Hands On: The F.P. Journe LineSport Chronographe Rattrapante
Unless you’re fairly well-versed in high horology, producing sports watches is probably the last endeavor you’d imagine F.P. Journe pursuing. The living-legend watchmaker, known for his classically styled horological treasures, may seem far too highbrow for such preposterous tomfoolery (even if his cases are slightly larger than average). However, if high horology brands Girard-Perregaux, L.U. Chopard, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, A. Lange & Söhne, and Patek Philippe have all taught us one common lesson, what is it?
That’s right — every manufacture de Haute Horlogerie needs an integrated-bracelet sports watch! For real though, sarcastic jokes aside, it often doesn’t hurt to have one in the stable. And F.P. Journe, well, he ain’t no fool. In fact, he’s been making them for a decade already. Complementing his dressy collection with a sporty line dubbed, fittingly, the LineSport, F.P. Journe brings even more horological prowess to the table. Rob and Lex got hands-on with the titanium LineSport Chronographe Rattrapante in Geneva.
With a nominal 44mm case diameter and an integrated end-link-to-end-link span of almost 54mm, the LineSport Chronographe Rattrapante seems like a monster of paper. However, due to its grade 5 titanium/aluminum alloy construction, the watch is remarkably light. Bracelet included, Rob tells me it hardly moves the needle at around 80g! The case and bracelet are done in a somewhat frosted gunmetal finish, while the tachymeter bezel is a matte ceramic. The sporty bracelet has a three-link design, with strategic angles and slots for wrist ventilation, and a dual-deployant clasp with a locking lever closure. But the titanium goodness doesn’t end there. The dial is constructed from the same alloy. On this version, the dial is an anthracite gray, with applied luminescent numerals, sapphire sub-dials, and the bolted sub-dial frame that has become synonymous with Journe design language.
The luminescent numerals, along with luminescent steel hands hour and minute hands offer low-light legibility that most Journe models lack. The large double date window at six o’clock, its red numerals, and the red numerals and hands on the sub-dials provide eye-catching contrast and lively colorful accents. The two chronograph seconds hands feature slightly contrasting white and matte rhodium finishes to avoid confusion when using the split-second function.
Where the magic happens
In stark contrast to the rose gold movements that permeate the majority of F.P. Journe’s offerings, the movement itself, caliber 1518, is also made from the titanium/aluminum alloy. It does, however, have a more standard metallic color. The decoration itself is typical of the high-quality Journe calibers that we’ve already seen. The chronograph levers are wide and flat, which helps to keep the large movement slim.
In terms of functionality, caliber 1518 is no slouch. Though it may not appear so, it is actually a mono-pusher chronograph. This means the top pusher is not merely responsible for the start/stop function but also the reset. The bottom pusher controls the split-second function. While purists often prefer a vertical coupling clutch for smooth chronograph engagement, vertical clutches aren’t so pretty to look at. A horizontal clutch, while easier to see, nevertheless causes undesirable stuttering upon engagement. Journe worked around this by using a rarer oscillating pinion mechanism. Equipped with gears on both ends, half of it always remains in contact with the gear train, while the other half rotates horizontally to engage with the chronograph mechanism. This makes the caliber both pleasing to look at and stutter-free.
Caliber 1518 has an 80-hour power reserve. This provides enough power for the energy-hungry rattrapante function even after two full days unwound. Equipped with a large, variable-inertia free-sprung balance, the movement is both finely adjustable and highly shock-resistant.
But does it work?
Personally, I think the LineSport Chronographe Rattrapante fits in the F.P. Journe collection wonderfully. That’s not simply because it provides a refreshing aesthetic change of pace, though. Rather, it is because I feel the movement truly upholds the honor of the rest of the F.P. Journe collection. When brands relegate their most impressive movements strictly to their dress watches and equip sports models with far simpler calibers, it always makes me die a little inside. On the contrary, when brands give their sport watches rugged, yet impressive and complicated calibers, it shows me that they truly care about the real art of horology. That, my friends, is what F.P. Journe has done. And quite honestly, I would expect no less.
Pricing for these pieces starts at €65,100 for the titanium model, €87,500 for the rose gold, and €118,900 for the platinum model.
Let us know what you think of the LineSport Chronographe Rattrapante in the comments below. If you’d like, check out the other color/material variations here. Thanks for reading!