The F.P. Journe Octa Sport is among the least apologetic timepieces I have ever worn. What I mean is that you have a situation where the watch creator – Francois-Paul Journe – produces something arguably very strange, and feels no obligation to really explain its purpose to anyone. Only when you handle and wear the Octa Sport watch does it make sense to you. In a brand with so much focus on horological heritage and complication, the Octa Sport is the company’s very first sport watch.
F.P. Journe originally released the Octa Sport (Octa S) collection in about 2011-2012. The Octa Sport was one of two watches that would comprise F.P. Journe’s “LineSport” family, which includes the Octa Sport and the Centigraphe Sport. Each of these were variations on existing models (the Octa and Centigraphe), produced to be sportier. But what does “sportier” mean to someone like F.P. Journe?
That is a very good question. For Journe, sport meant being more lightweight. The watches are slightly shielded from abuse with the use of rubber bumpers, but in general, the Sport collection is about timepieces that weigh very little. So the implication is that in Francois-Paul’s opinion, a sport watch should not be big and bulky, but rather light and easy to forget on one’s wrist. It is an interesting take on the concept of a sport watch, and of course something that you really need to consider to appreciate, as the company doesn’t exactly communicate this fact.
More interesting is the material used to produce the Sport collection watches. The F.P. Journe Octa Sport watch as reviewed is produced from aluminum. Before I continue, it is important to say that, due to manufacturing issues and the difficulty in working with aluminum, the F.P. Journe Octa Sport collection will now be produced from titanium. There are some of the aluminum models still in the wild, but for the most part, if you purchase a new F.P. Journe Octa Sport watch it will be in titanium, as opposed to aluminum.
One piece of good news for those interested in aluminum is that while the new case of the F.P. Journe Octa Sport is in titanium, the movement is still in aluminum – but more on that later. So why aluminum for a sport watch? The idea was to offer something as light as possible, and aluminum is lighter than titanium. However, it simply isn’t as strong as titanium. Aluminum also has a lovely light color to it and the overall whitish tone of the case and bracelet mixed with the contrast of the dark rubber bumpers is quite interesting.
In fact, the color of the F.P. Journe Octa Sport aluminum case material is similar to that of an Apple MacBook laptop computer. The images in this article are a mixture of those that I took, as well as those by our Managing Editor David Bredan. He thought it would be interesting to shoot the Octa Sport watch next to his computer, and you can see how they match in a unique manner. I was rather wary of the F.P. Journe Octa Sport case at first, but once you feel how incredibly light it is in your hand, the choice of material makes perfect sense. F.P. Journe was able to make the Octa Sport watch weigh about 53 grams in aluminum. That is a “WOW” weight once you put it on your wrist and don’t even notice that it is there. In titanium, that weight only goes up to about 60 grams (70 grams on the bracelet).
It isn’t at all difficult to see why F.P. Journe wanted to go right past titanium and endure the complexity of working with an aircraft aluminum alloy for the case. Unfortunately, it proved too difficult to maintain the level of quality that Mr. Journe wanted, but his efforts are most appreciated, and the existing Octa Sport watches in aluminum will be treasured and babied for sure.
As I said, the movement inside of the Octa Sport watch continues to be produced from aluminum and it weighs a scant 11 grams. F.P. Journe is known for producing watches in 18k gold, so having one in aluminum makes the in-house made caliber FPJ 1300-3 that much more interesting. For more minor details on the movement you can read the first aBlogtoWatch post on the F.P. Journe Octa Sport watch from 2012 here. In aluminum, the FPJ 1300-3 looks just as lovely as other F.P. Journe movements with is fantastic polish and traditional design. The movement is an automatic with one of the most butter smooth moving rotors I’ve ever seen. The rotor is aluminum, but has a piece of tungsten as a weight to ensure high winding efficiency.