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