F.P. Journe Automatique Réserve: the unexpected sports watch22 September 2021
When you think of F.P. Journe, the first things that come to mind are innovative watches, with classic aesthetics and complications that are among the most exclusive in haute horlogerie. The great Maestro, however, can also show off a sportier face, which can be found in some collections such as the LineSport and in timepieces such as the Automatique Réserve.
Born in June 2011 with the launch of the Centigraphe Sport, the first mechanical aluminium wristwatch ever, the LineSport collection was then enriched in February 2012 with the second model, the Octa Sport in aluminum.
The collection now includes three watches, the Centigraphe, the Automatique Réserve and the Chronographe Rattrapante. Watch Insanity had the opportunity to touch and shoot the Automatique Réserve, in the two versions with yellow and anthracite dials. A privilege for a few, which we want to tell you, starting from the watch and its characteristics.
A LESSON IN LIGHTNESS FROM F.P. JOURNE
In addition to sportiness, the basic idea that drove the creation of this timepiece by F.P. Journe has been lightness, increasingly a hot topic for models and materials in the sports watch segment. The use of the most suitable materials to make the timepiece light and performing was the main focus in its development. And since in the industry, not just in watchmaking, lightness is synonymous with titanium and aluminum, these were the choices of the Maison.
Thanks to this mix of modernity and tradition, the watch went through the last few years almost unchanged. The most obvious aesthetic updates were the addition of the numerical scale, engraved in the ceramic bezel, and the introduction of an extremely sporty yellow dial, co-star of our shooting.
LOUD AND CLEAR
It’s clear from the shots that the Automatique Réserve also embodies one of the typical characteristics of F.P. Journe: the clear and rational readability of the information on the dial, be it yellow or anthracite. Starting from the big date: the size of the window has been increased to 4.7 x 2.6 mm, improving visibility. A big date that, ça va sans dire, jumps instantly.
Speaking of clarity of information, the readability of the day / night indicator at 9 o’clock is very intuitive and aesthetically pleasing, with a gradient that changes from white to red as the hours shift from afternoon to evening. For the power reserve indicator at 10.30, F.P. Journe instead opted for the classic hand, which stands out the left side of the dial without crowding it.
At 6 o’clock, the small seconds counter is a small masterpiece. It’s attached to the dial by three screws and it reminds the speedometer on the dashboard of old racing cars; it is made of white sapphire, with the hand and numerals in red and the chemin de fer motif in black. Together with the large date, it is the strongest element of this watch, with a though presence that not even the yellow of the dial can diminish.
At the beginning of this article, we talked about titanium and aluminum. Well, the latter can be found in the dial and caliber, while the 44 mm case and the bracelet – very soft with an impeccable fit – are in grade 5 titanium. Thanks to the combination of these two super light materials, the watch weighs only 83 grams, 11 of which are from the movement. A featherweight that further demonstrates the sporting vocation of the timepiece.
In addition to the titanium version, for those who love the refinement of precious metals, the watch is also available in platinum or in gold 6N 18 ct with movement in Rose Gold 18 ct. Because a sports watch can also be precious and vice versa.
THE POWER OF SIMPLICITY
Sportiness must rhyme with simplicity – those who keep an eye on their performances, have no time to waste on complicated operations. So, the Automatique Réserve by F.P. Journe is phenomenal in the simplicity of adjusting the functions, in spite of its mechanical excellence and its finishing. All the functions can be set using a single crown, placed off-center at 4.30: when it is in position 0, it winds the watch if rotated clockwise; in position 1 and anticlockwise rotation it adjusts the date; in position 2 it adjusts the time.
Monsieur Journe is simple, intuitive, and also kind; because in addition to the ease of use, the crown is also easy to handle thanks to the particular design of the knurling, which is a proof of ergonomics.
THE SIGNATURE OF F.P. JOURNE IS IN THE VERY HEART OF THE WATCH
Let’s not forget that the Marseillaise master is well known all over the world for the quality of his calibers. The self-winding Octa 1300.3 that drives the Automatique Réserve is no exception. One hundred and sixty hours of autonomy, an amazing performance made possible by having extended the development capacity of the hairspring: 1 meter long and 1 mm thick, it has been integrated at the same level as the gear train and the escapement. The unidirectional winding of the exclusive off-centered F.P. Journe Titanium rotor, which is achieved by a self-locking ball bearing system. The rotor has a tungsten segment, a metal significantly heavier than titanium, thanks to which it uses any slight movement of the wrist to recharge the watch.
The caliber, which beats at 21,600 vibrations / hour, is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback. It would be a shame to hide the circular Cotes de Genève decoration on the bridges, the decorated baseplates, the polished screw heads with the chamfered slots.
It took three years of research and development before the movement was completed and, in the words of F.P. Journe, we understand why it took all this time: «The construction of the Octa calibre has less powerful ties with horological history than do the constant-force device or resonance models, but it symbolises a horological ideal of giving timekeepers the highest possible degree of precision and autonomy». Without forgetting, we add, that aesthetics enhances technical excellence even more.
By Davide Passoni