Author Topic: F.P.Journe Élégante 48 Titanium: A Review (so far...)  (Read 2981 times)

Offline r3kahsttub

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F.P.Journe Élégante 48 Titanium: A Review (so far...)
« on: August 28, 2021, 01:24:55 AM »
For the longest time ever, I contemplated penning some of my thoughts in here, taking much inspiration from many of the MWF old-timers, but especially from bro @hanz079. His AP 15400 Royal Oak journey and Rolex 116710 BLNR reviews especially, have stuck in my head even after all these years. But because I have never had the propensity for writing (nor did I have anything different enough that had not already been written about), I put it off (over and over again) for many years.

Finally, here we are { this is going to be a long one }.

Hold on, F.P. who...?



To start things off: I'd only heard about F.P.Journe from a friend back in 2017. He was considering between an Aquanaut and a Chronomètre Bleu and I thought he was crazy to consider the not-Patek at the time. But over the (next few) years, when I came across the brand, I made sure to take the time and read a little bit more. In all honesty, I was intrigued by the stratospherical appreciation of the Chronomètre Bleu (at the time, on par with Aquanaut and today, far surpassing!) -- even if that wasn't one of the few models which piqued my interest. Being a bigger sized fella, it was actually FPJ's Linesport collection, the only model that is sold on bracelet, which caught my interest.

Maison FPJ has incredibly low production numbers, just 800-900 watches per year, and across the entire range. Some still do not know this, but Chanel acquired a minority stake of 20% in FPJ for an undisclosed sum, stating their intent to ensure the brand's sustainability, yet maintain their autonomy. FPJ is the only watchmaker to produce internal components for all its watches in 18k gold.

Should you want to know more in-depth about the man and his brand, ACM has an incredible article here.

Retail prices which I couldn't afford, low production numbers and not an AD in sight... I simply closed that book and didn't think I'd be back so soon -- after all, back in 2018/19, I had other grail watches in that range.

What's happened from 2017 up to 2021?



I only discovered the Élégante when FPJ debuted the Titalyt model in 2019. Being the entry model into the brand, I viewed it as perhaps the only Journe I would ever be able to afford. I restrain myself from buying watches from the grey market, so MYR60k was the most I would have ever paid for any watch. Things were different too, back in 2019 -- the Élégante occasionally cropped up on various forum marketplaces, usually for 10-20% below retail prices. And so, in my head, no rush to get one. No need to kancheong at all, I told myself.

Fast forward to Q1 2021 and we're now one year into an endless battle with the virus. The world is sick, and its people have gone mad over steel Rolex, AP and PP. Prices kept surging from what used to be 1.x of retail pricing, to double or triple that amount. This effectively pit my watch grails deep into "unobtanium" territory.

There were also several... unexpected purchases towards Q4 2020. I'd broken my own rules, buying not one but two of the most expensive Seikos I never thought I would. Hey, I'd just bought my first Spring Drive, so what the heck am I doing looking at another quartz watch... right!?

But from nowhere, IG recommended a local dealer who had an Élégante 48 for sale. By Q2 2020, these were already starting to disappear from marketplace listings, occasionally appearing on C24 at higher prices, so my heart started to race. The story from here on is pretty complicated... let's just say that, while this watch belonged to a friend and I was promised first dibs, I eventually had to buy it through said dealer. Yes, at a higher price than what I was hoping to pay. On a positive note, the dealer was friendly and open to meet in-person, allowing me not just to look-see, but also try on the watch for size.

This was an important point to note: I had no reference points. While I do like tonneau shaped watches, but I simply had no idea how they wore. Oh and a 48 mm watch?? Would that fit my wrist? I mean, I draw the line at 47 mm Panerai after all...

Thankfully, this was a time when there were fewer restrictions. So I met with the dealer over a coffee and tried the watch on. And then spent the next few days trying very hard not to think of the watch. I asked the dealer for 5 days, just to let it simmer, but called him by the third day to express my intent to purchase. My funds are not unlimited, which meant there was a need to liquidate other watches to fulfil the purchase... but it was a risk I was willing to take.

Was this an impulse buy? Yes, you could certainly say so. But since it didn't seem likely I would ever get a call to purchase an AP or PP at retail, the madness tipped over.

So... what is this watch?



The watch is part of the Élégante Collection in the FPJ line-up. Initially created for the wives of his collectors who also wanted a FPJ on their wrist, Journe set out to design and create a quartz model for that reason (yes, not mechanical). Powering this watch is FPJ's Calibre 1210, which is a hybrid quartz movement. Why hybrid?

