The last time ONLY WATCH conducted its biennial charity auction in 2019 a unique stainless steel Patek Philippe, Grandmaster Chime, ref. 6300A-010, wristwatch sold for a record-breaking CHF 31,000,000 or approximately £24 million. The watch was specifically made for the auction by Patek Philippe.
Indeed, this is no ordinary auction, and neither are the collection of watches and clocks offered in the auction. These timepieces have come directly from leading watch brands, independent watchmakers and include creative collaborations. Most importantly the aim of ONLY WATCH is to raise funds for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy. 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. ONLY WATCH cite that thanks to the generosity of watchmakers, donors, and partners more than 70 million Euros have been raised to date for the cause.
This year the 9th edition of ONLY WATCH will be held on 6 November 2021, in Geneva, Switzerland. The auction will be conducted by Christie’s on behalf on ONLY WATCH. There are 54 participating watch brands and related collaborations involved this year with ONLY WATCH 2021.
Prior to the auction the collection will go on a world tour to be presented to the public, media, and horological enthusiasts.
Monaco – 22 to 25 September – Monaco Yacht show
Dubai – 30 September to 3 October – Christie’s
Tokyo – 8 to 10 October – Christie’s
Singapore – 15 to 20 October – Malmaison by the Hour Glass
Hong Kong – 25 to 28 October – Christie’s
Geneva – 4 to 6 November – Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues
Selecting a few examples from the collection to feature in this article was a bit of a challenge. What to pick? The collection offers everything from dramatic designs to design classics, complex movements, amazing finishes and even includes clocks. For 2021 Patek Philippe have gone with a desk clock, but as you would expect from Patek Philippe this is no standard desk clock. I would greatly encourage readers to view the ONLY WATCH website to see the whole collection. Just a note, you might notice some shades of orange used in the collection – the theme colours of ONLY WATCH 2021.
ArtyA: ‘Is That So?’ – ‘Son of Sound Guitar John Mc Laughlin Unique Edition’, wristwatch
ArtyA, combines uniqueness, creativity, and cutting-edge watchmaking in creating their timepieces. Founded in 2010 by Yvan Arpa, ArtyA, (ART + Yvan Arpa), is an independent watchmaking brand based in Geneva, Switzerland. After collaborating with various legends of the music world, ArtyA has created a new colourful and exceptional project for ONLY WATCH 2021.
The watch is a unique one of one version of the ArtyA Guitar Watch. It has been handcrafted in collaboration with John McLaughlin, the legendary guitarist and Luc Pettavino’s friend, (Luc Pettavino is the founder of ONLY WATCH). Blandenier, a Geneva-based workshop, agreed to join this charitable project by producing the unique dial inspired by the ‘mythical’ album of the guitarist, ‘Is That So?’ It took 110 hours of hand painting work to create the dazzling miniature painting on the dial. The artwork design for the watch dial and the accompanying guitar was created by Marq Spusta, a San Francisco based artist, whose art is collected worldwide and featured on numerous record albums and posters.
The 4 active pushers on the watch case sides are inspired by guitar ‘tuning pegs’ and have the following functions: start/stop (chronograph), reset (chronograph), hours change, date change. The signature of John McLaughlin is engraved on the case back. It is also the first ArtyA Guitar dial to accommodate 6 gold strings and ‘f’ holes. The watch incorporates an ArtyA Woodstock Swiss high-end automatic movement. The watch dimensions are 37mm x L 49mm x H 15mm.
John McLaughlin has matched the ArtyA watch with a personal guitar to be included in the auction along with the watch. The guitar was made by world-renowned luthier, Paul Reed Smith, the Stradivari of guitar making. Certain guitars built by Paul Reed Smith are considered works of art and have been bought by collectors worldwide.
The successful bidder will have the possibility to meet John McLaughlin and the opportunity to visit the workshops of Blandenier and/or ArtyA.
Auction Estimate: CHF 35,000 – 50,000 (approx. £27,608 – 39,440)
Bvlgari: ‘Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar Tantalum’, wristwatch
Bvlgari Horlogerie, watch manufacture, seek to blend Swiss expertise with Italian creativity. Based on the brand’s Octo collection Bvlgari have brought to ONLY WATCH 2021 an Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar Tantalum. Ref. 103578. This one-of-a-kind Octo Finissimo wristwatch uses a Tantalum case and watch crown. Tantalum is an extremely rare metal. In a nod to ONLY WATCH, Bvlgari has also incorporated on the dial markings for the calendar months the letters ‘NOW’ for November instead of the usual NOV. The OW letters are in orange and stand for ONLY WATCH. The auction of course being held in November 2021.
