The F.P. Journe Octa Sport Indy 500 Limited Series watch.
Jean Alesi was last seen on this very site sporting an F.P. Journe Centigraphe Sport, a magnificent timepiece capable of splitting seconds to one hundredths in a mesmerising display of activity. It was a very fine pairing indeed. But this is not that watch, this one was created in honour of Jean's first time competing in the Indy 500 race. Never mind the fact that his Judd-powered Lotus Dallara had an early exit at the event, the car looked superb in black/gold JPS-esque colours with its distinctive Journe branding and Alesi, always a feisty little fighter on the track will, no doubt be back.
François-Paul Journe is a watchmaker whose accomplishments belie his relatively youthful age. He is a Master of complications - his first unique timepiece, a ‘remontoir’ constant-force tourbillon pocket watch was based on the work some three centuries earlier of the legendary Abraham-Louis Breguet. In 1984 he commenced work on a resonance timepiece – a work so complicated that it’s very mechanical concept had remained something of a black science in the centuries since the phenomonem was discovered and reported by the sixteenth century Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens, since then he has sought not just to recreate, but to refine some of the traditional watchmaking grande complications.
.... But the complexities of the Octa Sport are to be found not simply with the calibre contained within, but rather are defined by the fact that it is created almost entirely from aluminium, a tricky alloy, a magnet for dents, but one which is consequently extremely light - this piece weighs just 53 grams, feather-light in watch terms. Of course extensive research and development was required to ensure that the case would be durable and scratch-resistant, and further analysis was essential to guarantee that the aluminium movement components would function, but M. Journe is a determined man and if he is predisposed to create an ultra-light sports watch made from aluminium, then it shall be done.
The Octa Sport Indy 500 looks splendid in its blackened case. A black dial lends a cleanness to the overall styling - the perfect backdrop for the calligraphic numerals, fine chapter ring and extreme tapering "scissor" hands - pure Journe. At 6 o'clock is a small seconds, power reserve is at 10.30, a day/night indicator is at 8 o'clock and the large date window is placed just above the Indy 500 logo. Just below 12 is the Octa logo, featuring a very racy "S", reminiscent of a single "Senna S". Inside is the Calibre FPJ 1300-3 with 120 hours of power reserve gained from unidirectional automatic winding and a variable inertia balance wheel, engineered to ensure maximum kinetic powering.
The F.P. Journe Octa Sport Indy 500 will be a limited edition of 500 pieces.
More from F.P. Journe? We have written extensively about this remarkable Master of Watchmaking, including a historical biography view our archives here.