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Apr 16 • 15:55

F.P. Journe Octa Lune : technical review

For this article, we have chosen to focus on a particularly interesting, lesser-known model from F.P. Journe, one of the greatest contemporary watchmakers.

F.P. Journe Octa Lune : technical review

Little has actually been written about the Octa Lune model. Although it is a natural evolution of the Octa Réserve de marche model that appeared in 2001, the Octa Lune only appeared later and features, in addition to the large date and power reserve, a moon phase, one of the most poetic horological complications ever.

First, let's take a closer look at what "Octa" means:

Octa Caliber :

Mouvement Octa Lune
Mouvement Octa Lune

The Octa collection was created by François-Paul Journe with a "simple" idea in mind: to have the best possible degree of precision and autonomy for a wristwatch.

Although not a complication in the true sense of the watchmaking term, this "idea" represents a truly useful watchmaking ideal that is sometimes worth remembering.

Octa Caliber Octa Caliber
Octa Caliber Octa Caliber

The Octa 1300 caliber was introduced in 2001 as the first automatic wristwatch caliber to guarantee chronometric precision for 5 days or 120 hours (effective power reserve of 160 hours). This feat was achieved by increasing the capacity of the mainspring (a ribbon one millimeter high and one meter long!).

The "1300" caliber takes its number from its diameter (13 lines - 13), to which is added the date on which it was finalized: 2000 (00).

From the outset, F-P Journe wanted this caliber to be adaptable so that it could be used for several models, while retaining the diameter and thickness of the initial caliber.

Since then, it has undergone only 2 evolutions, and François-Paul Journe has declared that this caliber "is an accomplished movement that requires no further modification because of its almost unreal performance."

Calibre 1300 evolutions :

The first version of this caliber was produced from 2001 to 2004, and is made of rhodium-plated brass with vertical Côtes de Genève at the very beginning, then circular very quickly after the very first models produced. Its bi-directional 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight enables efficient winding of the long mainspring, which provides a 160-hour power reserve.

Octa Caliber - Courtesy of PhillipsOcta Caliber - Courtesy of Phillips
Octa Caliber - Courtesy of The Journe GuyOcta Caliber - Courtesy of The Journe Guy

The second 1300.2 version appeared in 2004, when Journe movements switched from brass to rose gold, and became one of the first manufactures to have calibers made entirely of gold, which required greater concentration during assembly, given that gold is softer than brass.

Octa Caliber 1300.2 Octa Caliber 1300.2
Octa Caliber 1300.2 Octa Caliber 1300.2

The third and current 1300.3 version dates from 2007, when the oscillating weight became uni-directional. Indeed, the sedentary lifestyles of many of our customers prevented optimal winding of the mainspring with a bi-directional system. Thanks to this change, which is more sensitive to the slightest movement of the wrist, spring tension is faster.

This version was also designed in aluminum from 2011 to equip Octa Sport models.

Octa Caliber 1300.3Octa Caliber 1300.3
Octa Caliber 1300.3Octa Caliber 1300.3
Octa Caliber 1300.3Octa Caliber 1300.3

The feat was to insert into this caliber various complications such as chronograph, power reserve, large date, UTC, moon, zodiac, perpetual calendar, ... while equipping models whose hour and minute hands are both central and off-center, allowing a multitude of references and possible combinations.

Octa Lune model :

Introduced in 2003 after the Octa Réserve de marche, the Octa Chronographe (2001) and the Octa Calendrier (2002), the Octa Lune is naturally equipped with caliber 1300 and features an off-center dial at 3 o'clock displaying the hours, minutes and small seconds.

On the left, we find the large date at the top, the power reserve in the middle and the moon-phase indication in an aperture in the dial.

Dial Octa Lune
Dial Octa Lune

Different generations have followed, with significant variations.

First Octa Lune generation (2003 - 2005)

This first generation, which began in 2003, was directly awarded the Prix de la Montre Homme by the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG). Equipped with a rhodium-plated brass movement, these watches feature a 38mm case in platinum or rose gold, and were therefore produced for a short period of just 2 years before the arrival of rose gold movements.
As with most first-generation Journe models, 3 dial colors were available: yellow gold (only with platinum case), white gold or rose gold.

