The Inversion Principle was among the list of preselected watches at this year’s GPHG, but before we would take a closer look at the this stunning watch, let’s see what Fonderie 47 is exactly.
Fonderie 47 is a social venture whose mission is to reduce the number and impact of assault rifles and other small arms around the world. They work with leading designers and artists to create jewelry, watches and accessories, using steel from AK47s that are recovered from African war zones. In turn, the sale of each piece funds the destruction of a specific number of assault rifles in Africa.
The founders were inspired to create Fonderie 47 by their own personal experiences of meeting children armed with assault rifles in Africa and their desire to transform this problem and engage others in this effort. The company’s programs are expanding to work to reduce the number and impact of small arms around the world.
Founded in 2009, the company launched its first collection in November of 2011 in New York City. Fonderie 47 programs have destroyed over 30,000 guns in Africa to date, working with the Nobel Prize winning NGO, Mines Advisory Group.
Fonderie 47 is a for-profit company, and a not-for-profit corporation. The sale of each piece of jewelry funds the destruction of a specific number of assault rifles in Africa. The related amount of revenue is donated by the company to the not-for-profit, which in turn makes grants to NGOs that perform the weapon destruction programs. Currently, grant funding is provided to the Nobel Prize winning, UK-based NGO, Mines Advisory Group, who in turn carry out the technical oversight and physical destruction of the weapons in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Burundi. Mines Advisory Group works conjunction with staff of the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of Burundi.
These assault rifles were collected from conflict by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the government of Burundi and the United Nations from combatants who have turned them over as part of the disarmament process at the cessation of combat. Once these weapons are destroyed, the scrap metal, which belongs to the government, is recycled locally.
Peter Thum the CEO and co-founder of Fonderie 47 is not new to this type socially responsible ventures. He also founded and was President of Ethos™ Water. Following the acquisition of Ethos by Starbucks, he served three years as a Vice President of Starbucks Corporation and as a Director of the Starbucks Foundation. To date, Ethos Water has generated more than $6.2 million for water programs around the world, helping more than 420,000 people get access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education. Mr. Thum founded the non-profit Giving Water in 2008 to expand his work on global water issues. Prior to creating Ethos, he was with McKinsey & Company and Gallo Winery. Mr. Thum currently is a Board Director of USA for UNHCR (The UN High Commissioner for Refugees), The Fund for Global Human Rights, and an advisor to FEED Projects, and to the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU.
Inversion Principle is a completely original timepiece, designed by Adrian Glessing and developed and produced by David Candaux/Du Val Des Bois exclusively for Fonderie 47.
Revenues from the sale of each timepiece will be used fund the destruction of one thousand assault weapons in Africa, creating a safer environment for aid and development.
While Inversion Principle is first and foremost a very exclusive haute horlogerie timepiece, subtle elements and mechanisms discreetly feature key attributes of the AK47. Each timepiece incorporates a plate on the back made from the transformed steel of a destroyed assault weapon.
Inversion Principle had to reflect the finest Swiss watchmaking traditions; our principles and our mission; and be truly innovative all at the same time. That was no easy task, but thanks to a great team, I think we well and truly achieved that aim. Peter Thum (Fonderie 47 founder)
Inversion Principle: Orbiting on high above the movement, the central 3-minute flying tourbillon dominates the three-dimensional dial and mesmerizes the eye. Three second-hands, equally spaced 120° apart around the tourbillon cage, arc sedately across the seconds-scale above the tourbillon and ‘Fonderie 47’: ‘Sedately’ because tourbillon revolves at just 1/3 of the speed of a traditional one-minute tourbillon.
While only one second-hand is visible at any time − the other two are hidden under the gold rifle-sight inspired frame set into the sapphire crystal − their positions are revealed by blued screws joining the outer tourbillon cage and inner three-arm hub.
“I feel one of the biggest achievements of this timepiece is the very logical way you read the time.” Adrian Glessing (Inversion Principle designer)
A first, or even a second, glance is unlikely to divulge any obvious similarity between jumping hours, retrograde seconds and an AK47; however, avoiding blatantly obvious connections is the aim. On a more ethereal level however, gun mechanisms snap sharply and precisely into place: As does the instantaneous jumping hour at 12 o’clock as it changes the hour; and the large 240° retrograde seconds hand as it flies back to zero each hour across the bottom of the dial. Each press of the quick-set pusher in the crown advances the jumping hours by one hour.
The long 6-day power reserve has both a lateral indication via a sapphire window set into the left side of the case band and a second indication visible through the display back.
The display back reveals the stunning sunray guilloche pattern radiating out from the ratchet wheel, which is capped by a dark plate of transformed steel from a destroyed AK47. The plate is in the form of the Fonderie 47 brand symbol and rotates as the watch is wound. ’56-3701F42′, the serial number of the destroyed weapon the metal is from, is elegantly hand engraved beside
“A mentor taught me what he thought generated the fundamental values of watchmaking: The eye; the hand; and the heart. These are values that guide my work. A timepiece built around these values generates powerful emotions.” David Candaux (Inversion Principle watchmaker)
Inversion Principle is a limited edition of 20 pieces: 10 in white gold and 10 in red gold.
Destroying thousands of assault riffles: Priceless
More info at www.fonderie47.com