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F.P. Journe Elegante Ladies Watch Is High-End Quartz Even A Man Could Covet

F.P. Journe Elegante Ladies Watch Is High-End Quartz Even A Man Could Covet Hands-On

I never thought that one of my favorite independent watchmakers from Geneva would produce a colorful lady’s watch that I would not only enjoy, but really wished to write about. Neither did F.P. Journe for that matter. It took him years to finally produce a full collection of watches for women under his brand name, and the resulting Elegante is the first timepiece he claims to have been inspired by the wives of his most passionate clients versus himself.

Knowing Francois-Paul I wouldn’t have guessed him – as a serious watchmaker and classicist – to devote the type of time and effort he did into a timepiece collection for women. In fact the clever mechanism and design weren’t the hardest part – it was the fact that for the sake of fashion he was pressured to release so many colors. Yes, for a man whose own taste and personal desires fuels the creative engine of a company, making these decisions can be difficult. Having said all that, I think that the Elegante collection is a resounding success. So much so that I’d love to see a version of the movement in a men’s watch (though I doubt it will happen given Mr. Journe’s strict dedication to all things mechanical for his own wrist).

F.P. Journe Elegante Ladies Watch Is High-End Quartz Even A Man Could Covet Hands-On

F.P. Journe Elegante Ladies Watch Is High-End Quartz Even A Man Could Covet Hands-On

Eight years after he began to develop the Elegante, it becomes available in a healthy variety with a very attractive opening price for a Journe creation. Seven color varieties are available as well as case materials in titanium, 18k red gold, as well as platinum. Of course diamonds are a major part of the Elegante equation with models available featuring strips of diamonds on left and right bezel sides to those with full pave faces. Though the most basic Elegante case can be available without any diamonds.

All versions of the Elegante watch come with rubber straps, and all but the most diamond covered creations feature inlays of rubber. Yes, rubber is used to color sections of the case including the bezel as well as the sides of the case. It should not surprise you that F.P. Journe (who produces the cases) uses a technique derived from grand feu enameling to add the various colors of rubber to the Elegante cases. It woks incredibly well, especially give the unique angles and curves of the tortue-style case.

F.P. Journe Elegante Ladies Watch Is High-End Quartz Even A Man Could Covet Hands-On

F.P. Journe Elegante Ladies Watch Is High-End Quartz Even A Man Could Covet Hands-On

Some of you might recognize the case from an earlier F.P. Journe that is the Vagabondage II from 2009 that we went hands-on with. While the Vagabondage case was never that large, F.P Journe shrank it down for the Elegante believing it to be a very attractive and feminine shape. He was right. While I would have not thought that this timepiece might work so well on paper, in the flesh it is absolutely fantastic for women. It combines a feminine design, youthful sense of style, interesting and convenient movement, and an esteemed high-end prestige that is unequaled anywhere else.


That’s sort of interesting because many see 2014 as a year that luxury watchmakers target women in a big way. For years women have mostly purchased quartz-based jewelry watches and the industry thinks it can seduce women into becoming mechanical watch lovers once again. We have certainly been seeing a lot of focus on high-end or more mainstream luxury women’s pieces at the SIHH 2014 show in Geneva. So are the watch brands going to have success with complex, fully mechanical timepieces for women? I really don’t know, but I do know that F.P. Journe’s submission to feminine horological discrimination is extremely clever.

F.P. Journe Elegante Ladies Watch Is High-End Quartz Even A Man Could Covet Hands-On

F.P. Journe Elegante Ladies Watch Is High-End Quartz Even A Man Could Covet Hands-On

To be honest I don’t know if I like the design simply because it is pretty, or because it packages so much of what I like about F.P. Journe’s intelligence and design in a package so uniquely suited for the female demographic. While there are women who want traditional mechanical watches, Journe is betting that it isn’t as many as the industry might hope for. So for the guy who is the ultimate mechanical watch snob, he sought out to build an incredible quartz movement.

Yes, F.P. Journe has a hand-made quartz movement watch designed by him and produced in collaboration with a partner in Switzerland. It is probably the most high-end quartz movement produced today. The movement inside of the  Elegante watches is known as the caliber 1210 and is an electro-mechanical system with some clever features as well as the requisite level of F.P. Journe quality and attention.

