FP Journe Octa Lune Platinum
The Octa Lune is a bit of an enigma. It’s far from the most complicated Journe, but also not exactly a Chronomètre Bleu. The dial seems haphazard until you stare at it awhile, but then after a time nothing else feels as artful. This is probably why it’s one of the longest lived Journe classics, a slow burn perennially just out of the spotlight. It’s a bit like Belgium. No one remarks to their spouse, ‘Darling, would you like to holiday in Belgium this year?’ And yet, every time I’ve visited I’ve had a fantastic experience meeting remarkable people and thoroughly enjoying myself. Last time, I learned there’s a Dutch verb, swaffelen, which means to repeatedly slap one’s, uh, male member against the Taj Mahal. All it takes is one drunk student touring India and you have Belgium’s 2008 word of the year; I promise you that’s true. Belgium has surprising depth with the right attitude, but I promise you the Octa Lune has even more.
The asymmetrical dial (whose subseconds resembles a Venn diagram) may jar to start, but it is a quintessentially Journe aesthetic. So too, are the accessory power reserve, date, and jaunty-angled moonphase. The whole affair lacks any gimmicks, its distilled fine watchmaking made highly legible. All functions are adjusted through the rope crown, which leaves a welcome lack of case adjustment pushers. The gold calibre 1300.3 delivers 160 hours of reserve thanks to a monstrous metre-long mainspring. The oscillating weight winds with less resistance thanks to ball bearings to keep totally constant torque. Yes, this is a self-wound calibre, the first model Journe made with one. Sure, that will annoy purists, but that also makes this one of the easiest Journes to live with day to day, particularly in this monochromatic grey dial on platinum case. It’s all zero fuss.
Now, some would argue that its lack of fuss takes away from the sex appeal. Is a Resonance more interesting? Sure. Does the Centigraphe have a better party trick? Yes. And does an FFC ‘The Hand’ make me laugh harder edited in memes so just the middle finger is raised? Definitely. But I don’t think anything FP, even the Eleganté, combines such high-octane watchmaking with such a practical attitude. The CB gets close, but the secondary market kills a logical appeal. Journe, as a blanket category, is hyped. But even so, the Octa Lune isn’t as bad. It’s that slightly more logical, very considered option. If you make full use of your frontal lobe, it’s a very sensible Journe whose attraction is the classicism. If you don’t, I’d recommend a bit of swaffelen with an Élégante. Either makes for a memorable evening.
This example sports a 40mm case, grey dial, platinum case. It’s from 2020 and comes with the works. The case sports light surface wear, it’s not a safe queen, but looks just mega. No hard bashes visible. It comes from a well-regarded Hong Kong retailer.