Zach Kazan – F.P. Journe X Francis Ford Coppola
Let me start by saying that I don’t know if I actually like the F.P. Journe X Francis Ford Coppola FFC Blue, I just think it’s completely insane, and I’m fascinated by it in the same way I am that the guy who directed Apocalypse Now could also make Jack. Both the watch itself and the story behind it are somewhat hysterical, and the press release reads almost like something out of the Onion.
It all started, apparently, at a 2012 dinner hosted by the famed filmmaker and attended by F.P. Journe. At some point, Coppola asked Journe about the possibility of creating a watch where time is told through the use of a hand. No, not a hand in the watchmaker’s sense. What you’d throw a baseball with. What you slip a glove over. What I’m typing this article with right now.
This set Journe to work, and a mere nine years later we have this watch, a one-off being auctioned for an eminently great cause. But it makes you wonder: will F.P. Journe just make any strange watch you ask him to? Do you have to be the director of three of the greatest movies of all time (plus Jack) to have this kind of pull? What’s Journe’s favorite Coppola movie? Some questions, I think, are not meant to be answered.
The watch is strange, yes, but being an F.P. Journe, it’s also a genuine mechanical marvel. The hand at the center of the dial is essentially an integrated automaton, with fingers that instantaneously retract and extend on the hour in a specific sequence. It’ll never flip you the bird, and the finger positions aren’t always intuitive as a means to quickly read the actual time, but it works, and there’s no doubting the ingenuity and creativity at play here. What’s even more impressive from a watchmaking perspective is that the automaton is powered solely by the mainspring in the Octa Caliber 1300, the twenty year old Journe movement powering the watch, and the one at the heart of so many of his creations over the last two decades.
As a movie buff, this one has a strange appeal to me for the Coppola connection, which was unexpected to say the least. Hopefully the eventual owner of this watch (it won’t be me, as it’s estimate is currently in the CHF 400,000 range) imagines the unusual conversation that night over dinner between Coppola and Journe whenever they look at their wrist, and wonder what time it is when the thumb and pinky finger are extended.