THEY arrived garbed in aluminum sportswear. Then they went all high tech in grade 5 titanium. Now, they are all yellow.
F.P. Journe in 2011 brought out its then-new LineSport, essentially the Centigraphe Sport and Octa Sport, which claimed instant horologic-sensation status on account of their aluminum alloy construction — cases, bracelets, even the movement (well, the base plate and bridges, at least) were made of this material. Consider, too, that the Centigraphe had long been available in either platinum or gold only. That the Centigraphe Sport, as the “centi” in its name hints at, can measure elapsed time to a 100th of a second (for a maximum of 10 minutes) certainly did not hurt its credentials either.
In 2014 F.P. Journe released the new versions of the LineSport, with both watches discarding their aluminum alloy cases and bracelets in favor of titanium — which is not as light as aluminum, but is by no means hefty in any way, too. Retained in both the watches though are their respective aluminum-propped movements.
Now, Monsieur Journe has updated the Centigraphe Sport and Octa Sport. While the models keep their titanium-and-aluminum structures, what’s new about them is a louder visual language that amplifies their active, athletic character — by which they draw their wearers in the first place. This new vocabulary comes via bright yellow dials, which contrast highly against dark gray — all right, anthracite — 44-millimeter titanium cases with rubber inserts (the bracelets are built the same way). On the Centigraphe Sport, the three subdials are linked by their gray surrounds, so there’s a bit less yellow surface on the dial when compared to the Octa Sport’s. Simply, this is because there is only a small second subdial in the Octa Sport.
Both watches get to keep their applied white numeral markers (with a black outline), red numerals against the white subdials, and the red hands of these subdials. The Octa Sport adds extra helpings of red-against-white via an oversized date window, and a day/night indicator. All of this, when set against the yellow dial, simply pop out more strongly than they did on the previous watches’ monochromatic cases, dials and bracelets.
Making the LineSport pieces sportier is the addition of thin, titanium-and-ceramic bezels. Engraved with small numerals in five-minute increments, the touch evokes the tachymeter scale printed on the equally slender bezel of the F.P. Journe Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante.
The movements powering the new yellow-infused models are unchanged. In the Centigraphe Sport this means it’s F.P. Journe’s celebrated manual winding cal. 1506, whose hand for the 1/100th counter (seen at 9 o’clock) makes a complete revolution per second, which still resides in the model. This movement has a separate set of gear trains for the chronograph counters (1/100th of a second, 20 seconds and 10 minutes) and for timekeeping — meaning the watch can keep time accurately even when the chronograph is running. It also has a single rocker arm, connected to one pusher, with which to start, stop and reset the chronograph. Spinning at 21,600vph, the movement has enough power for 80 hours if the chronograph is not running, 24 hours if it is.
The Octa Sport runs on the in-house self-winding cal. 1300-3, which adds the power reserve meter, day/night indicator and oversized date display to its basic timekeeping functions. It also spins at 21,600vph but can store more power — good for 120 hours. Weighing in at 11 grams, it is a gram lighter than the cal. 1506.
When encased, complete with bracelets, both the Centigraphe Sport and Octa Sport tip the scales at a mere 75 grams. In their new yellow outfit, they appear more weightless than ever.