Not just Another Quartz Watch

At first glance, one could easily write off the F.P Journe Élegante as another quartz watch. In a myriad of high end independent watches, and even within the brand itself, a question begs; why would I choose a watch with a battery instead of the mechanical wonders that Francois Paul is known for? 

The Élegante is not just any other quartz watch; it took Journe eight years of research and development to finish this rare specimen. The transparent case back of the Élegante shows off its beautiful Côtes de Genève finishing on the rose gold battery cover and the beautifully laid out circuits. Additionally, the genius behind the movement is that if used as a daily wearer, the battery will last 8-10 years while if part of a collection and occasional wrist time, the battery will last an astonishing 18 years. If you take a closer look at the amazing luminous dial, there is a tiny window at four o’clock; this tiny mechanical motion sensor communicates to the circuits of the movement whether the watch is being used or not. After thirty-five minutes of resting, the watch shuts down the hands while the movement continues to track the time behind the scenes. When you strap on the watch again, the watch wakes up the hands move back to the correct position displaying the time.

F.P. Journe

It is difficult, nearly impossible, to talk about modern watchmaking without mentioning F.P. Journe. François-Paul, as he has come to be known, is among the most influential and prolific watchmakers of the modern era. It has been said that he is our generation’s Abraham Louis Breguet, and for good reason. In 1976, Journe qualified as a watchmaker at the École d'Horlogerie in Paris and went on to work in his uncle’s Parisian workshop, repairing pocket watches and complicated clocks. In 1983 he completed his very first watch: a pocket watch with tourbillon and remontoir d’égalité. This feat was followed by numerous awards and a great deal of recognition up until the creation of his eponymous brand in 1999, F.P. Journe Invenit et Fecit.

1999 was a coming-of-age year for Journe as he released his first Souscription Tourbillon Souverain with remontoir. The Souscription was made in an edition of twenty pieces to raise money for his brand. It was considered a novelty unlike any other, the crème de la crème of watchmaking, and has entered watchmaking lore. It was the world’s first wristwatch to have a remontoir mechanism to transfer power between the mainspring and escapement. This incredible achievement was just the first of many in the coming years.

In 2000, Journe introduced the Chronomètre à Résonance and in 2008 the Centigraphe Souverain. François-Paul’s numerous technical achievements include a grande sonnerie and an astronomic watch. The movements of all F.P. Journe pieces are made in 18k rose gold. These feats have established the manufacture as one of the top watchmakers in the world, all in a very short period of time. In fact, they have won Geneva’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie three times, more than any other manufacture in history. François-Paul’s motto “Invenit et Fecit” is Latin for “Invented and Made”. This label can be found on all the dials of his watches as it certifies the piece as an original creation and labor of Journe’s making.

Auction Results F.P. Journe