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  • The decoration on the movement is more innovative and well executed than 70% of mechanical movements currently out there…

    • cheerss

      You must be kidding.

  • Ulysses31

    It’s a quirky and interesting watch with some genuinely beautiful design flourishes especially on the movement.  I question the use of rubber on the watch – unlike a strap you can’t swap it out once it gets damaged or decays.  As for the power saving feature, the FPJ sleeps after 30-40 minutes which is why the battery (potentially) lasts so long.  In a Seiko with auto-relay function, the watch sleeps after three days, and in some models after six months.  It’s no wonder the FPJ has a long overall battery life with such a draconian power policy.  Even then, the Seiko power unit is a rechargeable battery and not disposable so were it to implement a sleep mode after just half an hour, I expect the overall life would be colossal.  Perhaps it would make more sense for the FPJ to sleep whenever it is dark and it isn’t possible to read it.  A solar powered movement would be more convenient.

  • Donna Lankford

    I love this watch!  Thanks for sharing and posting such BEAUTIFUL pictures!

  • carolyn h

    Well if it were mechanical I would have a new grail. I love the aesthetic. As it is, I can resist. I too question the life of the rubber. When I invest in this kind of luxury watch I’d expect to pass it on.

  • AtotheG

    Ariel, do you have any idea how the release of this watch will affect Journe’s overall yearly output?  I know they pride themselves on producing 800-900 pieces a year.

  • gleam

    It’s a 32768hz quartz oscillator with no claims of thermocompensation. Why build a high-end quartz movement but (presumably) only give it $1 quartz accuracy?

  • gleam

    Zzyzx I think the idea is: if you bought this watch, set the time, and then promptly left it in a drawer (no light) and forgot about it for 15 years, as soon as you picked it up it would start showing the current time. Except since it’s probably +/- 15 seconds per month, it could be as much as 45 minutes off. 

    An eco-drive battery will last 20+ years before it can no longer hold a charge, but they typically won’t last more than 1.5 years without being recharged by light. So an eco-drive in a drawer for 15 years will have stopped running 13.5 years earlier.  The Citizen A010 (their +/- 5spy eco-drive movement in the newest chronomasters) will die after 18 months, or 7 months if the crown is pulled. This is because Citizen’s power-save feature won’t activate with the crown in the first or second positions.

  • Very elegant watch. The design and colours are awesome. I want all these colours in my collection. Thanks for posting this!

  • Kris C

    Keeping in mind they are ladies watches, I think they do quite well… except for the pink one. Girls like pink, got it – but the same colour as salmon-flavored cream cheese?

    The green one is my favourite I guess. A unique shade that would work well in the right setting.

  • nateb123

    Ulysses31 I’m sure you can replace the rubber inserts, in the same way that you can replace a glued-in aluminum/ceramic/painted bezel insert.

    As for the sleep function, it’s a bit silly given that a woman could leave her watch on the bedside table, wake up in the morning and see the totally wrong time.  Giving it a morning shake just so you can read it seems bizarre.

    As for the design itself, nice movement design but ugly everything else.  The case is too blocky for most women to consider, clashes horribly with the round dial, and rubber was a huge mistake.  The real reason for it is that rubber straps and inserts can be made CHEAP, in whatever pantone colour you ask for, in small batches.  Makes the whole thing look cheap and unattractive though.

  • AtotheG

    Stopped by Journe boutique today to see these in the flesh (found out they’re not arriving ’til March) and got my question answered.  Apparently these are not going to be mass produced and the company still plans on making less than 900 watches each year.

  • cheerss

    This is the watch that made me seriously question FP Journe as a brand. Previously a huge fan. But now I realize that the watches are overpriced and heavy on gimmicks/marketing. Look at this $20k quartz piece that the Japanese can annihilate. Look at their ridiculous gold movements (that are poorly finished, for the price and relative to its competitors). Look at the FPJ Resonance – simply putting two basic movements into one case to achieve ‘dual time’, and then adding the gimmick that the two balance wheels somehow increase accuracy to justify its absurd list price – when tests show it is no more accurate that any COSC piece. No thanks.

    • Seth Lim

      so stun with disappointment i scald my wrist frying up some bacon and eggs 20 minutes ago

      • cheerss


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