Élégante is a quartz watch, but unlike any quartz watch seen before. It has a mechanical motion detector, visible on the dial through a small window, so that if you put the watch down, the hands stop moving after 30 minutes. But the electronic movement still keeps track of time. When you put it back on, the motion detector senses the movement, wakes up the watch, and the hands immediately move to the correct time, taking the shortest route, clockwise or anti-clockwise. This system saves energy, and gives the watch a battery life of 18 years in stand-by mode, and about 8-10 years life if you wear the watch normally – in other words, letting it go to sleep when you do. It’s a brilliant idea, beautifully executed.
Élégante is not just the name of the watch, it is a brand within a brand. F.P. Journe exhibited it at SIHH at a booth titled élegante by F.P. Journe, and only these watches were on show. François-Paul Journe is famous for his mechanical watches with movements made of gold, but this electro-mechanical timepiece gives a new nobility to quartz. The quartz components are Swiss-made, and the watch has a sapphire caseback revealing some of the electronics, with the battery cover finished in Côtes de Genève, and a tiny heart marking the position of the microprocessor.
The blued steel hands and the shape of the Arabic numerals are characteristic of F.P. Journe, and the watch has another interesting feature: the whole inner part of the dial is in sapphire coated with luminescent paint, so that it glows in the dark and provides a different methods of displaying time at night, with the hands silhouetted against a luminous backdrop.
Élegante and ecological
The watch took eight years to develop. F.P. Journe was thinking specifically of women and their requirements – it must be annoying to take a watch out of a drawer or a safe and discover that the battery has run out, something that happens after two or three years with a normal quartz watch. So François-Paul developed the 1210 calibre that, with its power-saving system, is both intelligent and ecological.
Tortue case in titanium, red gold or platinum
The case is in two sizes, 40 mm from top to bottom and 35 mm wide, or 48 mm by 40 mm. It is slim at 7.35 or 7.95 mm respectively, in a distinctive tortue shape, with rubber strap. The crown is screw-down but water resistance is the standard 30 metres or 3 atm, resistant to occasional splashes and raindrops, no swimming.
Versions for women and men
The 48 x 40 mm version could easily be worn by men as well as by women who like larger watches. Both sizes are made in several versions, in titanium, red gold or platinum, with different degrees of gem-setting, and a whole range of strap colours. The strap is interchangeable, and it can be changed by the owner using a knife to remove the springbar as normal. The most elaborate versions, with case entirely set with precious stones, have straps in satin or Karung snake.
Prices from €11,400
Élegante is a luxury quartz watch. It costs from €11,400 (tax included), and reaches €45,900 for the version in platinum fully set with rubies and diamonds with satin strap. Further information from the F.P. Journe website.