As the yearly charity watch auction Only Watch approaches, renowned horology houses and various independent brands have presented exceptional timepieces expressing their creativity and inclination to support and lend a helping hand to a very good cause. Christie’s will be the auctioneer of choice for the 2017 edition of Only Watch, organized by L’Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies, which is devoted to the research of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. On November 11, 49 timepieces will be auctioned off during a stand-alone event in Geneva, and proceeds will be entirely donated to scientific and medical research on neuromuscular diseases.
The participating brands: Andersen Genève, Armin Strom, Arnold & Son, Audemars Piguet, Barbier Mueller, Bell & Ross, Blancpain, Boucheron, Bovet Fleurier, Breguet, Carl F.Bucherer, Chanel, Chopard, Christophe Claret, Chronoswiss, De Bethune, Dewitt, F.P. Journe, Fabergé, Frédérique Constant, Girard Perregaux, H.Moser & Cie, Harry Winston, Hautlence, Hermès, Hublot, Jacob & Co, Konstantin Chaykin, Laurent Ferrier, Jaquet Droz, Louis Moinet, Louis Vuitton, Maurice Lacroix, MF&F, MCT, Montblanc, Moritz Grossmann, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Rebellion, Ressence, Speake Marin, Tag Heuer, Tudor, Ulysse Nardin, Urwerk, Voutilainen and Zenith, will come together in this desire to give back to the global community. This year, unique experiences and collaborations by some of the brands will be highlighted. Here are our top 10 favorite timepieces created specially for Only Watch 2017.
Audemars Piguet – Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in Black Ceramic
The unique piece Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in black ceramic evokes dusk, those moments just as darkness descends on the evening sky, reflected in the ‘skylight’ blue Grande Tapisserie dial, polished counters in solid grey gold and orange-tinted photo realistic moon. Juxtaposed against the entirely hand-finished black ceramic Royal Oak case, bezel and bracelet, the transition from the blue, orange and silver dusk to the pitch black of night is a powerful combination. The unique piece boasts a unique dial and is the first black ceramic perpetual calendar wristwatch to feature a black ceramic caseback with sapphire display, revealing a unique hand-finished black oscillating mass.
Blancpain – Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC “Only Watch unique piece”
Blancpain was the first watch brand to support the AMM back in 2001. Sixteen years later, the manufacture is bringing forth again a one-of-a-kind model, directly inspired by the new Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC timepiece presented at Baselworld this year. The Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC “Only Watch unique piece” features the entire set of diving watch characteristics, as established by the original 1953 Fifty Fathoms. Its black dial pops with yellow Super-LumiNova® indexes and hands. The watch will be auctioned with a NATO strap.
Bovet – Secret Beauty
The Secret Beauty timepiece was manufactured specifically for Only Watch. Unique in more ways than one, it relies on Bovet’s two centuries of mastery in watchmaking decorative arts, which is clear in this interpretation that combines an age-old tradition with innovation in the service of art. A miniature painting from Bovet 1822’s miniature paintings -which are made from Grand Feu enamel or applied to a mother-of-pearl or lacquered base- was chosen to personalize this Secret Beauty. On this special version, an entirely new expression of the Geisha that could be seen on the backs or dials of the watchmaker’s timepieces since 1822 seduces onlookers -despite its weird symmetry in the bust area- both with its elegant lines and with the technique used to create it. A world first, the method is as unprecedented as it is luminous; the work painted by the artist on the dial’s surface is visible by day and by night, adding to the dial’s mysterious allure. The highest bidder will also join Pascal Raffy on a trip to London to attend a charity entertainment.
Breguet – Classique Quantieme Perpetuel en Ligne 7715
A yellow gold Classique with in-line perpetual calendar, the Classique Quantieme Perpetuel en Ligne 7715‘s dial is manufactured in silvered 18Kt gold, with handcrafted Clous de Paris finishing. The special unique model will be shown at the Monaco Yacht Show from 27-30 September, before embarking on the Only Watch world tour. Its elegant, classical design is slightly invigorated by touches of red and blue, on the calendar and hands respectively.
F.P. Journe – Monopusher Split-Seconds Chronograph
Fresh and fun, right on time! The colors of the watch pop right out, followed by the many circles that form a captivating geometric aesthetic. The beautiful Monopusher Split-Seconds Chronograph is a first for the brand: a monopusher split-seconds chronograph in a tantalum case, quite frankly, we’re in awe! The movement is completely new, a 15 ligne caliber completely made of rose gold with steel accents. Its power reserve lasts 80 hours with the chronograph running! The blue dial is accentuated with cool orange and yellow circular forms and markers. It’s definitely worth its auction price and more!
