F.P. Journe presented the first Octa Automatique in 2001, and the self-winding movement that eponymous founder Francois-Paul Journe developed for that seminal timepiece has undergone only three minor evolutions in the two decades since, testifying to its ingenious and durable design. Paying tribute to it is this week’s Watch to Watch, a special edition in a platinum case and a satin-finished yellow-gold dial.
Evoking nostalgia for the 2001 original, in addition to the dial, is the Caliber 1300.3 self-winding movement, here made of rhodium-plated brass, in contrast to the mostly gold-based calibers in contemporary F.P. Journe watches. The finish of the dial is also similar to the ones hand-applied by Francois-Paul Journe in the early days of his independent brand. The watch. The classically round case measures 40 mm in diameter, with sapphire crystals in the front and back and the hallmark, elegantly understated Journe crown.
The subtle changes to the dial from its 20-year-old ancestor include the placement of the power reserve indicator at 8:30, moved down slightly to accommodate the enlarged date window at 11:30, now spanning an area of 4.7 x 2.6 mm for greater legibility. The numerals on the off-center hours and minutes subdial are also subtly larger and more legible. The movement’s primary aesthetic update is its use of new, openworked bridges, a feature that the company says will now be standard on its 1300.3 calibers from 2021 forward. It also features unidirectional rather than bi-directional winding via its decorated 22k gold rotor, the most recent upgrade to the mechanism in the service of greater efficiency due to its more rapid tensioning of the barrel spring.
Limited to just 99 pieces, the Octa Automatique limited edition, priced at 56,000 Swiss francs, will be available at dedicated F.P. Journe boutiques and espaces. The model will later join the existing Octa Automatique collection as a model in 40-mm or 42-mm case sizes, in platinum or 18k gold, with dial options in gold and guilloché silver.