In addition to their movement, these models are identifiable by :

  • The watch's serial number ending in 03L or 04L; the two digits indicate the year of manufacture of the case, while the letter indicates the "Lune" model.
  • The typical shape of the steel circles found on this generation of watches
  • The dial screws, whose heads are wider than on subsequent generations.

The asterisk in the photo above indicates a possible combination (editing picture) that we have never seen before.

Octa Lune 1st gen - Courtesy of Christie'sOcta Lune 1st gen - Courtesy of Christie's
Octa Lune 1st gen - Courtesy of Christie'sOcta Lune 1st gen - Courtesy of Christie's

Total production of this first series lasted until 2005 and, according to our estimates, around 150 were produced.

It should be noted that, as the arrival of the 1300.2 caliber in rose gold was phased in between 2004 and 2005, certain elements of the watch - notably the steel hoops - had been manufactured earlier and were therefore used, making it possible to find models with first-generation dials but rose gold movements. This is the rarest configuration available.

2nd Octa Lune generation (2005 - 2015)

The second generation is marked by the arrival of new rose gold movements in 2004 / 2005. This change of alloy gave the calibers the reference 1300.2. As mentioned above, this caliber was used for a very short time, being replaced in 2007 by the 1300.3 with its uni-directional oscillating weight. According to our observations, this change appears between serial numbers 300 and 310. As the serial numbers were produced in continuity with the first generation, it would appear that around 150 examples equipped with the 1300.2 caliber were produced.

The cases of this generation are now available in 38mm or 40mm and always in platinum or rose gold.

As with other Journe models of this generation, the available dial colors remain unchanged, but the yellow gold dial disappears, as François-Paul Journe did not like the combination of yellow gold dials with rose gold movements.

Several changes have been made to make these models easier to identify:

  • The watch serial number now ends with the letter L (still for "Lune"), but the year of case manufacture disappears.
  • Steel circles become more rounded
  • Dial screw heads become wider

The asterisk in the photo above indicates a possible combination (editing picture) that we have never seen before.

Octa Lune 2nd Generation Octa Lune 2nd Generation
Octa Lune 2nd Generation Octa Lune 2nd Generation

As this second generation was produced until 2015, total production is estimated at around 200/250 units.

3rd Octa Lune generation (2015 - Present)

The third and current generation arrived in 2015, when François-Paul Journe introduced a completely new version with a new dial design. It also changed its name, losing the word "Octa" and becoming simply "Lune". That same year, the model was awarded 2nd prize at the "Watch of the Year" competition in Geneva.

Cases are now available in 40 or 42 mm diameters, in response to customer demand. The materials remain identical to the previous generation, as does the caliber 1300.3, which remains unchanged, and it's easy to see why when François-Paul Journe says: "[this caliber] is an accomplished movement that requires no further modification due to its almost unreal performance."

However, a number of changes have been made, most notably to the dial:

  • The end of the serial number now ends with "LN" (for Lune Nouvelle).
  • Brand and motto moved to 7 o'clock
  • The term "Phases de lune" (moon phase in French) has disappeared.
  • The moon phase indication is raised and turned to the left
  • The power-reserve indication is moved slightly upwards
  • The date aperture is now wider
  • The minute numerals have been reduced, making the entire dial more legible.
  • The hour numerals are no longer painted, but machined with a diamond tip.

Asterisks in the photo above indicates possible combinations (editing picture) that we have never seen before.

Octa Lune 3rd Generation Octa Lune 3rd Generation
Octa Lune 3rd Generation Octa Lune 3rd Generation
Octa Lune Dial new configurationOcta Lune Dial new configuration

This model is still available in the F.P. Journe catalog.

Some rare models

MOP dial - Sincere Watch Co. EditionMOP dial - Sincere Watch Co. Edition
Black dial - Boutique Edition - Courtesy of PhillipsBlack dial - Boutique Edition - Courtesy of Phillips
Blue dial - Courtesy of WatchboxBlue dial - Courtesy of Watchbox

The Octa Lune and Lune models, less well known than others, represent François-Paul Journe's work well, thanks in particular to the Octa caliber and its remarkable performance and the highly recognizable design of its dials. The moon-phase, though rarely or never used today, remains a popular and poetic complication, perfectly highlighted in this model, which we particularly like.

Carefully written, this article is by no means exhaustive, and we'll be sure to update it and make corrections over time.

Thank you for the imagery available online from The Journe Guy, Christie's, Phillips, Sotheby's, Antiquorum and A Collected Man.

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