The watch features a deep blue dial echoing the colour of the metal. The watch has an ultra-thin and ultra-complicated mechanical self-winding movement. Manufacture BVL Calibre 305. This 2.75mm thick calibre testifying to the skill of miniaturisation. The watch movement complications include perpetual calendar functions: retrograde date display, retrograde day, month and leap-year indication. The watch is 40mm in diameter.
Bvlgari note that the tantalum metal used on the watch case is not only one of the rarest metals it is also highly resistant to corrosion and biocompatible and is used in medical engineering. Its density is 16.6 g/cm2, making it twice as heavy as steel. This material is of absolute purity, verging on 100%.
Auction Estimate: CHF 80,000 – 120,000 (approx. £63,104 – 94,656)
F.P.Journe: ‘FFC Blue’, wristwatch
François-Paul Journe has been “inventing” and “making” watches for over 40 years. As an independent watchmaking brand F.P.Journe have a limited production of less than 900 mechanical timepieces per year. These are high horology timepieces and for ONLY WATCH 2021 they have created a very unique piece, in collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola, exclusively for the charity auction event. As François-Paul Journe notes.
“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”.
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.
Auction Estimate: CHF 300,000 – 400,000 (approx. £236,641 – 315,521)
H. Moser & Cie: ‘Streamliner Cylindrical Tourbillon Only Watch’, wristwatch
H. Moser & Cie was originally founded in 1828 by Heinrich Moser. Today the watch manufacture is based in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland. The company notes it employs 60 people who develop and produce watches entirely in-house, all equipped with one of their 14 Manufacture calibres.
‘The Streamliner Cylindrical Tourbillon Only Watch’, Ref. 6810-1200, has been designed exclusively for ONLY WATCH. The watch movement, a Calibre: HMC 810, was originally developed in collaboration with MB&F for a special edition launched in 2020. The movement is designed to highlight the ‘balletic dance’ of the 1-minute flying tourbillon equipped with a cylindrical hairspring, developed and produced by Precision Engineering AG, H. Moser & Cie.’s sister company. The watch is topped with a domed sapphire crystal.
To accentuate the depth of the cylindrical tourbillon movement, H. Moser & Cie. The dial incorporates Vantablack®, a super-black coating reputed to be the darkest man-made substance in existence. The coating helps highlight the beauty of the flying tourbillon. Additionally, the curves of the case extend to the integrated steel bracelet, with articulated links featuring a gentle wave combining a vertical brushed finish with polished surfaces. The watch has a 40mm diameter.
The successful bidder for the watch will also get to visit H. Moser & Cie’s manufacture and museum.
Auction Estimate: CHF 60,000 – 80,000 (approx. £47,328 – 63,104)
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 have created 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 stunning Patek Philippe Museum collection.
Patek Philippe note that this unique piece is equipped with their new caliber 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.
Auction Estimate: CHF 400,000 – 500,000 (approx. £315,521 – 394,401)
Zenith: ‘Defy Double Tourbillon Felipe Pantone – Unique Piece for Only Watch’, wristwatch
Zenith’s unique timepiece for ONLY WATCH 2021 features a stunning Sapphire case and houses their famed El Primero watch movement. Ref. 04.9001.9020_49.R782. The dial is open worked and inspired by Zenith’s ‘Defy 21 Felipe Pantone’ recently launched in 2021. The watch incorporates the El Primero 9020 movement. The watch finishing includes “Rainbow” coloured PVD coated bridges, and a black laser engraved main plate and a special oscillating weight. The hour markers are coated with a “Rainbow” varnish and the watch hands are “Rainbow” PVD coated. The watch will be delivered with a Felipe Pantone special watch box, signed by the artist himself. The watch has a 46mm diameter case.
In addition, and in collaboration, a very special artwork made by Felipe Pantone himself will be offered with the auction sale of the watch.
Auction Estimate: CHF 180,000 – 220,000 (approx. £141,984 – 173,536)