F.P. Journe has a quartz watch. It’s fair to say not a lot of people are aware of this, and why would they be when over the years, F.P. Journe has made his name with complicated wristwatches like the Tourbillon Souverain and the Chronomètre à Résonance?

An Electromechanical Movement

But of course, this is no ordinary quartz watch. It took eight years of research for F.P. Journe to develop this new revolutionary horological concept for his first ladies’ collection. The élégante by F.P. Journe comes equipped with a proprietary electromechanical movement, which is fitted with a mechanical motion detection oscillating weight visible on the dial at 4:30. It allows for extremely precise technical specifications and ensures that the watch can run autonomously for 8 to 10 years of daily use, and even up to 18 years if it’s motionless (i.e. not worn).

F.P. Journe's Élégante collection was revealed in 2014 after 8 years of R&D - and has since expanded — experimenting with various colours and jewellery options

When the watch is not on the wrist and not in motion, it goes into standby mode after 35 minutes to save energy. The hands stop turning but the microprocessor inside the watch continues to keep time. When the Élégante moves again, the mechanical parts – the gears, rotors and hands – kick into gear and the hands automatically set themselves to the current time, taking the shortest path, either clockwise or counter-clockwise.

I’ve heard people shocked to see the watch in motion when they aren’t aware of its capabilities, and having personally witnessed this, it really truly feels like a bit of magic in play.

This line of timepieces was Journe's first for the lady wearer

The Élégante by F.P. Journe Titalyt

This year’s release sees the Élégante in a new case material, a grade 5 Titanium case with an exclusive Titalyt treatment. The titanium is first subjected to electro-plasma oxidation to improve the material’s hardness and resistance to wear and corrosion. It also gives the material a unique colouring, a matte dark grey that looks like it could both work in a sporty setting or a more classy one.

The watch is available in 2 versions, in both 40mm and a much larger 48mm – F.P. Journe might have developed the line initially for women but its size options sure will fit any man’s wrist well. The smaller version also comes with a spattering of diamonds on the bezel. Not too much, just enough to give the watch a little extra sparkle.

The Élégante makes a return in 2019 with a Titalyt case
The Élégante Titalyt comes in 40mm and subtly iced with diamonds
The Élégante Titalyt also has a plain jane 48mm version

So yes, F.P. Journe has a quartz watch, but one that is unlike any other you’ve seen before. It’s funny to note that they are showcasing only the Élégante at the SIHH, but not its usual offering. Maybe it’s about time this collection had its fair share of attention.