Hublot – Big Bang Unico Sapphire Usain Bolt for Only Watch
For the 2017 edition of Only Watch, Hublot brings together one of its greatest ambassadors with one of the most difficult materials to machine, in its Big Bang Unico Sapphire Usain Bolt for Only Watch! Champion runner Usain Bolt symbolizes victory, courage, determination and the desire to excel, while the use of sapphire for the watch case conveys the message that limits should be pushed ever further and can be exceeded or overcome. This watch that embodies hope and the desire to win was inspired by one of Bolt’s favorite models, the Big Bang Unico, and is emblazoned with the Jamaican sprinter’s trademark gold and green colors. The timepiece is paired with a transparent strap, and will be auctioned with a second strap, in yellow-gold color calfskin, featuring the silhouette of the Jamaican flag. The unique piece is also accompanied by a PUMA T-shirt signed by “Lightning Bolt”.
Montblanc – 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter
Of bronze and vintage green dominance, the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter draws its design lines from the 1930s Minerva Chronograph and depicts Montblanc’s history in a modern way. The bronze 44m case complements beautifully the new, vintage green dial and matching green alligator straps, giving the timepiece a cool retro look. As bronze tends to develop a unique patina throughout the years, the case could look even more vintage decades from now. The original Montblanc logo from the 30s with the historical font and emblem of the Mont Blanc mountain stand proud over the hour and minute hands.
Patek Philippe – 5208T
After presenting Only Watch with watches that were sold at higher prices than any others, Patek Philippe brought back the big guns for this year’s edition of the auction. True to its tradition, the brand released a one-of-a-kind new version of one of its existing watches. The 5208T, a titanium version of the 5208, is definitely an impressive, real grand complication. Boasting a combination of a calendar, a timing device and a chiming mechanism, the timepiece offers many firsts from its maker: it is the first and only version of the 5208 to be produced in titanium; has a distinctive blue dial enlivened with a hand-guillochéd carbon-fiber pattern; and its entire movement is plated with a black rhodium coat. The watch looks very sporty with its white and silver accents on the sub-dials, windows and hands. With a pre-sale estimation of CHF 900,000, we expect the 5208T to rake up over CHF 1M at OW2017!
Tudor – Black Bay Bronze
Tudor is a youngling when it comes to Only Watch. The brand’s 2016 participation marked its first in the auction, but the offered watch successfully raised much more than its starting price. This year, Tudor did not present an all-new or too-changed model, building instead on its on an existing model, with an interesting twist: in an ergonomic attempt benefitting lefties, the crown was placed on the bronze case’s left side instead of the normal right side. The olive-green bezel and dial of the Black Bay Bronze marries the bronze case well, while the matching fabric strap gives the watch a sporty look. The buyer of Tudor’s Only Watch edition will be invited to the Tudor headquarters in Geneva, a place that is usually not open to guests.
Ulysse Nardin – Marine Tourbillon Only Watch
Ulysse Nardin‘s Marine Tourbillon Only Watch has a striking blue dominance, especially with its captivating blue, Grand Feu enamel dial. This OW model is emblematic of the brand’s historic marine DNA that goes back to the mid 19th century and Ulysse Nardin who created the first marine deck chronometers. Like the sun shining on the sea, the yellow touches in the dial pay tribute to this year’s edition of Only Watch. The entirely new, self-winding UN-128 caliber was produced in the brand’s workshops at Le Locle, cementing the watchmaker’s independence in the manufacture of in-house movements. A cool piece for anyone looking to own a nautical watch while doing some good in the world.
Zenith – Defy El Primero 21
Zenith defies its previous achievements with a new 1/100th of a second Chronograph movement for its Defy El Primero 21 Only Watch Edition. Turning “Black & Yellow” into more than a hip hop/rap song title, the watch boasts a 44mm totally black DLC titanium case with various yellow elements forming the time and chrono markers, hands and power reserve, matched by yellow stitching on the black alligator leather strap. The yellow touches relate to the Only Watch identity, giving the timepiece relevance that is highlighted even further by its customized Only Watch box, OW logo and “Only Watch 2017” engraving on the caseback. The owner of the watch will benefit from a unique trip to the Zenith Swiss Watch Manufacture, organized and taken care of by the brand.
The world’s top cities from Bangkok, Dubai and Hong Kong, to NYC and LA will welcome the 49 Only Watch pieces ahead of the auction through a worldwide tour that kicks off at the Monaco Yacht Show on September 27 and ends in Geneva. So, to all you collectors and horology buffs out there, open your wallets this November and contribute to a worthy cause!