F.P.Journe FFC

World-renowned independent watchmaker F.P.Journe has announced the production of a small series of a timepiece inspired by the FFC Blue prototype, a unique piece made for the Only Watch 2021 charity auction.

Created in collaboration with American film director Francis Ford Coppola, the F.P.Journe FFC Blue Prototype Only Watch boasts a unique way of reading the time, made possible by a hand whose fingers come to life as the hours pass.

F.P.Journe FFC

The idea of creating such a timepiece was born in 2012 in a meeting between master watchmaker F.P.Journe and Francis Ford Coppola.

They discussed the different principles of representing the passing of time and the filmmaker asked if a watchmaker had ever considered displaying the hours in the way the ancients used, by counting them on their fingers.

The idea of displaying the 12 digits of the hours with 5 fingers had appealed to François-Paul who, in 2014, wanted to take up the challenge of inventing an animated hand capable of displaying it in the same way. His motivation led him to start prototyping the FFC Blue watch the same year, which was supposed to go on sale at Only Watch 2021.

F.P.Journe FFC

To present the 12 digits of the hours with a single hand and 5 fingers, François-Paul drew inspiration from a drawing of a prosthesis made by the famous French barber-surgeon Ambroise Paré (1509/1510 -1590).

The mechanised hand found on the front of the FFC Blue is inspired by the one developed by this Renaissance physician.

This hand is made of engraved titanium, used to reduce the weight of the moving components so as to not affect the energy consumption of the caliber, the Octa 1300 launched by the Manufacture F.P.Journe in 2001.

In order to use only the energy coming from the barrel, which ensures a power reserve of 5 days for the piece, the choice was made to install a “remontoir d’égalité” between the primary gear train and the display, as is done in the clocks of buildings when the hands to be moved are long and heavy.

Every hour, and for 40 minutes, the “remontoir d’égalité”, formed by a spring blade enclosed in a kind of barrel, a trigger and a sort of anchor mounted on one side on a wheel with an eccentric in its center, is rewound by the movement.

On the hour, the mechanism described by François-Paul as a sort of escapement acting once an hour, is released so that the energy accumulated from the main barrel can, through the intermediary of this tangentially acting fork, set in motion the series of 10 cams whose purpose is to control the movement of the fingers of the hand.

Placed on the left side and visible between the rotating minutes ring mounted on a large extra-flat ball bearing with a fixed cursor placed at noon, they make one revolution in 12 hours, each one activating a series of springs and toggles acting on the rise and fall of the 4 fingers, but also the translation of the thumb. The shape of the cams, associated with the teeth of each one, acts on the fingers which are mounted on a steel sling and which move then, practically without friction.

Thanks to this ingenious system, the energy required to operate one finger, four fingers between 5 and 6 o’clock as well as between 9 and 10 o’clock, is always the same and calibrated so that it is done in complete safety and, above all, without affecting the chronometry of the regulating assembly.

F.P.Journe FFC

Supported by the skills gathered within his manufacture, François-Paul has managed to integrate all the components of the automatic caliber and the animated hand-display mechanism into a case measuring 42 mm in diameter and only 10.7 mm thick.

As a result, despite the complexity of the whole, this watch is no thicker than another model equipped with the same movement. To achieve this exploit, François-Paul eliminated the dial and replaced the minute hand with a rotating ring mounted on a large extra-flat ball bearing, as he did for the perpetual calendar of the Astronomic Souveraine.

This modification made it possible to gain the few millimetres necessary for the placement of the articulated hand sculpted by a master engraver.

Technical details

Model: F.P.Journe FFC

F.P.Journe calibre 1300.3 in 18K rose Gold
Mechanical with unidirectional automatic winding
Rotor in 22K white Gold, off-center, engraved «F.F.COPPOLA F.P.JOURNE»
Dimensions of the movement_
Overall diameter: 34.20 mm
Casing-up diameter: 30.40 mm
Overall height: 8.10 mm
Height of winding system: 3.28 mm
Diameter of stem thread: S1.20 mm
Balance with four adjustable inertia weights
Anachron flat balance spring
Mobile stud holder
Nivatronic laser soldered balance spring
Pinned GE stud
Slipping mainspring
Frequency: 21’600 V/h, 3Hz
Inertia: 10.10 mg*cm2
Angle of lift: 52°
Amplitude: 12h dial up: > 280°
90h dial up: > 220°
Escapement: In-line lever escapement, 15-tooth wheel
Power reserve: 120 +/- 12 hours
Winding speed on a watch winder: 274 clockwise rotations per 24 hours

Number of parts
Movement without dial: 396
Jewels: 63

High grade
Circular stripes on the bridges
Titanium bridges with Titalyt® coating
Baseplate partly circular grained
Polished screw heads with chamfered slots
Pegs with polished rounded ends
Steelwork with polished chamfers

Instantaneous digital hours indicated by the animated fingers of a Titanium hand
Rotating minutes dial

Two position crown:
Winding of the watch in position 1, clockwise
Correction of time in position 2, anti-clockwise

Platinum PT 950
Diameter: 42 mm
Total height: 10.70 mm