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Just reading the name F.P. Journe x Francis Ford Coppola is already disconcerting: what does the always discreet François-Paul Journe, not very fond of cameras and events, have to do with Francis Ford Coppola who, like it or not, is a symbol of Hollywood spectacle. The answer can be found in Journe’s own account:

This clock was born in 2012 while dining at Francis Ford Coppola’s house in Napa Valley. He asked me if it was possible to tell the time with a hand on a watch face. I replied that the idea was interesting and worth thinking about. But how do you show 12 hours with 5 fingers?

We are therefore faced with something born of a provocation from Coppola towards the great genius of watchmaking. From here, the “Invenit”, the thought of how to combine the fingers to indicate 12 numbers, was carried out by Coppola. The “Fecit”, the turning of the idea into reality by mechanical means, was done by Journe.

F.P. Journe x Francis Ford Coppola - simbolos

The image above shows what Coppola came up with. From 1 to 5 it is obvious and evident. From 6 to 9 it is no longer obvious but follows a definite pattern. 10, 11 and 12 seem more forced. Anyway, I doubt that the future owner of this watch will use it to read the time.

F.P. Journe x Francis Ford Coppola - Ambroise Pare

The second part, how to transfer these “digital” indications to a mechanical device, has already been the task of F.P. Journe. The first thing to be decided was the aesthetics of the automaton, and for this Journe turned to an orthopaedic mechanical hand devised in the 11th century by Ambroise Paré (1509-1590), to which he had recourse. who is considered to be the father of modern surgery.

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You will see that I have used the term Automaton because without a doubt the hand that is implemented on the dial of the F.P. Journe x Francis Ford Coppola, is one. Apart from the watch itself, this is the great conceptual surprise of this watch because we are more used to find automatons in watches from the great historical specialist Jaquet Droz, or in the more contemporary creations of Christophe Claret, than in a very sober firm from the aesthetic point of view as is F.P. Journe.

F.P. Journe x Francis Ford Coppola - esfera

It is a pity that F.P. Journe has not edited a video to show how the automaton works, so we will have to imagine it. Logically, I suppose it is a retractable mechanism, which by itself I guess will not be as complex as all the mechanisms and bearings that coordinate the movements of each finger depending on the time. Obviously these mechanisms have nothing to do with the classic gear train of a mechanical watch.

Given that the automaton of the hand prevents the implementation of central hands, the minutes are indicated by a method that is unusual for F.P. Journe. A rotating perimeter disc indicates the minutes by means of a fixed marker located at the height of what would be 12 o’clock on a conventional watch.

F.P. Journe x Francis Ford Coppola - fondo

One factor that does follow F.P. Journe’s standard with all the watches he has donated to the various editions of the Only Watch is that its case is made of tantalum, a transition metal that we rarely see in a watch. Its color is a peculiar shade of blue-gray and physically it is distinguished by its high hardness and resistance to corrosion.

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If we turn the F.P. Journe x Francis Ford Coppola over, the sapphire crystal on the case back reveals the FFC calibre 1300.3, a completely new movement, as required by the implementation of the automaton hand. On the perimeter ring of the case back we can read the term “Prototype”, which allows us to intuit that this edition Onland Watch will not be the only version of this special watch and that FFC (for Francis Ford Coppola) will probably be the term that will be used to name hypothetical future variants of this system of indicating the time.

F.P.Journe x Francis Ford Coppola - duo

This F.P. Journe x Francis Ford Coppola is similar to the Patek Philippe Complicated Desk Clock (article) as both are rare, totally unpublished watches donated to the Only Watch. They are watches that have never been seen before, but they are also watches that I have no doubt we will see new versions of in the future. Christie’s estimated price for this mechanical masterpiece at the Only Watch auction is in the range of CHF 300,000-400,000.

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