What a Gem

FP Journe’s new Élé­gante watches are a beau­ti­ful ad­di­tion to the brand’s ex­ist­ing line-up,

Singapore Tatler - - STYLE - says Ni­co­lette Wong

Quartz watches have a strange place in the watch in­dus­try. Con­nois­seurs of­ten turn their noses up at them, and brands don’t com­mu­ni­cate nearly as much about their quartz of­fer­ings as their me­chan­i­cal watches. One sup­poses that the quartz cri­sis of the 1970s and the sub­se­quent el­e­va­tion of the me­chan­i­cal watch into a lux­ury prod­uct has some­thing to do with it. Quartz move­ments are of­ten dis­missed as be­ing cheap, me­chan­i­cally and tech­no­log­i­cally un­in­ter­est­ing, and only valu­able for their small size and rel­a­tive time­keep­ing ac­cu­racy. They were thought to be best suited to women, who were less ap­pre­cia­tive of me­chan­i­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tions, and who en­joyed small jew­ellery watches. How­ever, there was one watch­maker who thought that quartz was a “fan­tas­tic in­ven­tion”, and who cham­pi­oned its cause by cre­at­ing what is likely the most im­pres­sive quartz watch on the mar­ket to­day. That watch­maker is François-paul Journe, and the watch is the FP Journe Élé­gante. Journe wanted to cre­ate a watch specif­i­cally for his fe­male clien­tele, one that was not a minia­turised ver­sion of his much-lauded men’s watches, which are prized for their tech­ni­cal ex­cel­lence and beauty. And be­cause he be­lieved that quartz move­ments were in­deed a fan­tas­tic in­ven­tion, he set out to elim­i­nate their per­ceived flaws. He made sure that the quartz move­ment in the Élé­gante was more ro­bust than any oth­ers on the mar­ket, with a longer bat­tery span than the usual two to three years—pal­try for a watch meant to last a life­time and more. Journe also in­sisted that the cal­i­bre 1210 not be hid­den be­hind a solid case­back like most quartz move­ments, so he had to make it beau­ti­ful. It took him eight years. The Élé­gante is not strictly new, since it was first launched in 2014 in a case width of 40mm. How­ever, FP Journe has con­tin­ued to cre­ate new ver­sions of the watch to ap­peal to dif­fer­ent tastes. This year, the brand is go­ing max­i­mal­ist, in­tro­duc­ing more be­jew­elled ver­sions of the watch. In the new ver­sions, the Éle­gante’s tortue-shaped plat­inum case is pave-set with a mix of di­a­monds or coloured gems, ei­ther blue sap­phires, ru­bies, tsa­vorites or black di­a­monds. The round parts of the

di­als are sim­i­larly set with the pre­cious gem­stones for max­i­mum im­pact, and the strap on the watch is colour-matched to the re­spec­tive gem­stones. The Élé­gante is a phe­nom­e­nal watch that is beau­ti­ful both in­side and out. The great­est proof of this is that af­ter it was first launched in 2014 in 40mm, so many men be­came en­am­oured with the women’s watch that FP Journe cre­ated a larger 48mm ver­sion just for them. The new ver­sions of the 40mm Élé­gante would make stun­ning op­tions for evening watches. Af­ter all, even if they aren’t fre­quently worn, they won’t need to be re­wound or re­set.

QUARTZ CRE­ATION In­stead of shun­ning quartz like the ma­jor­ity of the watch in­dus­try, François-paul Journe in­stead chose to cre­ate an en­tire col­lec­tion around the Élé­gante; the new it­er­a­tions are set with white di­a­monds, and ei­ther sap­phires, ru­bies, or black di­a­monds (op­po­site)

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