Only Watch 2021, a highly anticipated auction event in the watch industry is set to take place on 6th November in Geneva. With 54 brands participating in the 9th edition of the biennial charity auction, the principal goal is to raise funds for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy, as well as the auctioning of 53 lots, under the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II and at the initiative of Luc Pettavino, President of Association Monégasque Contre les Myopathies.
An event that proves year after year that humanity and charity, when properly handled, can be a powerful force for hope. In research, the words “creativity” and “brilliance” come to mind. Thanks to the pioneering techniques they learned and developed, scientists have been able to dive into the core of cells to expedite the understanding of genetic diseases, to highlight and understand the dysfunctions they entail, to initiate the long and complex correction process, and to progress with patience and determination towards therapies.
Today, the researchers supported by the Association Monégasque Contre les Myopathies have progressed to the hopeful point of planning a first clinical trial in 2022, with the realistic prospect of altering the lives of thousands of young people and their families. Surely come a long way, tracing back to the first auction in 2005.
So far, this great philanthropic urge has enabled a collection of over 70 million Euros. Looks like, this year’s auction will leave us awestruck. While we wait to see what truly unfolds at the auction this year, here are a few highlights that stood out from the participating brands:
1.VOUTILAINEN x DE BETHUNE: KIND OF MAGIC
Two dials, two different watchmaking identities: the perfect union. Kind of magic symbolizes the fascinating meeting of two watchmakers, Denis Flageollet and Kari Voutilainen, built on mutual respect, a shared vision of watchmaking, and a distinct sense of freedom. A one-of-a-kind work of art with two faces was born, each presenting the same time but a slightly different display.
The mechanics are given the prominence of place in this sleek, contemporary design. It’s a brand-new hour reading centred on the balance, with the minute index on the peripheral. We find a dial with a deadbeat second and an original display of hours and minutes, which defies the standard of instant time reading. Hands superimposed at unexpected places, equal angles between hands when they should be evolving. By catching our attention, this face allows us to appreciate the passing of time. Estimated to auction at CHF 140 000 – 180 000, this union has us totally enthralled, don’t you agree?
2. F P Journe x Francis Ford Coppola
The much spoken of blue automaton fingers that display the hours. F. P. Journe will commemorate the automated Octa Calibre 1300’s 20th anniversary in all of its variants in 2021. This latest opus is the pinnacle of the iconic model, with an automaton powered exclusively by the mainspring of the Octa movement. This was not an easy task, as one might anticipate. A rotating disc at 12 o’clock drives the minutes, while the mobile fingers emerge and depart instantly, denoting the hours by their position. Ambroise Paré (1509-1590), the pioneer of modern surgery, constructed a mechanical hand, inspired the fingers.
A watch that came about over dinner in 2012 at Francis Ford Copolla’s house when asked if a hand could tell the time in a watch. A true watch-making wonder though displaying 12 hours with five fingers was quite the feat to achieve. Then again, we are talking about F. P. Journe, known for its historical expertise to face the most daring horological challenges. And here we are 7 years later, with the FFC prototype. Estimated to auction at CHF 300 000 – 400 000, this watch exhibits a mechanical pedigree that is second to none.
There is just something beautiful and “hopeful” about this watch. The Fabergé Dalliance “Choose Hope” Watch exhibits a white mother-of-pearl exterior dial in a 36mm 18k rose gold case with a vivid red alligator strap. The watch inspired by a Fabergé workmaster Henrik Wigström desk clock with silver-gilt, enamel, and rock crystal, was manufactured in 1910.
This one-of-a-kind watch is inspired by the idea of “wishing on a star” and has an array of ruby-set shooting stars–a gemstone associated with passion, success, and protection. Calling out to all those who believe in the power of crystals, this watch is right up your alley to own.
The Only Watch cause is at the core of this design, with a hand-engraved rose gold dial with the words “Choose Hope,” while the charming sun and moon watch hands mark the hours and minutes. The auction price is set at CHF 25,000-40,000.
