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Fonderie 47 Inversion Principle Tourbillon Watch Is Part AK-47 Gun

Fonderie 47 Inversion Principle Tourbillon Watch Is Part AK-47 Gun Watch Releases

It has been a few years now since I first sat down with co-founder of Fonderie 47 John Zapolski in San Francisco to discuss the interesting new brand concept. Without showing me any products at all, he excited me with a harrowing tale of traveling to Africa, and trying to acquire the first lot of AK-47 machine guns to go back to the United States in order to start production on the brand’s set of “gun-based jewelry and watches.” Of the more memorable parts of the story were how he and business partner Peter Thum needed to find a machinist in the middle of crap country who could cut apart the guns so that they could legally be imported.

Peter and John were gonna throw high-brow charity events and sell the luxury items as feel-good stuff that was partially made from the metal of guns, the purchase of which, were to help fund the removal of guns from war-torn parts of Africa. It was a solid concept if they could get it off the ground. And thankfully moving forward they didn’t need to go to Africa itself.

Fonderie 47 Inversion Principle Tourbillon Watch Is Part AK-47 Gun Watch Releases

Fonderie 47 Inversion Principle Tourbillon Watch Is Part AK-47 Gun Watch Releases

While the watch was years off, the brand was in the planning phase. Their guiding principle was to work with notables from Switzerland who were the best. You may recall the Fonderie 47 transforming cufflinks (covered here), that were designed by Roland Iten. Now two years later the Fonderie 47 super-lux watch is finally here. It was known for a while that it was going to be pretty high-end with a target price of about $300,000 or more. Fonderie 47 didn’t want to market the watch but rather to sell it direct to their niche pool of elite customers. Then Zapolski informed me that he was no longer part of Fonderie 47. The press release for this Inversion Principle watches doesn’t even mention his name. Not really sure about the details, but business is business I guess.

I was pleased and excited to see that the designer of the Inversion Principle watch is someone that aBlogtoWatch has covered before, and also someone I’ve known for years: Adrian Glessing. In the past we referred to him as “Virtual Ideas,” and showed off a couple of his cool concept watches here such as the Big Time, and the Toxic Linear. Now he can add the Inversion Principle to his portfolio, which is quite exciting as it was actually produced. The Inversion Principle will be produced by David Canadaux at Du Val Des Dois in Switzerland.

Fonderie 47 Inversion Principle Tourbillon Watch Is Part AK-47 Gun Watch Releases

So onto the watch itself. I love how it is both basic and quite complicated at the same time. It features something that is very rare (though not unheard of) being a centrally-mounted tourbillon. The tourbillon is a flying tourbillon and rotates once each three minutes. It has three hands which, one at a time, run across a seconds scale – for that indication. According to Glessing, the dial is thematically supposed to look a bit like the sight of an AK-47 gun.


Above the tourbillon is an instant-jump, jumping hour indicator. Below is a retrograde minute counter. One the side of the case as well as on the movement is a power reserve indicator (I like that there are two for some reason). The manually wound movement has about six days of power reserve and nicely mixes traditional aesthetics with a modern feel. Of course there is some AK in the watch – which is the rear-plate of the movement. Fonderie 47 says that the darker metal piece of the movement uses metal from the destroyed guns. Apparently for each watch they sell they can fund the destruction of 1,000 AK-47 guns. How does that work exactly? The basic idea is that they exchange cash for guns literally buying them from the people of Africa (for your wearing pleasure).

Fonderie 47 Inversion Principle Tourbillon Watch Is Part AK-47 Gun Watch Releases

It goes without saying that the Fonderie 47 concept, albeit marketing genius, is controversial. While I am not particularly sensitive, I can imagine that some people might be miffed about wearing a watch with metal from a gun that was likely used to kill people by child soldiers. The brand could retort and say that at least the metal is no longer part of a gun used to kill people by child soldiers, but still. Bad juju, is bad juju… The Inversion Principle watch itself is 42mm wide and will be ultra limited to just 20 pieces total. That is 10 pieces in 18k white gold and 10 pieces in 18k red gold.

For what its worth, the concept and message behind the Inversion Principle watch is unique and worth a premium. Fonderie 47 isn’t just a “different” kind of watch or luxury brand, it is a different type of brand altogether. One that can only exist in the ironically consumptive universe that is ultra-high-end luxury. The Inversion Principle by is bang banging its way into reality soon, at the price of $350,000 each.

