Regarded as one of the hottest horological prospects in the world right now, it is immensely impressive that F.P. Journe has only been around for a few decades. Founded in 1999, F.P. Journe burst onto the watchmaking scene with a 20 piece limited run of Tourbillon Souverain Souscription watches that cash-strapped Francois Paul used to finance his brand, just like Abraham Louis Breguet did over 200 years ago. 20 odd years later, however, the F.P. Journe brand has become a horological powerhouse with waiting lists growing ever-longer and auction results growing ever more impressive.
Originally released as a women's watch in 2014, the F.P. Journe Elegante was a timepiece that was erroneously looked over as a timepiece worth considering due to its quartz movement. However, in typical F.P. Journe fashion, the Elegante's quartz movement is by no means your ordinary movement. With the general increase in appreciation of F.P. Journe watches, collectors finally looked at the Elegante and realised just how incredible it is as a piece of engineering.
Powered by perhaps one of the most incredible quartz movements imaginable, the Elegante's cal. 1210 Electromechanical movement followed 8 years of development and is one of the most energy-efficient movements on the market. With a battery life of 8-18 years, depending on wear time, the cal. 1210 will stop operating if it has not been worn for over 35 minutes (standby mode) while still counting the time within its microprocessor.
When the watch is moved again, the hands will spring back to action and display time as usual by taking the shortest route possible to save energy. In addition, the hours and minutes hands, and seconds hand use their own motors to reduce the need for lubricants which could dry up and deplete efficiency later on in the battery's lifespan. An incredible display of F.P. Journe's hyper-attentive design tendencies, the Elegante's patented movement is breath-taking in terms of engineering ingenuity.
Featuring a 4N golden movement with an engraved and decorated battery bridge and stunning Cotes de Genève finishing throughout, F.P. Journe has brought a quartz movement into the annals of extreme high-end luxury watchmaking. With a fittingly unique 48mm X 40mm tonneau-shaped case made of titanium, the Elegante's incredible movement plays into its unique styling. Alongside a stunning translucent-esque dial featuring a luminescent centre portion that lights up in its entirety to provide stunning night-time legibility, the Elegante is remarkably user-friendly and recognisable.
While there are several sizes and variants of the Elegante, none is as desirable as the full-size 48mm version that has gone through the brand’s proprietary ‘Titalyt’ treatment. The standard Elegante comes in a grade-5 titanium case, whereas this Titalyt treatment is achieved by generating oxide coatings on the case through an electrochemical treatment. This not only changes the aesthetic of the watch into something far more unique and attractive with the matte black finish, but also improves the material’s hardness and resistance to corrosion.
With a mechanical motion detector visible behind an aperture at 4:30 on the dial, the F.P. Journe Elegante cheekily hints at the majesty within. Fitted to an exceptionally comfortable army green rubber strap with a titanium folding clasp, the F.P. Journe Elegante 48 is deserving of its praises as a wonderfully wearable and attractive piece.
As a result of all of the over-engineering and ingenuity of the Elegante, the demand has been overwhelming with waitlists cancelled and deposits refunded. For a long time, the Elegante was disregarded and overlooked but today, it is pretty much impossible to buy an Elegante 48 Titalyt at retail. With rumours of discontinuation, it has gone from an entry-level Journe piece to one of the most desired. Don’t get me wrong though, it is not all just hype- the amount of effort and attention to detail makes this one of the most attractive Journe’s in the market.