Insider: Fonderie 47 Inversion Principle. Transforming AK-47s Into Timepieces and Jewelry for Goodwill.

Fonderie 47 was founded in 2009 by Peter Thum with the goal of reducing the number of destabilizing assault weapons in Africa. Thum realized the enormous problem these weapons created, having met boys and young men armed with assault rifles, and the victims of these weapons, while developing clean water projects in east Africa. There are millions of assault weapons in Africa. A large majority of these are AK47 variants. In Africa, assault rifles cost about 70% less than anywhere else in the world. While prices of AK47s have generally risen worldwide over the last three decades, they have fallen in Africa due to the sheer number of weapons and ease of availability. Thum decided to transform these implements of devastation into something as removed from them and as positive as possible, i.e. exclusive objects that would inspire change and fund the destruction of weapons. The mission to create a high-end mechanical watch incorporating metal from a destroyed AK47 began even before Fonderie 47 was founded, because it quickly became clear that the development and production of a completely original complicated haute horlogerie timepiece would take many years. Fonderie 47 has also worked with some of the world’s best designers and jewelers to create artistic pieces made from AK47 steel, precious metals and jewels. Working with the Nobel Prize winning NGO Mines Advisory Group, to date Fonderie 47 has funded the destruction of over 30,000 assault rifles in war zones in Africa. The name of this manufacture in the Vallée de Joux comes from the French word 'fonderie' —foundry for melting and casting metal— and '47' for AK47. Below, we have included the amazing video produced by Fonderie 47 that explains the principles and vision behind this amazing watch project.

Inversion Principle is a completely original timepiece, designed by Adrian Glessing and developed and produced by David Candaux —the man behind the Badollet Ivresse— and his team at Du Val Des Bois exclusively for Fonderie 47. Revenues from the sale of each timepiece will be used to fund the destruction of one thousand assault weapons in Africa, creating a safer environment for aid and development. This is a strategy that Peter Thum already implemented successfully in creating Ethos Water to fund clean water projects in Africa and around the world. 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 is a timepiece with a central three-minute flying tourbillon, instantaneous jumping hours with quick-set pusher, 240° retrograde minutes and lateral and back power reserve indicators. 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.


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 guilloché pattern radiating out from the ratchet wheel on the calibre F47-001 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. The serial number of the destroyed weapon the metal is from '56-3701F42', is elegantly hand engraved beside the plate. “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.

The Fonderie 47 Inversion Principle is available in a limited edition of 20 pieces: 10 in 18K white gold and 10 in 18K red gold.

Sticker Price $350,000 USD. For more info on Fonderie 47 click here.


Technical Specifications of the Fonderie 47 Inversion Principle

Limited edition of 20 pieces: 10 in white gold and 10 in red gold. Created by: David Candaux/Du Val Des Bois. Designed by: Adrian Glessing. Place of Manufacture: La Vallée de Joux, Switzerland.

Indications: Jumping hours, 240° retrograde minutes; central seconds on tourbillon cage; lateral power reserve indicator on case band and power reserve indicator on back.

Case and strap

Material: 18k white gold or 18k red gold.

Sapphire crystal traversed by embedded gold bezel bridge framing tourbillon cage.

Lateral sapphire window in case band for power reserve indicator.

Dimensions: 42mm x 14.6mm

Water resistance: 30 meters.

Dial: Translucent glass and sapphire crystal with enameled minutes and seconds.

Strap and clasp: hand stitched alligator strap with gold pin buckle matching case. Brown leather with red gold case or black leather with white gold case.

Movement: Caliber F47-001

Regulator: Central three-minute flying tourbillon.

Tourbillon cage: gold counter weight and curved to follow sapphire crystal.

Jumping hour: thin mechanism —patented.

Retrograde seconds: mechanism with light aluminum arm and precision regulator.

Power reserve: Six days.

Balance frequency: 18,000 vph.

Jewels: 38

Steel plate from transformed AK47 − serial number '56-3701F42' − in form of Fonderie 47 brand symbol on ratchet wheel visible through display back.

Finishing: Sun ray guilloche; hand engraving; hand polished bevels; heat-blued screws and power reserve indicator on back.