Fonderie 47 Inversion Principle Tourbillon Watch Is Part AK-47 Gun Watch Releases

Inversion Principle Technical Specifications

Limited edition of 20 pieces: 10 in 18k white gold, 10 in 18k red gold

Key features: Central three-minute flying tourbillon; instantaneous jumping hours; 240° retrograde minutes; central seconds from tourbillon cage; crown pusher quick-set hour adjustment; six-day power reserve with both lateral and back indications; metal from transformed assault weapon.

Created by: David Candaux/Du Val Des Bois
Designed by: Adrian Glessing
Place of Manufacture: La Vallée de Joux, Switzerland

Indications: Jumping hours, 240° retrograde minutes; central seconds on tourbillon cage; lateral power reserve indicator on case band and power reserve indicator on back

Case and strap
Material: 18k white gold or 18k red gold
Sapphire crystal traversed by embedded gold bezel bridge framing tourbillon cage
Lateral sapphire window in case band for power reserve indicator
Dimensions: 42mm x 14.6mm
Water resistance: 30m/100’/3ATM
Dial: Translucent glass and sapphire crystal with enameled minutes and seconds
Strap and clasp: hand stitched alligator strap with gold pin buckle matching case. Brown leather with red gold case or black leather with white gold case

Caliber F47-001
Regulator: Central three-minute flying tourbillon
Tourbillon cage: gold counter weight and curved to follow sapphire crystal
Jumping hour: thin mechanism (patented)
Retrograde seconds: mechanism with light aluminum arm and precision regulator
LIGA plate: platform for tourbillon and fixed seconds wheel by Mimotech
Power reserve: six days
Balance frequency: 18,000bph (2.5Hz)
Balance spring: Breguet overcoil and distinctive balance spring stud
Jewels: 38
Steel plate from transformed AK47 − serial number ’56-3701F42′ − in form of the Fonderie 47 symbol on ratchet wheel visible through display back.
Finishing: Sun ray guilloche; hand engraving; hand polished bevels; heat-blued screws and power reserve indicator on back.

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  • Gee Z

    Amazing execution and aesthetically pleasing!

  • lojolondon

    I think he should go to Africa after all, just to keep tabs on the market, because if he is paying $350 per AK47 in Africa then he is paying way over the odds!!

    • Kris C

      lojolondon your math assumes that 100% of the cost of a watch goes to the purchase of the guns. I’m sure the brand enjoys thing like keeping the lights on, eating once in a while and, you know, profits.

      • lojolondon

        Kris C lojolondon  I know what you mean, but he said “Apparently for each watch they sell they can fund the destruction of 1,000 AK-47 guns.” – he didn’t say each watch DOES fund the destruction of 1000 guns… So I guess he gets to eat after all!

        • Kris C

          lojolondon I think more likely is that they do destroy 1000 guns for every watch, because it only costs a few $ to do it in an area that has more guns than fresh water. It doesn’t make sense to announce something like that and not do it.

  • Ryan B

    We now enter the realm of Blood Watches

  • Ulysses31

    Wow, what a gorgeous watch front and back.  Looks a bit like a kitchen scale.  Not sure about the gun theme.  I suspect you could destroy way more than 1000 guns for that kind of money.  While the origin of the metal may be a quandary for some, the fact is that three quarters of steel in use today is recycled, and it could be sourced from anything.  I’m assuming it is steel that they extract from the guns since I doubt a cheaply built rifle could contain any quantity of precious metals.

  • DG Cayse

    While I do think this is a beautifully executed timepiece; looks lovely and all that, I see this as nothing more than a “feel good” concept than accomplishes nothing but publicity and profits. (not that I view either as negative-quite the contrary)

    Another cocktail party concept to separate the fleece-able from their fleece.

  • MarkCarson

    I too like the watch (bathroom scale as it is) but I’m undecided on the humanitarian theme (I’m with D G Cayse on this). Getting guns out of conflict areas is not a bad thing. But I always question motives and results when product and profit are involved.

    The ‘photos’ look like very nice renders to me. I wonder if they have actually build any watches yet. Or are they waiting to fund production and gun recycling from the first patron’s deposit?

    • Ryan B

      MarkCarson yes it does look like a bathroom scale

      • MarkCarson

        Ryan B I was just (poorly) echoing the scale comment by Ulysses31. I just switched rooms 🙂

  • ZL

    Ugh. Feel-good concept? I don’t know. Somehow I imagine something like this would feel heavier than its actual weight. Luxury stuff is already ethically controversial, and I just imagine some opulent person wearing this $350K watch as a conversation piece at some party with other similarly wealthy people. Leaves a bad taste. But who knows, maybe such conversation would bring attention from the rich people and maybe action toward addressing the problem. But still…

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