Look at the 4 o'clock aperture and you'll notice a "hole" and what seems like it could be a tourbillon. This is in fact, a mechanical oscillating weight, which rotates when there is physical movement. The watch, after 35 minutes of inactivity, goes into a "snooze" mode where the hands simply stop moving. FPJ's novel method of detecting movement will then "wake" the watch, its hands taking the shortest path to the correct hour and minute. FPJ says that, when worn in rotation, its battery can last for up to 18 years. Worn daily, FPJ claims the Élégante will continue to tick between 8 to 10 years -- which certainly is an impressive feat.

While the Élégante 40 debuted in 2014, Journe later introduced the Élégante 48 in 2016, due to high demand from his male clientele. The watch case is made of grade 5 Titanium and in 2019, FPJ introduced the Titalyt model -- which is Titanium, further treated in an electro-plasma oxidation to increase hardness and resistance to wear and corrosion. Of course, I didn't really have a choice with picking a variant, but I genuinely prefer the standard Titanium -- it is the only Journe model to have both brushed and polished finishes (Titalyt has a matte, sand-blasted finish on the entire case, in a dark grey shade / other models have polished finishes only).

For those who were curious, both the Élégante 48 Titanium and Élégante 48 Titalyt have the same retail price.



For me, the Élégante 48 is an aesthetically pleasing watch; form is just as important to me as function. I especially like the legible white dial and the signature FPJ font for the numerals. I'm pleased to share that the screws that hold the dial down are aligned the same way. The Élégante's case shape is straight off the Vagabondage (I, II and III). Oh, the knurled crown is common across all FPJ watches and the seconds register is similar to that on the Chronomètre Optimum. These were all huge plus points in my book.





On the wrist

All Élégante models are delivered on (mostly) rubber straps with deployant. There isn't very much to elaborate about the rubber itself. I can only say that it feels like a quality rubber strap and is very comfortable on the wrist. The inner part of the rubber strap carries a series of embossed FPJ logos and while it looks good, no one will see it. At time of writing this review, the Élégante 48 is sold with a choice of 10 different strap colours and in 3 different sizes (S, M, L), all of which are available for purchase separately from a FPJ boutique or AD. They're not cheap: I got mine from the HK boutique for $3,500 HKD each, even if they feel like they will stand the test of time. For reference sake, I have an 18.2cm, nearly flat wrist, and I wear a medium strap on the 4th pinhole (from max).

Strap changes were initially a headache for me -- because there is no FPJ presence in Malaysia (closest AD is THG in SG, boutique in HK or JP), I had to figure it out myself. But, with the help from some friends on IG, I learnt that all you really need is a Bergeon size 200 flat-head. Or really, any 2 mm flat-head driver will suffice. That, along with some guts, a toothpick, some tape... and fantastic IG instructional videos; if anyone needs this link, drop me a PM and I'll send it over.



Matching attire to a watch has never really been my thing, I can't be arsed to play matchy matchy. However, I have always steered away from overly dressy watches. The Élégante is my slimmest, dressiest watch yet and while it goes well with formal-ish attire (khaki and midnight blue are best), I am also perfectly comfortable wearing it with shorts and t-shirt. In fact, my wardrobe is a bland mix of black, grey and blues, so the ability to swap to some summer-vibe straps has been great! My favourite has to be the highlighter yellow which is currently mounted on the watch.

On the subject of straps, this can be quite a crazy affair in the FPJ universe as well. There used to be a turquoise (or Tiffany if you will) strap available for the Élégante 48, but has now been discontinued. They have been known to sell, strap only, for upwards of £10,000. As far as I know, this is still available for the Élégante 40 (but sadly will not fit my watch -- I asked).

On wrist experience has been very good so far. It wears very comfortably on my wrist and, while I may be biased here, looks great on my wrist. It may have "monster" 48x40 mm dimensions but has short lugs which dramatically taper down, so it is quite forgiving. This is also my slimmest watch, at just 7.35 mm height. And although it only has a WR of "just" 30m, I know folks who have brought their watches for swimming in the ocean and in pools and with no sob stories after.

Did I also mention the whole dial is covered in Super Luminova? Yes, the whole watch glows in the dark. Kinda cool, depending on the situation. I can't tell for sure because I've been stuck at home through this lockdown and it doesn't seem likely I'll be visiting a cinema any time soon.



