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F.P. Journe Octa Chronograph Luxury Watch Review

http://www.thewatchbox.com The F.P. Journe Octa Chronograph is a hardcore connoisseur's watch. At 38mm in platinum with a yellow gold dial and a brass movement, this is a hand-crafted masterpiece, a rare investment opportunity, and a modern icon all in one. Discontinued long ago and already an auction house darling in its second decade of life, this Octa Chronograph with brass movement commands the kind of enthusiast respect usually reserved for Paul Newman Rolex Daytonas and prewar Jaeger-Lecoultre Reversos. In order to understand the F.P. Journe Octa Chronograph, it is essential to understand the name on the dial. F.P. Journe ranks among the few watchmakers to have achieved legendary status within his own lifetime. French by birth, essentially self-taught, and initiated into watchmaking by way of pocket watch restoration, F.P. Journe absorbed the look, feel, and romance of 19th century Parisian watchmaking long before he entered the modern Swiss wristwatch arena. As a result of his unique professional journey, F.P. Journe invests each of his watches with a unique look and feel that straddles two worlds; vintage pocket watches, and modern high horology wristwatches. The Octa Chronograph exhibits the best of both inspirations. Despite his towering reputation, F.P. Journe only established his eponymous manufacture in 1999. In 2001, the Octa, Journe's first line of automatic watches, was unveiled to intense public acclaim, and the Octa Chronograph was the brightest star in the Octa constellation. The F.P. Journe Octa Chronograph was available with a suite of options that permitted each buyer to tailor his order. This example features the more traditional 38mm case (Journe's preference), the rare yellow gold dial inserts, and the platinum case (rose gold was an option). While this combination is uncommon, a full brass movement is the real distinction that sets this example apart from its elite company. F.P. Journe only offered brass movements from 1999 to 2004, and this period coincides with an exceptionally low annual production rate; Journe's small shop was anything but an industrial concern. As a result, it is estimated that fewer than 2,000 brass movement F.P. Journe timepieces were built. Given the fact that the Octa line only emerged in 2001 and the uncommon yellow gold dial of this Octa Chronograph, its rarity becomes self-evident. Calculated asymmetry is the rule for an F.P. Journe dial, and it's present in force on this Octa Chronograph. The off-center civil time shares shoulder room with the 60minute subdial at nine o'clock. A grande date with double-digit display floats amid the yellow gold plane at 11. Both of the sandblasted yellow gold inserts are framed by polished white gold surrounds, and the silvered dial features subtle cross-hatched guilloche beneath each dial. F.P. Journe's caliber 1300 in-house automatic caliber resides in glory beneath the sapphire case back. Its ample 30mm diameter fills the platinum case, but the exquisitely guilloched (clous de Paris) 22 karat winding rotor is slightly smaller than the case... and slightly off center by design. Moreover, the anglage or camfer of each bridge features a slight rusticated treatment. Rather than polish each angle to a mirror's gleam, the evidence of the artisan's file is left intact to highlight the role of human hands in the creation of each movement. As with the dial, Journe's unique aesthetic sensibility defines the character of his movement. In terms of engineering, the caliber 1300 leaves nothing to be desired. A free-sprung escapement oscillates at 21,600 VpH, and the 120-hour power reserve ensures ample autonomy for those who rotate between watches on a daily basis. The flyback chronograph operates with a fluid ease that recalls the silken pusher feel often cited in true haut-de-gamme models such as the Patek Philippe 5170 and the A. Lange & Sohne Datograph. Exceptionally rare, individualist in the extreme, and already a coveted collector's watch, the F.P. Journe Octa Chronograph justifies its mounting reputation as a modern grail and instant classic. See this F.P. Journe Octa Chronograph in high-resolution images on www.thewatchbox.com. Video and content by Tim Mosso