ONLY WATCH 2021 Sale Achieves An Extraordinary EUR28.5M

ONLY WATCH 2021 Sale Achieves An Extraordinary EUR28.5M

By Richard Fox

Featuring a veritable who’s who of watchmakers and horological expertise across the 53 lots offered, the 2021 edition of the ‘ONLY WATCH’ biennial charity auction raised CHF 30 million / EUR 28.5 million / GBP 24.2 million for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy. 

Five of the timepieces created for ONLY WATCH 2021 individually broke the CHF (Swiss Franc) one million mark. These included timepieces from Patek Philippe (CHF 9.5 million), F.P. Journe (CHF 4.5 million), Audemars Piguet (CHF 3.1 million), Richard Mille (CHF 2.1 million), and a collaborative wristwatch from both De Bethune and Kari Voutilainen (CHF 1.3 million). All five timepieces are profiled below. 

The charity auction was held in Geneva on 6th November 2021 and was the 9th edition of ONLY WATCH. The auction was conducted by Christie’s on behalf on ONLY WATCH in front of a large audience numbering 850 in the room, with bidders also participating online worldwide. In total over its nine auctions ONLY WATCH has now raised more than CHF 100 million / EUR 95 million / GBP 80 million for this valued research.

The 2021 collection consisted of 53 one-off unique donated timepieces from 54 participating leading watch brands, independent watchmakers and included creative collaborations. The auction is held under the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and at the initiative of Luc Pettavino, Founder of ONLY WATCH, and President of Association Monégasque Contre les Myopathies.

Luc Pettavino, Founder and Organiser of ONLY WATCH speaking at the auction

“This is more than a dream come true and such a strong positive signal. For the participating watchmakers who see their creations recognized and their efforts rewarded. For the lucky buyers who now own a timepiece that is not only unique but also makes them a part of history. And for the hundreds of thousands of patients and their families who are touched by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy as well as for the researchers who are coming ever closer to finding the solution.”

Luc Pettavino, President of the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies (Monaco Association Against Muscular Dystrophy) and Founder and Organiser of ONLY WATCH

The top 5 timepieces by auction sale value: 

Lot 41: Patek Philippe: ‘Complicated Desk Clock’

Established in 1839, Patek Philippe are renowned for their wealth of experience in creating the finest timepieces. For ONLY WATCH 2021 they produced a complicated desk clock. Ref. 27001M-001. The clock was inspired by a desk clock that Patek Philippe delivered to James Ward Packard in 1923. This clock is now held in the Patek Philippe Museum collection in Geneva.

Patek Philippe note that this unique timepiece is equipped with their new calibre 86-135 PEND IRM Q SE. The movement features a perpetual calendar, moon phases, week-number display, and power-reserve indication (31 days). It is adjusted to a precision rate of -1/+1 second per day. This exceptional Grande Complication is housed in a sterling silver cabinet with vermeil decorative elements and American walnut inlays. Dimensions: 164.6mm x 125mm x 76.3mm. 

Sold for: CHF 9,500,000 (approx. £7,676,000)                  Auction estimate: CHF 400,000 – 500,000 

Lot 22: F.P.Journe x Francis Ford Coppola: ‘FFC Blue’, wristwatch

François-Paul Journe has been ‘inventing’ and ‘making’ watches for over 40 years. As a leading independent watchmaking brand F.P. Journe have a limited production of less than 900 mechanical timepieces per year. For ONLY WATCH 2021 they have created a very unique piece, in collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola, exclusively for the charity auction event.

“This watch was born in 2012 while having dinner at Francis Ford Coppola’s house in the Napa Valley. He asked me if it could be possible to tell time with a hand in a watch. I replied that the idea was interesting and required thinking about it. But how to display 12 hours with 5 fingers? It was not an easy matter and this complex challenge inspired and motivated me. Once I figured it out, Francis immediately sent the sketches for the finger’s positions. After more than 2 years, I could finally focus on “Fecit”. After 7 years of development, I am proud to present the FFC prototype.”

François-Paul Journe, Founder of F.P. Journe

The watch also celebrates 20 years of F.P. Journe’s automatic Octa Calibre 1300 model in all its forms. The hand automaton works solely off the Octa movement’s mainspring. The minutes are read by a rotating disk located at the 12 o’clock position, while the mobile fingers appear or disappear instantaneously to display the hour according to their positions. The fingers were inspired from a mechanical hand created by Ambroise Paré (1509-1590), the father of modern surgery. 

The case is made from Tantalum. The watch movement calibre is an automatic FFC 1300.3 in 18K rose gold. The unidirectional oscillating weight is 22K 5N gold, and engraved Ambroise Paré (1509-1590) & F.F.Coppola. The watch diameter is 42 mm. 