Waitaminit... did you say this is a quartz watch!?

Yes, yes I did.

But helping to make this more palatable is the hand-finished, decorative battery cover which is visible through the display caseback and decked out in red gold (which has a higher copper content). Red gold is a material which Journe is known for using across all his watches and um, the next time someone tells me all quartz watches are boring, I'll just have to show them this watch...

In the real world, this also meant that this watch is one of the few practical watches that I simply pick to go. No need to worry about winding a watch, or setting the time and date (sometimes even day and month!). And in the time that I've owned the watch... well, I've never been late.





Final thoughts

Okay, okay... I've spent too much time on this and it is the wee hours today morning. After 5 months with this watch, what do I think?

At its retail price of $18,800 SGD, the Élégante is FPJ's entry level model and the only quartz in the line-up. For that money, I would say that the price is justified. Very reasonable. However, market price today has sky-rocketed: I watched as the Élégante 48 was transacting for under retail in early 2019, rising sharply in the last 18 months to nearly 3 times sticker price today -- blowing (way) past my "unobtanium" level.

Like I mentioned, I caved and bought from the grey market, paying over retail (although not current market prices). Let me repeat myself: I hate buying from grey market... but the small production numbers, lack of presence in the country and difficulty with acquisition, in some sick and twisted way, were catalysts in my decision. And I'm glad I pulled the trigger.

Honestly, this was worth it -- those who know tend to strike up conversation while those who do not, well... its just a quartz watch bro :-)

Would I get another Journe in the future? Yes, most certainly a mechanical one. I have my eyes on the Linesport Octa S. I certainly hope so. But for now, I've depleted the piggybank, not to mention other new commitments. Perhaps someday... one man can dream. For now, this is my proudest acquisition.



Thank you for taking the time to let me share my thoughts and I hope that this also inspires you to share some parts of your horology story. I apologize for the inconsistent photos -- some were simply taken with a mobile phone, while others were from a camera (when I had more MCO time): not all are sized and cropped consistently. Oh, and the watch is also sometimes dirty  ::)

For those who may be interested, I share some of my pictures on Instagram (@itsjw0n) here. If you enjoyed my pictures, kasi satu Like there as well, please!  :Cheers:
« Last Edit: August 28, 2021, 11:40:53 PM by r3kahsttub »

Offline hanz079

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Re: F.P.Journe Élégante 48 Titanium: A Review (so far...)
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2021, 08:25:07 AM »
Awesome awesome writeup. Nothing beats the emotional side when getting a watch. The study and research that went into it all makes the overall experience an unforgettable one.
Congratz bro and wear it in good health.  :Cheers:
Terrenceterrence "seriously, i think buying a watch for it's secondhand value is like getting married and thinking about divorce at the back of your mind."


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Online jf98

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Re: F.P.Journe Élégante 48 Titanium: A Review (so far...)
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2022, 11:44:52 AM »
Great writeup Won, thanks for sharing!  :)

Offline qazsiz

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Re: F.P.Journe Élégante 48 Titanium: A Review (so far...)
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2022, 07:46:53 AM »
Nothing beats that feeling of getting a watch you always wanted. Congrats!! :thumbsup:

Offline The Middle Man

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Re: F.P.Journe Élégante 48 Titanium: A Review (so far...)
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2022, 02:34:10 PM »
The world is sick, all chase after the 5 pointed crown, i admire watch like this more actually

Offline DonFlamingo

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Re: F.P.Journe Élégante 48 Titanium: A Review (so far...)
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2022, 05:47:51 PM »
Awesome review man, love the personal connection you have with this beauty.

Offline r3kahsttub

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Re: F.P.Journe Élégante 48 Titanium: A Review (so far...)
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2022, 01:42:24 PM »
Awesome awesome writeup. Nothing beats the emotional side when getting a watch. The study and research that went into it all makes the overall experience an unforgettable one.
Congratz bro and wear it in good health.  :Cheers:

Thank you bro Hanz. After this one, I have become a rather emotional buyer  :HammerHead:

Great writeup Won, thanks for sharing!  :)

Thank you very much bro!

Nothing beats that feeling of getting a watch you always wanted. Congrats!! :thumbsup:

Over 1 year in and I still feel the same way when I pick her up from the box.

The world is sick, all chase after the 5 pointed crown, i admire watch like this more actually

Correction is here, I hope :-)

Awesome review man, love the personal connection you have with this beauty.

Thank you very much for the kind words bro.