Eclectic, eccentric, and something of an enigma, FP Journe’s Élégante was originally conceived during a trip to the Middle East in 2003, where he was asked by many clients’ wives why he had not yet offered a women’s watch of any kind. Eight years of hard work went into an in-house quartz (or as Journe terms ‘electro-mechanical’) movement, with a debut in 2014. This design was not just unlike any Journe to come before, but unlike any other watch in the market. In its stark uniqueness, the Élégante has since attracted a hardcore following from all all corners of the watch world. The Élégante is not masculine, nor is it feminine; it is just a damn great watch all about saving energy, ease of use, and imperious electrical luxury.
This quartz calibre 1210 may actually give Resonance a run for its development budget. Journe refused to simply hide a quartz movement as many do, but instead create one worth displaying proudly. He sought to use rose gold instead of yellow gold as a backplate to match the range of his other movements, which meant his team had to figure out how to make a rose gold alloy which conducted as well as yellow. That took two years. Then there’s the pièce de résistance: it goes into standy by when you aren’t wearing it. The movement is made to sense its wearer’s movement, after 35 minutes sedentary it shuts down. Once picked back up, the hands move clockwise or counter-clockwise (whichever is closest to conserve energy) to the correct time. This extreme care in engineering means a 10 year battery life with 18 years of standby. It even uses two separate motors for the hour and minute hands to eliminate frictional losses of energy that come with long gear trains.
But that immense engineering is not what has propelled the Élégante to become (nearly) the sole accepted haute-quartz watch. That is its attitude. This latter, larger 48mm edition brought the Élégante to a wider audience and added a degree of lightness in titanium. The Élégante was now a success off the beaten path in haute horology. Here’s something oft-overlooked: this is the only Journe with a screw-down crown. One could, truly, swim with it. Don’t try that with your souscription. Oh and the entire dial is Super-Luminova. The whole thing. And that little reveal at 4? That’s its oscillating weight, not for power, but as a motion-sensor. There are no watches like the Élégante, and collectors are increasingly falling prey to its iconoclast charm.
This example is just perfect. Said to be ‘brand new’, it comes with its full set and orange/white vulcanised rubber straps. The watch was produced in 2020, and comes from a well-regarded London retailer.
Find this Élégante Titalyt here from Watches London for 45000 GBP.