Sold for: CHF 4,500,000 (approx. £3,636,000)               Auction estimate: CHF 300,000 – 400,000

Lot 6: Audemars Piguet: ‘Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin Only Watch’, wristwatch

Based in Le Brassus in the Vallée de Joux since 1875, Audemars Piguet is famed for its Royal Oak wristwatch. The model first introduced in 1972 features a distinctive octagonal bezel and hexagonal screws, and a ‘tapisserie’ dial. For ONLY WATCH 2021, Audemars Piguet created a unique Royal Oak wristwatch. 

The Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’ Extra-Thin is the last unique ref. 15202 timepiece and the last unique piece powered by a Calibre 2121. The Calibre 2121 is the brands’ thinnest automatic movement with a central rotor and date indication of its time, first introduced on the Royal Oak in 1972. 

For the watch the case and bracelet combine sandblasted titanium with polished ‘Bulk Metallic Glass’ elements including its bezel. The ‘Petite Tapisserie’ grey hue dial has retained the original Royal Oak’s typography for the signature and monogram as introduced in 1972 with the 5402 A series. The original printed denomination ‘Swiss’ has also been kept under the hour-marker at 6 o’clock.

The wristwatch has a glare proofed sapphire crystal and case back. The self-winding Calibre 2121 has a total thickness of 3.05 mm and a minimum guaranteed power reserve of 40 hours. Water-resistant to 50m. The watch diameter is 39 mm with a case thickness of 8.1 mm. 

Sold for: CHF 3,100,000 (approx. £2,504,800)                           Estimate CHF 160 000 – 320 000

Lot 45: RICHARD MILLE: ‘RM 67-02 Charles Leclerc Prototype’, wristwatch


Founded in 2001 Richard Mille has partnered with multiple high-profile individuals across the world of sport. The brands’ objective is to include in their timepieces the ‘best of cutting-edge innovative technology, a strong, imaginative artistic and architectural dimension, and watches designed to be resistant and ergonomic’. 

The RM 67-02 prototype wristwatch was developed for Formula 1, Scuderia Ferrari team driver Charles Leclerc. Creating, as Richard Mille note, ‘a watch that was like a second skin for Charles Leclerc, permitting a sort of ‘symbiosis’ with him was the guiding ambition that propelled the development of the RM 67-02’. Additionally, the prototype wristwatch has helped the brand to test new technical solutions for subsequent models. 

The watch is finished in the flag colours of Charles Leclerc’s home country of Monaco. The case is crafted in white and red Quartz TPT®, composite materials exclusive to Richard Mille, possessing exceptional shock resistance. The dial features grade 5 titanium. The in-house calibre CRMA7 is skeletonised. The RM 67-02 is noted as the lightest automatic watch within the Richard Mille collection. The watch dimensions are 47,25 x 38,70 x 7,80 mm. 

The successful bidder for the wristwatch will receive two passes for the 2022 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix. As VIP guests of Scuderia Ferrari they will also have the opportunity to meet Charles Leclerc at the prestigious race event.

Sold for: CHF 2,100,000 (approx. £1,701,200)                          Auction estimate CHF 270 000 – 330 000

Lot 21: DE BETHUNE x VOUTILAINEN: ‘Kind of Magic’ wristwatch

To help support the ONLY WATCH 2021 auction two leading independent manufactures, De Bethune and Voutilainen, collaborated to create a unique wristwatch called, ‘Kind of Magic’. 

In order to respect each other’s work independent watchmakers Denis Flageollet from De Bethune and Kari Voutilainen designed a wristwatch with two different dial faces. Each dial face is distinctive to their own respective individual design aesthetic. The dials are reversible. 

“Kari and I share the blood line of watchmaking know-how passed on by the man who taught us both: Charles Meylan. I am pleased that we are combining our experience with that of Voutilainen for the beautiful cause represented by Only Watch 2021, and delighted by this moment of sharing.”

Denis Flageollet, De Bethune’s Co-Founder and master watchmaker

The case is made from polished grade 5 titanium. Featuring an OW21 calibre with a dead beat second, 4 days power reserve, titanium balance wheel with white gold inserts, optimized for temperature differences and air penetration. A balance-spring with flat terminal curve and silicon escape wheel are also incorporated. The watch diameter is 43.3mm. 

Sold for: CHF 1,300,000 (approx. £1,050,400)                               Estimate CHF 200 000 – 250 000

For further information: 

Only Watch


Audemars Piguet

De Bethune

F.P. Journe

Patek Philippe

Richard Mille

Kari Voutilainen

Copyright and Credits 

© All photo images of the live auction are courtesy and copyright Gregory Maillot photography

© All photo images of the auction lots are courtesy and copyright of ONLY WATCH and Christie’s  

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