4. Zenith x Felipe Pantone
When the zenith of watch-making and optical art come together for a noble cause what we get is a 46mm Sapphire case of the Defy Double Tourbillon Felipe Pantone Unique Piece for Only Watch.
Their alchemy has produced a one-of-a-kind timepiece that is as technically brilliant as it is visually dazzling, boasting multiple firsts for Zenith and watchmaking. The outcome is a dramatic work of kinetic art as well as a magnificent feat of contemporary haute horlogerie. The movement houses in the watch.
On the El Primero 9020 movement and unusual oscillating weight, we can see “Rainbow” PVD-coated bridges and a black laser engraved on the main plate. The hour markers are varnished as the watch hands are PVD coated, both in “Rainbow.”
The watch will be sold and shipped with a Felipe Pantone custom watch box signed by the artist himself, as well as an original artwork created just for this occasion. Well, that’s a bonus for all artistic watch lovers. The estimated auction price stands at CHF 180,000-220,000. Inspiring individuals to pursue their dreams, one can feel the emotion of reaching the stars with this watch.
Watch out collectors, for this edition, MB&F has turned its Horological Machine No 10–nicknamed HM10 Bulldog–into a panda bear, one of the world’s rarest and cutest mammals, beloved by both children and adults–including Max, who grew up with a panda as his first cuddly toy.
Because pandas are so closely connected with children, this isn’t the first time they’ve appeared in MB&F and Only Watch. The rounded, compact body of the HM10 is a wonderful match for the cuddly panda; with the top being lacquered in black and white to match the animal’s coloring. For this Pièce Unique in stainless steel, the top of the normal titanium case had to accept the lacquer. Two black titanium panda ears atop the sapphire crystal dome, as well as a ceramic tail machined from Grade 5 silicon nitride, are further standout characteristics.
Two black aluminum time-display domes dominate the face of the watch, much like the panda’s recognizable eyes — a tribute to the opposite use of the word ‘panda’ in watchmaking. Other panda bear characteristics include flexible “legs” that wrap firmly around your wrist and those teeth that are continually nibbling on bamboo shoots, also function as a power indicator.
The HM10 Panda for Only Watch will surely put a smile on your face while capturing your heart with its essential cause. The estimated auction price stands at CHF 100,000-150,000.
TUDOR has introduced a one-of-a-kind Black Bay GMT for Only Watch 2021, with a distinctive case and bracelet finish that results from a certain “secret” stainless-steel aging procedure. The MT5652 Manufacture Calibre, which can keep time in three time zones has been given a cosmetic treatment that required the bridges and mainplate to be coated in black before barrel tumbling to match the case in style.
This monochromatic stealthy watch, with its dark grey matte dial and that non-colored finish GMT hand, is further accentuated with a dark grey bezel and a date that matches the dial’s lume dots. The Black Bay GMT One houses the Master Chronometer-certified version of their movement which is an additional METAS spec to the existing COSC certification. The finishing on this one is really something else; has that whole gun-metal vibe going on. With an estimated auction price of CHF 4000-8000, this watch is striking in every aspect of its being.
7. Patek Philippe
Staying true to its roots yet again, this year too, for the ONLY WATCH 2021 Patek Philippe has crafted one of the world’s finest timepieces. Based on a clock donated to James Ward Packard in 1923 here is an extremely sophisticated desk clock Ref. 27001M-001 exclusively for ONLY WATCH 2021. The original version can however be viewed at the Patek Philippe Museum.
Equipped with the new 86-135 PEND IRM Q SE calibre, this ticking wonder features a perpetual calendar, moon phases, week-number display, and a 31-day power-reserve sign. Calibrated at a precision rate of -1/+1 second per day, housed in a sterling silver cabinet with vermeil ornamental components and American walnut inlay displays, this magnificent Grande Complication is estimated to auction at a price of CHF 400,000-500,000. To reiterate that it is a piece unique, the clock features a plaque that states” The Only One”.
This year’s auction will see many stunning pieces to bid for. With 54 brands participating for a noble cause, the watch industry celebrates their core essence and shares their love for watches with the world. For any further information on the various watches being auctioned, visit the Only Watch website.