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Fonderie 47 Transforming Cufflinks By Roland Iten

Fonderie 47 Transforming Cufflinks By Roland Iten Watch Style

While these cufflinks are not a watch and don’t tell the time, they are closely related to the watch industry. They are also the first cool item from an interesting brand which has just officially made its debut.

The brand is Fonderie 47 (which I will explain more below) and the man who designed these cuff links for them is Roland Iten – a friend and very talented inventor who conceives things like the world’s most expensive belt buckles. Now he has designed what is likely the world’s most complicated and expensive cuff links. Check out my coverage and video of a Roland Iten belt buckle here.

Roland Iten has not yet produced a watch, though he has designed a number of concept watches that if ever made will be truly incredible. Roland Iten’s workshops is actually part of the Richemont Group and his inventions are both useful and luxurious.

The Fonderie 47 Cufflinks are a shining example of the type of things that Roland can dream up. And as far as I know this is the only item that he has produced which has a purely aesthetic function. In short this is a men’s bracelet that transforms into a pair of cufflinks. You can then combine them again to be a wearable bracelet. I should note that these are not the first pair of cufflinks that Roland Iten has designed.

Fonderie 47 Transforming Cufflinks By Roland Iten Watch Style

The cufflinks are going to be extremely limited in production. Only 20 pairs of this style will be produced. Using the same machines that produce Swiss watches, these cufflinks will be made from mostly 18k rose and white gold, as well as metal from an AK-47 assault rifle.

That latter part is no joke. Fonderie 47 items will all contain metal from AK-47s. In fact, the purpose of the brand is help rid Africa of assault rifles – the most common of which is the Russian-made AK-47. The durable and universally known machine gun that takes a lot of abuse will now find its way into high-end men’s and women’s items. For launch the brand is starting with a couple of rings and these cufflinks. Overtime they will release more items – all done as partnerships with some of the world’s best designers and craftspeople. And yes, at least one watch is coming.

The idea is simple.The sales of these high-end items will help raise funds that will go to organizations to be used to destroy guns in Africa that are often used as currency. The availability of the guns had numerous negative effects ranging from violence to the abuse of woman and children. Since they are often used in trade, Fonderie 47 learned a while ago that in Africa guns must be removed from circulation and destroyed in order to diminish these negative effects. Once they are, since prices of assault rifles are about 1/4 in Africa what they are in the rest of the world, resupply with significantly higher priced weapons is not possible at a 1:1 rate.

They claim that the sale of one pair of cufflinks is enough to fund the purchase and destruction of 100 assault rifles in Africa. Fonderie 47 was started by John Zapolski and Peter Thum. I actually sat down for a while with John last year to interview him about Fonderie 47, its products, and all the nitty-gritty details about guns in Africa.

Fonderie 47 Transforming Cufflinks By Roland Iten Watch Style

What I like about this project is that Fonderie 47 isn’t the type of company to make a philanthropic claim that it may only possibly ever be able to fulfill. The entire flow of going into Africa to find and buy guns, as well as destroy them has been considered and planned. They had to do it at least a bit to get machine gun metal for their launch products. I did put John to the test with many probing question and feel pretty confident that the claims of the brand are not mere marketing dribble.

Fonderie 47’s clients will also demand accountability. Sale of the items at launch is exclusively through special events and parties. To buy these items you need to know the right people and be in the right places. The cufflinks and rings are not cheap either. These are items meant to be luxurious but also further a cause. When pushing a brand to some of the world’s most elite clients, you need to back up all of your claims.

In my opinion Fonderie 47 really has a chance to be a very special brand. The concept and people are cool, and the products are interesting. I would totally wear this Roland Iten item in its cufflinks or bracelet form. The Fonderie 47 Cufflinks will be limited to just 20 pieces and the price for each will be 30,000 Swiss Francs.

About the Author

Fueled by an unshakable love for horology and a general curiosity for intricate things, Ariel Adams founded aBlogtoWatch in 2007 as a means of sharing his passion. Since then, ABTW has become the highest trafficked blog on luxury timepieces, and Ariel has become a contributor to other online publications such as Forbes, Departures and Tech Crunch, to name just a few. His conversational writing style and inclusive attitude brings a wider appreciation for watches the world over, and that's just the way he likes it.

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  • Tristan

    I find it just a little bit tragic that such neat things are so far out of the common man’s reach. I understand the intention behind scarcity with regards to these sorts of things, but that doesn’t really reduce the desire. Scarcity doesn’t really increase desire if you happen to be of a realist disposition. Sad that the disappointment spoils the product.

  • kris c

    If they can only buy 100 guns from Africa for $30k+, they’re getting taken for a ride. You can get an ak-47 for a pack of cigarettes over there.

    I can’t comment on this item because there is no picture of it used as a cufflink, so I don’t get it at this point. I must say they have to be really big if they can combine forces and become a bracelet.

  • CG

    Absolutely rediculous! 30K SWF for 100 AK’s! These guys are profiting handsomely on Africa’s misery… what a disgraceful sham this is. Think of the flip side of this issue; firearms in Africa have PROTECTED AND PREVENTED the complete eradication of numerous tribes. I don’t get the logic of taking guns away and making people defenseless. They will only be slaughted by those that have guns. Why isn’t the effort made to stop the Russians selling the guns? Stop it at the source. I despise these do-good types that never look at the global picture. I would never buy or support a campaign like this, you can bet they’re not paying 30K for 100 AK’s! BS!

    • I mean, we are talking about a business right? They can’t dedicate all their money to getting rid of guns. Trust me, this is much much better than most such campaigns in terms of delivering on their promises.

