2017 Only Watch charity auction presents a collector’s dream
Every two years, watch enthusiasts wait with bated breath as major brands get together and unveil unique timepieces created specially for Only Watch, a biennial charity auction of unique timepieces for the benefit of research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy — a fatal muscle disease.
This year, 49 one-of-a-kind watches will hit the auction block on 11 November in Geneva. One hundred per cent of the proceeds, estimated to fetch USD3.9 million at Christie’s, will go to the research funds. From Monaco to New York and Dubai, the watches will go on a world tour that will allow collectors to view the unique horological creations. Here’s a preview with some of our favourite entries.
Patek Philippe’s Ref 5208T-010 brings together a minute repeater, a mono-pusher chronograph, and an instantaneous perpetual calendar. The ultra-complicated watch features a highly sophisticated self-winding mechanism comprising 719 hand-finished parts. It is the first and only version of this timepiece ever produced in titanium and highlights a blue dial adorned with a hand-guilloched carbon fibre pattern, and a matching blue Cordura strap.
Breguet’s Classique Quantième Perpétuel en Ligne 7715 features a perpetual calendar with a clear display of the dates at 6 o’clock, and other indications for day, month, date, and year vertically aligned up to 12 o’clock. The hours and minutes with traditional blued steel Breguet hands sweep over a Roman numeral chapter ring. It’s a finely balanced piece, enhanced by the 39mm 18k yellow gold case with delicately fluted caseband. The sapphire crystal fitted on the back reveals a hand-engraved self-winding movement Calibre 502QPLT with 45 hours of power reserve.
For the Épure Blé d’été watch, Boucheron features two wheat ears in white gold and snow-set diamonds on its golden mother-of-dial dial. Adding to the elegant profile of the watch is the polished 18K white gold case set with diamonds, double gadroons on the side, and bevelled horns. It is fitted with a beige alligator strap and the self-winding mechanical movement Girard-Perregaux Manufacture Calibre, GP4000.
The minimalist Black Tie Vintage Inspiration range from Piaget is given an artistic makeover with brown pietersite gemstone on the dial. Unblemished by any hour or minute markers, or other indicators, the timepiece is powered by the Piaget 534P automatic movement. The closed caseback features engravings of the coat of arms of Piaget, as well as the inscription in reference to the “Only Watch 2017 auction. It has a 43mm by 45mm stepped yellow case that is both matte and polished, while the brown alligator strap echoes the colours of the watch.
Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in blue-dial edition conjures the moment where darkness descends on the evening sky, indicated by the ‘skylight’ blue Grande Tapisserie dial with traditional hand-guilloche pattern. It features polished counters in solid grey gold and an orange-tinted photo realistic moon. The rest of the watch — bracelet and 41mm case — are in black ceramic. Even the caseback with sapphire display reveals a unique hand-finished black oscillating mass.
Blancpain unveils the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC, featuring all the essential diving watch characteristics, just like the original. The black dial features indexes and hands in yellow Super-LumiNova, date display, and water-resistance indicator at 6 o’clock. Housed in a 40mm-diameter stainless steel case, the unique piece is fitted with Blancpain’s in-house automatic winding Calibre 1151, and ensures a four-day power reserve. It is water-resistant up to 300 meters, and comes with a NATO strap.
A floral masterpiece, Christophe Claret’s Magicafiore watch features petals that are manually sculpted and coated with white lacquer. The blue enamelled centre of the flower highlights a blue sapphire and 28 emeralds. Two hand-engraved and green lacquered dragonflies fly joyfully around the mother-of-pearl dial to tell time. Now, press the pusher at 2 o’clock and the Arabic numbers disappear to reveal a phrase specially created for Only Watch: Pour l’amour de la vie. The message can also be personalised by the new owner.
Louis Vuitton’s offering is the vibrant Black & Fire version of Escale Spin Time. Bold shades of orange, yellow, and red dominate the timepiece. Its distinctive dial features 12 unique cubes with four different sides, hand-painted using pad printing. These cubes are the hour markers, while the minutes are traditionally displayed using a watch hand. Housed within the 41mm titanium case is the automatic movement LV77 Calibre. It has an orange alligator strap, and comes with its own keepsake trunk in Ardoise Taiga leather, stamped with the same Louis Vuitton globe found on the dial.
Harry Winston presents a custom Ocean Big Date model from its Project Z Collection. The model in a 42mm white gold case displays off centred hours and minutes with a big date window at 6 o’clock, accentuated by yellow accents on the tips of the hour markers, dial, and alligator strap. The design maintains its architectural aesthetic with an openwork dial and multiple layers, which show off the mechanical automatic movement. Turn to the back and you’ll see more of the movement with Côtes de Genève finishes and oscillating white gold openwork rotor.
Chopard’s Superfast 8 Hz Power Control Porsche 919 Only Watch 2017 honours motor-racing legend Jacky Ickx, who participated in the design of the watch. Housed in a 45mm titanium case, it is equipped with a high-frequency movement specially created for this auction. It has a matte blue dial inspired by the colour of Jacky Ickx helmet, and matching leather strap. In line with the racing theme is a dial that features large numerals, date display, and a fuel gauge-like power reserve indicator. The successful bidder also gets to meet Ickx and spend a memorable weekend at the Monaco Historique GP 2018.
This Grande Seconde model by Jaquet Droz is a reinterpretation of the brand’s iconic Grande Seconde with its playful figure “8”, originally aligned on 12/6 o’clock axis but now made off-centre on a red cuprite dial. The slender red gold outlines for the minute and seconds subdials match the sleekness of the timepiece, along with the smooth 43mm red gold case. For an aesthetic twist, the crown is found at 4 o’clock. The sapphire crystal caseback reveals a self-winding mechanical movement with 18K read gold oscillating weight.