movement pieces.
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 with "Exclusive Power Reserve System" and "Precision Chronometer".
The development of the movement was a prolonged process, with the main task being to refine 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 1300-2 also integrates a power reserve of 120 hours.
This 38mm F.P. Journe Octa Lune is accompanied by its original outer box and inner wooden box. It also comes with its warranty card, which is dated September 2006. It comes on one of our bespoke straps (with curved ends), along with an F.P. Journe alligator strap and platinum deployant clasp. A complimentary service with F.P. Journe in Paris is also included.
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