When people start talking about F.P. Journe, you’re bound to hear the usual suspects — Résonance, Tourbillon Souverain, Octa Quantième Perpétuel, even Centigraphe; oh, of course, the beloved Chronomètre Bleu — but you rarely hear about LineSport. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue and is considered “overlooked” by some in F.P. Journey Directory. Sadly, this is short-sighted, as the humble casual collection has a lot to offer.
Right on the surface of this topic, we find the highest exclusivity. Now, we know that Journe produces around 700 to 900 watches a year (delivery or pickup), and of that, LineSport models make up a tiny fraction. From the launch of the series to the end of 2019, the total number of LineSport models produced was approximately 1,110, according to the data we collected. That’s less than most single-reference limited editions launched from the watch world in any given year. This is 110 more than the production number of the new Patek Philippe Calatrava 6007A-001 this year alone. If you want to talk about rarities and exclusives, this is a very good place to start.
Why make LineSport?
We all know by now that Journe is fascinated by traditional methods and watchmaking history, no doubt about it, so why make a sports watch? Well, the story goes that on the one hand he just wanted to make one because he didn’t see one on the market that would satisfy all the boxes he wanted to tick from a sports watch. What’s more, prior to the release of the 2011 collection, one of his key collectors was a very active man who had been chasing Journe for making watches suitable for his marathons and triathlons. Of course, it will still retain the traditional essence for which the brand is known, but modernized to suit the task at hand. Lightweight, (relatively) sturdy and able to handle more aggressive efforts; these are hallmarks of what a sports watch should be, in Journe’s view. The only thing missing (for me) is water resistance and a screw-down crown, but that’s not something Journe has ever ventured into, and he wouldn’t venture at this speed.
What makes LineSport?
We’ll get into the details of the different models later, but first we need to look at the elements that tie the collection together as a whole. The most obvious feature is that there is still controversy to this day, and some models are being phased out starting around May 2019. Of course I’m talking about the rubber bumpers that can be found throughout the bracelet links, clasp and case sides on all LineSport models as of this date. The idea behind them is simple and clever in my book. Essentially, you’re more active when wearing a sports watch, and you’re definitely more likely to bump or bump into things. Rather than adding dents and scuffs to the metal itself, every potentially accessible area, including the crown, is covered with a durable rubber coating. While this is the first time this treatment has been done on a luxury watch, Journe is not the first to add rubber to a luxury watch as a means of protection. That honor goes to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore rubber case, introduced in 2002.
Another recurring element throughout the collection comes down to materials. When the collection first launched, they featured an extremely unconventional case material – aluminium. For the first three years of the collection (from 2011 to 2014), all its references – the case, the bracelet, even the movement – were made of aluminium. These are very light and can be a real concern if you’re used to wearing thick steel or gold stuff. The light silver metal has a unique sheen that contrasts with its rubber trim.
Despite the switch to titanium in 2014, the aluminum movement of all titanium watches has continued to this day. Starting sometime in 2018, we started seeing red gold and platinum examples in the LineSport collection with gold movements, but in very limited numbers.
LineSport Centigraphe CTS Aluminium and Titanium
Introduced in 2011 and discontinued in 2014, the aluminum Centigraphe CTS was the first in the series and in many ways the logical choice. Every part of this watch is perfect for a sporty lifestyle, including the large luminous hour markers, the mass that touches over 50 grams somewhere, and the movement’s remarkable ability to reduce time to hundredths of a second. At 42mm in diameter and 11.3mm thick, the CTS is slightly larger than the original Centigraphe, although this is offset by the lack of traditional lugs and overall lightness. Centigraphe had already won the Aiguille D’Or at the 2008 GPHG Awards, but under the guise of LineSport, its calibre 1506 was fine-tuned. Its layout and output remain the same, but its mainspring and bridges are now all made of aluminum to match its case and bracelet. Part of the beauty of this movement is that, by centralizing the position of the mainspring barrel, Journe can avoid affecting the amplitude of the balance wheel when starting and stopping the chronograph. According to available data, only 188 aluminium variants were produced before the switch to titanium casings. In the titanium model, the metal is micro-blasted, giving it an almost military gray-green hue. While most commonly sold as a bracelet, these models are also available as rubber straps.
Octa S Power Reserve ARS Aluminium and ARS T Titanium
Just a year later, the Centigraphe CTS joins its more affordable sibling, the Octa S Power Reserve ARS. Powered by the 1300-3 calibre, we again see the LineSport movement using aluminium, in this case a power reserve of up to 160 hours. To wind a single barrel, Journe opted to place a tungsten bar on the periphery of its winding rotor to help the barrel reach full power. The piece shows a small seconds sub-dial, a power reserve indicator, a large two-disc date, and finally a cleverly designed day/night indicator that changes from white to red depending on where you are on the 24-hour cycle . Like its compatriot above, this model was replaced with titanium in 2014. Both models remain largely unchanged for 2018, although a special collection of 100 black aluminum models is also available somewhere along the line (Journe remains #00).
LineSport Chronographe Rattrapante in titanium, red gold and platinum
2018 was a big year for the LineSport collection, marking the launch of three hand-wound split-seconds monopusher chronographs with a large date complication in precious metals – which are in This is the first time in the series. These watches are serious hardware, and under the guise of titanium, this watch is arguably the best value for a high-spec two-second chronograph on the market. The trio retails for $61,100 in titanium, $82,200 in red gold and $111,600 in platinum, which is pretty modest considering the price of a Lange or Patek Philippe split chronograph. The titanium model is clearly the most authentic of the three models, coming in the same color scheme and featuring an aluminum movement. In precious metals, we see a more sophisticated peg dial finish, and the movement is made of red gold. To accommodate its complicated 1518 calibre, its case size had to increase a bit, up to 44mm, but thanks to the same lugless design, the larger size doesn’t make the watch appear overbearing. replica watches review
Final Update – Ditching Bumpers and More Precious Metals
In 2018, another update to the collection arrives, this time with changes to the Automatique Réserve and Centigraphe models. Available in titanium, these models now feature black ceramic chronograph bezels, as well as a vibrant yellow dial option. The case diameter has also been increased to 44mm to match the split-seconds model, but otherwise the duo appears to be unchanged.
In 2019, Journe doesn’t seem to have finished fine-tuning the roster. Sometime between ’18 and ’19, we decided to remove the rubber bumpers from the cases and bracelets of the LineSport collection. Seems like they’re a moot point among Journe collectors, and while I still say they look better in them, I’m not most of them (it seems). Currently only the titanium split-seconds model retains these bumpers. In addition to this transformation, two new variants of Centigraphe and Automatique Réserve have appeared. Completing the catalog, both models are also available in red gold and platinum and feature a red gold movement. Dial options remain the same – ruthenium-plated silver guilloché for red gold, blue/purple for platinum.
For now, only around 360 of these 44mm models are produced by Journe, which leads us to speculate that the number of 44mm titanium Centigraphe and Automatique Réserve models with bumpers must be very, very small. Either way, this entire collection is unique, complex and rare, making any of its offerings a smart addition to any discount watch collection.