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F.P.Journe Francis Ford Coppola for Only Watch

To support the Only Watch 2021 chairty event, independent Swiss watchmaker F.P.Journe presents a unique piece based on a unique suggestion by Francis Ford Coppola, the celebrated American film director, producer, and screenwriter. The challenge was to create a wristwatch incorporating an automation that mimics the human hand for displaying the 12 hours with 5 fingers.
This idea dates back to 2012, and after several years of research and development, F.P.Journe has developed a prototype of this concept. The watchmaker has chosen the automatic Octa Calibre for creating this innovative wristwatch.

The year 2021 also marks the 20 years of the automatic Octa Calibre 1300. An automaton, working solely off the Octa movement’s mainspring, was no easy task.
The minutes are read by rotating disk at the 12 o’clock position, while the mobile fingers appear or disappear instantaneously to display the hour according to their positions. The fingers are inspired from a mechanical hand created by Ambroise Paré (1509-1590), the father of modern surgery.
The FFC prototype features a unique Tantalum case and blue hand, just like other F.P.Journe Only Watch timepieces in years past.
F.P. Journe’s creation for Only Watch 2021 is an interesting one – the FFC Blue, characterised by a hand on the dial that displays the hours.

Like F.P. Journe’s past contributions to Only Watch, the FFC Blue is powered by a prototype movement – rough around the edges and lots of character – and features a case of tantalum, the grey-blue metal synonymous with the bestselling Chronometre Bleu.

Named after the initials of Francis Ford Coppola, the film director best known for The Godfather, the FFC Blue originated in a 2012 visit to Mr Coppola’s residence. The director asked Mr Journe a seemingly innocuous question over dinner, wondering whether it was possible to tell the time with a human hand.

Mr Journe mulled it over and over several years devised a mechanism with the help of Mr Coppola, who sent sketches of the desired finger positions for each hour. F.P.Journe Francis Ford Coppola for Only Watch 2021 FFC

The unveiling of the FFC Blue also marks the 20th anniversary of the F.P. Journe Octa and its automatic cal. 1300 (it’s the second watch to mark the occasion in fact), which is the base movement of the FFC Blue.
At first glance, the FFC Blue is bizarre for F.P. Journe. The hand sculpture on the dial is unlike most of the brand’s other designs, which are mostly conservative and often Breguet-inspired.

Upon closer examination, indeed a bizarre watch it is – in a good way.

The mechanism is an impressive example of an automaton, a complex answer to a simple question: how can the human hand indicate 12 hours of time with individual fingers instantaneously extending or retracting?
F.P.Journe has just revealed a collaborative prototype watch with Francis Ford Coppola for Only Watch 2021.

Choosing to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the automatic Octa Calibre 1300, the watch is able to tell the time using a automaton that’s powered solely by the Octa movement’s mainspring. The automaton was directly inspired by the father of modern surgery, Ambroise Paré, where different fingers appear and disappear to indicate the hour; a rotating disk indicator at the 12 o’clock position reveals the minutes.

Named the FFC Blue, this prototype took two years to refine the idea followed by seven years of development. François-Paul Journe comments, “This watch was born in 2012 while having dinner at Francis Ford Coppola’s house in the Napa Valley. He asked me if it could be possible to tell time with a hand in a watch. I replied that the idea was interesting and required thinking about it. But how to display 12 hours with 5 fingers? It was not an easy matter and this complex challenge inspired and motivated me. Once I figured it out, Francis immediately sent the sketches for the fingers’ positions. After more than 2 years, I could finally focus on ‘Fecit.’ After 7 years of development, I am proud to present the FFC prototype.”

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