      • maestromind

        Sure, but assuming they’re not completely inept the total cost to buy each rifle should not be over $30, and that’s a very generous amount accounting for hiring locals and shipping. This means that less than 10% of every dollar spent goes to do what the entire company is attempting to sell itself as.

        I’m sorry but I can’t buy your argument that their clients will be the ones to hold them to their word. I know that scene very well (as I’d have imagined you do as well) and the reason these people buy into such empty promises (or go to charity events and auctions at all) is by and large to feel good about themselves, not to actually help a cause.
        Anyone who earned enough discretionary income to buy a pair of these cufflinks has enough sense to know that their money would go a lot farther with a donation to a real charity. But then they wouldn’t have a pair of $30k cufflinks.

        • I don’t disagree that these are expensive. That is sort of the point of them. Clearly if you are buying these in order to specifically destroy guns it is not your best bet. These are pure luxury items that focus on design and a less than boring story behind them. When I say that their clients will hold them to their word – what I mean is that their process needs to be transparent enough that when some one asks “how exactly are you going to get rid of guns” at some socialite party, the Fonderie 47 people will have to respond plausibly.

        • Johnny

          The point isn’t to see how cheaply they can swindle these people out of an AK-47. They would obviously like to offer some sort of price that favors them.

          • maestromind

            Well I guess in that case their real service is helping arms manufacturers while teaching Africans about arbitrage.

          • Johnny


            How does buying a gun second hand have any beneficiary impact on arms manufacturers?

            African’s don’t speak Swedish, so there’s no possible way to teach them about arbitrage.

        • maestromind


          What does speaking Swedish have to do with it? They’ll sell their guns at the inflated price to Foundry47 and then buy replacements at the local market price pocketing the difference.

  • maestromind

    I have to agree 100% with kris and CG. The margin that this “charity” is taking is ridiculous. $325 for an AK? I can get one for that much money here in the States!

    Furthermore, I would imagine that the company’s buyers aren’t specifically taking guns away from warlords but rather from people who need to make the choice of buying food for their family or keeping them safe. As CG said – this naive attempt at ending violence will only serve to increase it in a twist of tragic irony.

    Finally, as kris said – these must be enormous cufflinks if they can become a usable bracelet for a normal man’s wrist.

    • Greg

      Right, just so i’m clear on this, ‘guns don’t kill people, cufflinks do’?
      Is that the next banner i’ll be seeing at an NRA rally, because let me tell you, you’ll have to take my silver, mother of pearl Dunhills off my cold, dead cuffs!

  • Johnny

    They should do a program similar to the “sponsor a child in Africa” deal.

    You buy the cuff-links and they send you a picture of someone in Africa holding the AK-47 that was used in making them.

    Then, you get picture updates of that person and how their life has changed now that they have no form of defense against rebels, lions, hyenas, and shit.

    And maybe you could send them a picture of you making some kind of cute gun gesture at the camera while wearing your cuff-links to a 3:15pm cruise ship magic show.

    As John Biggs always notes, why not just give them the money instead of coming up with some kind of “its the thought that counts” gimmick?

  • Greg

    That does it! I’m melting down my cufflink collection to forge some knives for these newly defenseless Africans! I’ve seen the Lion King, i know how rough it can get out there.

  • Ulysses

    I love the highly-engineered appearance of these cuff-links. What bothers me is that they’re partly made out of guns. Yes I understand the reason for it but I can’t imagine wearing something formed from a weapon which very well may have killed hundreds of people. An interesting way of making rich people care about someone other than themselves but they shouldn’t have to. If they really want to help dispose of these guns they could simply help raise funds for it from philanthropic individuals rather than tainting these cuff-links with metal from murder weapons. I don’t like the insinuation that you have to bribe people into doing the right thing via shiny products – despite the times there are still some people with a sense of decency who’d happily contribute to this cause.

    • Johnny

      How much will you be donating?

  • GaryG

    What I find offensive is for those who are doing nothing to criticize those who are doing something. Let’s give some credit here — how many of us have devised a profit-making venture that at the same time serves such a worthy cause?

    • CG

      Worthy cause? Profit making? Sure they could go hand in hand as long as the profit GOES TO the worthy cause. Let’s review a few facts:
      1. AK 47 all variants including clones range in price from 300usd to 600usd NEW! ragged out battle abused AK’s would command 100usd on the retail market. See the most recent issue Shotgun News a US firearm publication that covers the whole industry.
      2. Your assumption that those who criticize “do nothing” is patently false; I personally and as many others do, give to valid ongoing charities that funnel 80 to 90% of monies directly to those in need NOT 10% and make an 80/90% profit! These guys are making a few prducts and then gone.
      3. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a profit but off the misery that is Africa today is not the right venue and I believe it to be morally wrong. I would applaud these guys if the gave all the money to eradicate disease and poverty in Africa; not make them extremely vulnerable by taking away their only means to survive their enemies.
      4. These cufflinks/bracelet are 32000usd; 100 AK47’s are 10000usd in the US market in the bush it really would be way less. Here they would be making a 60% profit… Shameful for a charitable venture and that’s where they are trying to capitalize! On charity…. They would be prosecuted here.

  • zarco

    They’re a business too, people. They have to eat. They have to pay for the shipping, the skilled artists that have contracts with F47, the process and equipment to craft these….Idiots

  • PetrolierRose

    there is still available and how much is it in canadian dollar?

  • cool , i love it.

  • Really good.  but too heavy?