Only Watch takes place this Saturday at Christie’s in Geneva, and it’s probably one of the few times you can spend big bucks, guilt free. Now in its 7th edition, Only Watch is a biennial charity auction which auctions off one-of-a-kind timepieces, donated by fine watch brands, to raise money for research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The charity auction was established in 2005 by Luc Pettavino, and is under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.
More than 47 of the world’s most renowned watch brands, including Audemar Piguet, Breguet, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Blancpain and Chopard, have donated a unique version of their iconic watches to the cause. With more than 99 per cent of the proceeds going towards the charity, the association hopes to raise over €25 million for research into the genetic disorder that most commonly affects young boys.
We’ve picked five of our favourites below, but for all the information on the 47 watches, head to onlywatch.com.
Independents Laurent Ferrier and Urwerk partnered together to create this unique, and distinctive Arpal One LF-UR1. The watch is unusual because the two watchmaking companies’ DNA couldn’t be more different. Combining Urwerk’s boundary-breaking aesthetics and Laurent Ferrier’s time-honoured methods, the Only Watch creation has Urwerk’s signature satellite display, as well as Laurent Ferrier’s vintage automobile codes. The case material is also worth a mention. Made from Arpal+, it’s a colour-fast, oxidisation-resistant alloy of 75 per cent metals and 25 per cent other elements that is more typically used in high-tech applications.
You can almost go no wrong with a Patek Philippe. The maison set a record at the last Only Watch auction in 2015, when it sold its steel Patek 5016 for US$7.3 million. The new Reference 5208 Triple Complication features a minute repeated, a monopusher chronograph and a perpetual calendar, and is cased in titanium for the first, and probably only, time. What’s more, the highest bidder will get a unique experience alongside the brand new watch. Patek Philippe will be offering two privileged guests a visit to its workshops, a private lunch with president Thierry Stern and a visit to the maison’s museum.
Tudor joined Only Watch for the first time in 2015, and sold its unique piece for CHF350,000, making it the most expensive Tudor ever. This year, they’ve brought us an exciting rendition of the new Black Bay Bronze One (already popular when it was first revealed), but now in a left-handed configuration. Tudor first did the left-handed take on the Pelagos Left Hand Drive. The maison has also given the watch a beautiful khaki green colour on the dial and bezel, that goes perfectly with the aluminium bronze alloy case.
The Classique Reference 7715 timepiece features an in-line perpetual calendar, with the display of the days, months, dates and years vertically lined up for a very elegant and streamlined look. The silvered gold dial is also finely hand-engraved on a rose engine, highlighting the traditional “Clous de Paris” hobnail motif. Like Patek Philippe, the highest bidder for Breguet’s unique timepiece will also get to visit the manufacture in Vallée de Joux, and attend an exclusive introduction to the art of guilloche.
Bronze is having a moment. The Laureato, which was revived and presented at SIHH in January 2017 this year by Girard-Perregaux, has been given the bronze treatment. The sporty and elegant unique timepiece comes with a bronze case and a chocolate brown alligator leather strap to match.
The Only Watch 2017 auction takes place on November 11, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergs in Geneva at 2:30 pm.