In modern-day watchmaking, innovation, technology and engineering, you can’t help but think of the living legend, François-Paul Journe (F.P. Journe).
His motto is “Invenit Et Fecit,” translated from Latin to English to mean “Invented and Made.” This adage aligns with the in-house watchmaking on the movements.
This Latin motto was engraved on the pocket watches of 18th-century French horologers. Journe only uses calibres he invents so this motto aligns perfectly.
The F.P. Journe Octa Line
Looking at today’s Octa collection, you may not see the cohesion right away. There are a few key points that set the Octa Line apart from other collections.
- They all use the same cases
- Red gold winding rotors (From 2004)
- Rotors slightly off center
F.P. Journe wanted to give a nod to watchmaking history of describing automatic watches a perpetual, but preferred infinity. Octa itself comes from the “8” when on its side being the sign of infinity.
In 2008, the Octa collection debuted as the first automatic movement to deliver 120 hours of timekeeping.
Although they use the same cases, there are two different case sizes. The line comes in both 38mm and 40mm, although now the 38mm is available upon request only.
F.P. Journe Octa Calendrier Review
The original Octa Calendrier was released in 2002, winning the “Special Jury Prize” at the GPHG (Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve). The design of the dial is for subtle time checking. The hours, minutes and sub-seconds hand is designed to peek out from underneath a shirt cuff.
Tuxedo Dial – Final Limited Edition Boutique Editions
The Black Label collection debuted around 2008 as a way to reward collectors with an even more exclusive collection. These black dial watches with platinum cases are only available to purchase by those who already own a Journe watch. The Black Label collection also marks the end of the model line.
In fact, the Black Label is extremely exclusive if trying to buy outside of pre-owned. The production of these watches is limited to 12 pieces per boutique per year. To add on top of that, no more than two watches of each reference will then be available. The dial itself isn’t just black, it’s a blackened gold.
A tuxedo dial is defined as being a two-toned dial with black and white both being prominent. Sometimes the white is found as the center of the dial, but with the Octa Calendrier this motif is found on the retrograde date and hours, minutes and seconds display.
This Black Label model was released in 2011 and measures 40mm across the case and is approximately 10mm thick.
On The Wrist Review
The case size itself means that this watch is extremely versatile. Not only is it suited for a larger wrist, thanks to its 40mm size, it is suited for a smaller wrist preferring a more modern case size. This also makes the watch perfect for sharing with your watch inclined significant other.
The strap is semi-integrated with rounded spring bars. This makes for an integrated look when on the wrist, with very little light between the strap and the case.
A short on the wrist review of the Octa Calendrier Black Label
The platinum combined with the 18k red gold movement creates a nice heft on the wrist. You definitely won’t forget you’re wearing this piece! The exhibition caseback allows you to view the incredible movement when you take it off the wrist.
Once you understand the work and design behind the watch, it really sets it apart and allows you to appreciate the craftsmanship.
Unrivaled Style & Versatility
This is hugely versatile watch with regards to style, which I’ve worn all the way from with a tuxedo to by the pool!
However, it’s most suited to more formal ensembles. This is especially true with the classic-Journe right adjusted dial to sneak out from under a dress cuff, simply stunning!
Having a black dial with white details makes the watch extremely versatile. These colors tend to look great with any outfit and the dial allows you to change out the straps for various other colors.
When I first bought the watch, it came on a black alligator strap. This was perfect for formal occasions but was a little too formal for every day wear. Purple happens to be my favorite color so I decided to custom make the purple strap it sits upon now. The quick glance of this new combination breathes a second life into the watch and really makes the dial “pop.”
Size & Dimensions
As previously mentioned, the Octa Calendrier has a modern profile. It measures:
- 40mm across the case
- 42mm including the crown
- 10.6mm thick
- 48mm lug to lug
- 20mm lug width
The integrated strap with short lugs makes it both a modern size but something that still fits well on various wrist sizes. The 40mm case itself is large but not oversized in any means. In fact, thanks to the lug to lug measurement and slim profile, the watch wears slightly smaller.
I even share this watch with my girlfriend. While it is on the larger side for her 6″ wrist (mine’s a hair under 8″), it provides that modern profile she likes to wear outside of the classic small ladies watches. She specifically likes the weight of the watch and the contrasting dial design.
Why did I buy this watch?
Well, there are several reasons:
- It looks amazing, especially being part of the “Octa” line.
- The right adjusted dials making the Calendrier so unique and an iconic Journe feature.
- Very limited edition tuxedo dial, though I think all the dial variants are special.
- Having met Mr. Journe, I feel like owning one of his pieces is owning a current piece of watch history and ultimately art.
- It makes a great share watch! [Editor’s note: this comment was not originally written by the author!]
If I could give the watch an 11 out of 10, I would do so every time. If you have the opportunity to either try on or buy an Octa Calendrier or Black Label Octa Calendier, I highly recommend it.
"An elegant and breathtaking timepiece. A true work of art on the wrist that pays homage to historical horology, the Octa Calendrier is one of the finest watches in circulation."Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★