March 27, 2023
by Tom Roth
The development of the F.F.C. 2023 is a tale as old as time: acclaimed filmmaker dines with famous watchmaker. Watchmaker gets inspired. Watchmaker spends more than a decade developing singularly inventive timepiece. History of horology is changed forever. Joking aside, the story behind F.P. Journe’s latest timepiece — not to mention the timepiece itself — would make even the most jaded among us gasp in amazement. Thanks to unparalleled innovation and creativity, Journe’s “F.F.C.” timepiece announced at Watches & Wonders 2023 just might be the most innovative watch we’ll see all year.
To put it simply, the F.F.C. is a “digital” watch in the truest sense of the word. Abandoning an hour hand, the manually engraved gauntlet set upon the watch uses five digits in 12 different configurations to indicate hours. Thanks to a “remontoir d’égalité” — a mechanism Journe describes as similar to those used to move huge hands on building-sized clocks — the Octa 1300 in-house movement is able to push each finger into the correct position every hour, without compromising the watch’s overall power reserve. To preserve symmetry and avoid the problem of an unsightly post erupting from the back of the hand, the minutes have been cleverly moved to a rotating ring moving counterclockwise.
How did this watch come to be? As François-Paul Journe himself tells it, it was 2009 when Eleanor Coppola, wife of famous filmmaker Francis Ford, gifted her husband an F.P. Journe timepiece. Impressed, the auteur invited Journe to his Napa winery where, over dinner, he posited the question, “Have you ever considered displaying the hours in the way the ancients used to give them, by counting them on their fingers?” As one does, Journe spent the next four years pondering whether it was even possible to develop such a watch, another seven years actually building it, and another year or so perfecting it after its Only Watch 2021 debut where a prototype sold for $4.5 million USD. Twelve years after that fateful dinner with “FFC,” here we are.
Seeing the timepiece in motion is mesmerizing, with the digits snapping in and out of position in accordance with the hour. Instead of folding as a human hand does, the four fingers retract into the palm, yet the curve of the knuckle truly looks like they’ve magically curled down. Particularly impressive, too, is the way the thumb extends in and out, giving an appearance that looks natural despite the fact that it too is only moving on one axis. As if all this weren’t enough, the whole package is contained in a case that’s just 42mm in diameter and 10.7mm-thick. This being an F.P. Journe, the titanium hand requires 16 hours of precision engraving and is styled after a prosthetic developed by Ambroise Paré, a 16th-century doctor (you’ve heard of him, right?) who’s concurrently referred to in Journe’s excellent press materials as a “royal surgeon,” “the father of modern surgery,” and a “French genius.” Sounds to us like another steady-handed Frenchman we know.
F.P. Journe was unable to provide pricing information prior to press time. Learn more about the F.P. Journe F.F.C. at the brand’s website.
Brand: F.P. Journe
Model: Classique F.F.C.
Dimensions: 42mm diameter, 10.7mm-thick
Case Material: Platinum
Movement: F.P.Journe calibre 1300.3 in 18K rose gold. Off-center 22K white-gold rotor engraved “F.F.COPPOLA F.P.JOURNE”
Power Reserve: 120 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Black leather with quick-release
Price & Availability: Unknown