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Decoding the Élégante by F.P.Journe

May 2024news and trends
Decoding the Élégante by F.P.Journe

The most misunderstood watch by F.P.Journe.

The choice between a quartz and a mechanical movement often depends on personal preferences and specific needs of the consumer. While mechanical movements offer a unique appeal and require special care, quartz movements are appreciated for their precision and easy maintenance.

I have always thought, however, that the main weakness of a quartz watch, although more precise than a mechanical movement one, is in its autonomy. If it’s mechanical, you just wind it up; if it’s quartz…you have to take it to the watch dealer to replace the battery.


Time passes quickly, and the two-year autonomy of a traditional battery is not so practical, not least because we never wear the same watch for that long.

François-Paul Journe must have thought along the same lines when he designed the Élégante.

Yes, Journe, the master of mechanical watches and multi-complicated movements, has designed a quartz watch; and what a quartz!


In the beginning, the Élégante was conceived for ladies: a watch that was simple to use and didn’t need any kind of manipulation, to be kept in a drawer and easy to wear at social events without the need to ask someone to adjust the time. François-Paul designed an entirely original movement to ensure a running autonomy of up to eighteen years, skilfully combining mechanics and electronics.

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Eight years of research were needed to develop the microprocessor necessary for its particular operation. The movement features a centrifugal sensor which registers every movement of a small gold oscillating mass, visible on the dial at 4:30. When the sensor detects no movement, after 35 minutes it switches off the motor driving the hands, keeping time in memory. As soon as the weight moves, the sensor drives the motor that repositions the hands to the right time, following the shortest path. The system is designed to save energy whenever the watch is at rest. As ingenious and original as any Journe creation.

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Things got even more interesting when Journe presented the Élégante ELHT48, larger and designed for men. At first it was greeted with distrust by the brand’s customers, then something happened. Collectors all over the world are finally starting to understand that behind what appears to be the simplest watch ever created by the Maison, the Élégante is actually an engineering marvel – with all the codes to be a full-fledged F.P.Journe. The splendid “tortue” case, inspired by the Vagabondage series, and the luminescent dial have attracted more and more attention from enthusiasts…and the hunt for one has begun. The Élégante is now one of the brand’s most sought-after collections.

François-Paul was right once again. The misunderstood watch has finally been understood.

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The latest version of the Élégante features a men’s 48 titanium case with ‘Titalyt®’ treatment, a process using electro-plasma to oxidise titanium, improving the metal’s hardness and resistance to wear and giving it a distinctive dark grey colour.

The case is combined with a novel black dial with luminescent numerals. In fact, it is a completely luminescent sapphire crystal plate onto which a ‘mask’ is lacquered, leaving the numerals and chapter ring free so that they are visible in both daylight and darkness. A completely original effect.

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The strap is made of rubber and is available in numerous colours, from orange to military green. One of the most interesting features is the interchangeability of the straps, which can easily be replaced without a watchmaker’s help.

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All the mechanical elements of the Élégante are produced in the Montres Journe Manufacture in Geneva, in order to guarantee the quality and precision that characterise the Maison’s creations.

As always, François-Paul Journe retains total control over his watches’ production: thus, the case is also manufactured by Boitiers de Geneve and the dial is produced by Cadraniers de Geneve, two factories he owns near Geneva.

His dedication to innovation and perfection is reflected in every detail of all his creations – and the same is true when it comes to the incredible Élégante.

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