By Gordon Henderson
Heft. Weight. Nice. These are some of the words sometimes used to approximate value of a new-found item of interest. It’s as if the weight of the object is directly related to its assumed value. Typically that mindset holds true in horology, especially when dealing with watches that are encased in gold, rose gold, white gold or platinum. The metal is heavy, the watch is heavy and the price tags are just as weighty. You can imagine my surprise, then, when this universal truth was turned on its head as I went hands on with the F.P. Journe line of sport watches, the Octa Sport and the Centigraphe Sport.
When I first picked up the Octa Sport I didn’t think it was real. Surely this behemoth of horological goodness was just a display piece given to reporters to minimize any loss to the manufacture should the reporter momentarily lose his mind and run off with the piece. It felt like I was picking up a solid piece air, it was that light. After further inspection I came to realize that this was, in fact, the genuine watch (movement and all) and my mind had just been blown.
Originally unveiled in 2011, the Octa Sports line of watches were first constructed of aluminum, which, while light weight and now highly sought after (the very first Centigraphe made of aluminum sold for north of $450k at Christies), has now been switched to grade 5 titanium. The switch was made because working with aluminum presented some strength challenges for Journe and constructing a piece out of titanium would retain the lightness desired in the series. A word about grade 5 titanium, it is highly resistant to corrosion, typically found in airplane turbines and aircraft structural components, and it is known as the workhorse of all the different types of titanium alloys. So yes, the watch will survive a misbegotten strike against the door knob.
While the cases are made of Titanium, the movements are created in aluminum – much like the first ones unveiled three years ago. The Octa Sport is self winding,while the Centigraphe Sport is manually wound. As I said earlier, the watches are unbelievably light, coming in anywhere between 60 and 70 grams. That’s lighter than a medium sized apple, chocolate bar or a pack of Skittles. If the watch itself weren’t so beautiful, it would be easy to forget about on the wrist. The pieces are super thin, 11.6 mm, and a testament to Journe’s ingenuity. The accents are done in rubber and really drive the aesthetic philosophy of durability. The pieces are offered on either a titanium bracelet or rubber strap.
Octa Sport and Centigraphe are finished in a matte grey and are currently available through F.P. Journe retailers. The Octa Sport will retail for $28,160 on a rubber strap and $33,910 on the titanium bracelet. The Centigraphe Sport Titanium is $48,289 on the rubber strap and $54,020 with the bracelet.