Chances are you’ve never heard of Fonderie 47, which is a real shame because this small company has a big vision to bring about positive change in the world, but they need your help to do it. Founded in 2009 by Peter Thum the goal of this small enterprise is to reduce the number of destabilizing assault weapons in Africa, specifically the notorious AK 47. The solution they have come up with is a rather unusual one but as luxury watch lovers I think you’re really going to like it.
Essentially, Fonderie 47 have decided to buy up as many of these instruments of destruction as they can get their hands on and transform them into something completely different; exclusive objects that will inspire change, raise awareness and fund the on-going destruction of additional weapons. Today marks the official launch of their first horological product, the breathtaking Inversion Principle.
The Inversion Principle
Designed by Adrian Glessing (he’s previously done work for Roger Dubuis and De Witt amongst others) and produced by David Candaux/Du Val Des Bois (the clever people behind Badollet’s incredible ‘Ivresse’ timepiece) exclusively for Fonderie 47, the Inversion Principle is truly a top quality piece of Haute Horology. Several years in the making the distinctive piece incorporates both visual and mechanical complexity to great effect. So much so in fact that it’s hard to know where to start when describing this exotic new timepiece.
Firstly, there is the instantaneous jumping hour indication shown at 12 o’clock and controlled by a quick- set pusher. A relatively simple complication perhaps but one of my favorites due to the value it adds from a legibility point of view. Next we find the 240° retrograde minutes display arcing across the bottom half of the dial, again a favorite complication of mine thanks to the enjoyable visual effect experienced when the hours change as well as the increased legibility it offers.
Of course the main highlight of the dial, without question, is the gorgeous three-minute flying tourbillon that takes pride of place centre stage. Unlike more traditional tourbillons, which complete a full rotation every 1 minute, this tourbillon spins at a much slower rate, allowing the viewer to fully appreciate its complex construction at his or her leisure. Three second-hands, equally spaced 120° apart around the tourbillon cage, nonchalantly wander across the seconds-scale above the tourbillon, completing one full rotation every three minutes. Only one of the second-hands is ever visible at time however with the other two hidden beneath the gold rifle-sight inspired frame set into the sapphire crystal.
Finishing off the design are two power reserve indicators that keep track of the impressive six-day power reserve. The first is shown laterally through a small, sapphire window on the left-side of the case, whilst the other is only revealed when you turn the watch over to admire the elegantly, if a little unusually, finished movement. I say unusually because in addition to the attractive sunray guilloche pattern and the hand polished bezels, the ratchet wheel has been capped by a dark plate of transformed steel from an actual destroyed AK47. The plate is in the form of the Fonderie 47 symbol and rotates as the watch is wound. As a final touch, ’56-3701F42′, the serial number of the destroyed weapon the metal is from, has been hand engraved beside the plate. It’s a subtle yet powerful reminder of just what this timepiece stands for.
Presented in a 42mm 18k white gold or red gold case and finished on a hand stitched alligator strap (brown leather for the red gold case and black leather for the white) with matching gold pin buckle, the Inversion Principle timepiece will be limited to just 20 pieces (10 in each metal) and will retail from US$350,000 with revenues from the sale of each timepiece used to fund the destruction of one thousand assault weapons in Africa.
The Final Word
Feel good, save the world vibe aside, I love this timepiece. It’s complex but easy to read, extremely well made and it really stands out from the crowd. The fact that buying one means that you’re going to make a significant positive change in someone else’s life only serves to heighten the appeal, especially because only twenty lucky individuals will be given this opportunity worldwide. So, if you have the disposable income required (and I know many of you do) please do give this piece some serious consideration, I am sure you will not regret it.