Each of the forty-nine unique-piece watches announced (thus far) as fundraisers for the 2017 edition of the Only Watch charity auction has its quirk, unusual color, terrific story or novel technical aspect. As a group, these watches are guaranteed to draw serious collectors to Geneva for the November 11 auction.
But this year’s Only Watch also includes an experiential aspect as part of the draw: the makers were invited to include an ‘experience’ as a type of added value to enhance the bidding for their already exceptional timepieces.
The idea of course is to add to the impressive 25 million euros already raised by the six previous Only Watch auctions, which are organized every other year to fund research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This year’s edition will be overseen by Christie’s, which will hold the final event at its Geneva office.
Many participating watchmakers have answered the call for experiences with expense-paid trips to the firm’s watchmaking atelier, discussions with watchmakers or CEOs and even visits to automotive races or other events related to a brand ambassador.
If this information piques your interest, we suggest you make plans now to visit one of the eight Only Watch 2017 world tour stops, where all these timepieces will be on display–for two days at each location. In addition to visiting cities in Europe and Asia, the Only Watch 2017 preview tour will stop at the Christie’s office in New York on October 29-30 and at Westime (Sunset location) in Los Angeles on November 1-2. For a complete list tour locations, see http://www.onlywatch.com/the-world-tour/
In a series of posts, we’ll profile all the Only Watch 2017 watches, starting today with interesting, unique pieces made by Patek Philippe, MB&F, Tudor and the WOSTEP watchmaking school. (If you’d like to see all the watches now, just click here.)
In upcoming posts over the next few weeks, you’ll see information and images about the remaining watches, posted in no particular order, though we’ll make clear which entries are particularly appealing to us. Each watch is described with an estimated auction price range, and while these are interesting as points of comparison, they frequently have proved far too conservative for many highly desirable models (we’re looking at you Patek Philippe).
The Only Watch 2017 participating brands (as of today) are: Andersen Genève, Armin Strom, Arnold & Son, Audemars Piguet, Barbier Mueller, Bell & Ross, Blancpain, Boucheron, Bovet Fleurier, Breguet, Carl F. Bucherer, Chanel, Chopard, Christophe Claret, Chronoswiss, De Bethune, Dewitt, F.P. Journe, Fabergé, Frédérique Constant, Girard Perregaux, H.Moser & Cie, Harry Winston, Hautlence, Hermès, Hublot, Jacob & Co, Konstantin Chaykin, Laurent Ferrier, Jaquet Droz, Louis Moinet, Louis Vuitton, Maurice Lacroix, MB&F, MCT, Montblanc, Moritz Grossmann, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Rebellion, Ressence, Speake Marin, Tag Heuer, Tudor, Ulysse Nardin, Urwerk, Voutilainen, Zenith. Special Projects: (Agenhor x Head/Haute Ecole d’Art et de Design – Genève), Wostep (Ecole Horlogère – Neuchâtel).
Reference 5208T-010 brings together a minute repeater, a monopusher chronograph, and an instantaneous perpetual calendar displayed in apertures along an arc. With it, Patek Philippe has devised an ultra-complicated 42mm automatic watch, rarely seen among a category typically realized with manual-wind movements. In addition, the watch is the first and only version of this timepiece ever produced in titanium, a metal rarely used by Patek Philippe.
The unique piece features a blue dial with a hand-guilloché carbon-fiber pattern that signals Patek Philippe’s self-described role as protector of the skill needed to create rare handcrafts. The caliber R CH 27 PS QI movement, visible through a sapphire-crystal display back, also presents a distinctive finish with the entire movement being black rhodium-plated. The platinum micro-rotor is hand-guilloché with the same decoration as the dial. A blue Cordura strap echoes the dial color. In addition to the unique timepiece, Patek Philippe will also offer a visit for two to the workshops, lunch with Thierry Stern (Patek Philippe President) and a visit to the Patek Philippe museum. Only Watch auction estimate: $932,000 - $1,139,000.
The Black Bay Bronze, considered Tudor’s flagship model, is here made with the winding crown on the left and with a khaki green dial. This Tudor Black Bay Bronze One’s case is made of an aluminum bronze alloy (used in naval engineering) that will change its appearance over time, typically darkening to a rich patina. The watch, already drawing many fans in online previews, is fitted with a Tudor manufacture caliber with official chronometer certification. The winner of this piece will have the chance to visit Tudor’s headquarters in Geneva, with travel expensed covered. Only Watch’s (likely very low) auction estimate: $4,600 - $5,700
The WOSTEP Watch
WOSTEP, the Swiss-based watchmaking school with partnerships and certified programs worldwide, has historically provided the industry with some of the finest watchmakers. Many students have gone on to create their own brands while others are master watchmakers working behind the scenes within the industry. This commemorative WOSTEP Watch Reference 100 timepiece is a collaboration of sixteen WOSTEP alumni. The watchmakers, many of whom you’ll recognize, are: Stephen Forsey, Bart Grönfeld, Tim Grönefeld, Marco Koskinen, Stewart Lesemann, Marko Makinen, Stephen McDonnell, John McGonigle, Maarten Pieters, Clas-Hendrik Pihl, Jouni Polanen, Mika Saikku, Stepan Sarpaneva, Peter Speake-Marin, Kari Voutilainen and Simo Ylitalo. All these watchmakers have signed the piece.
This unusual 54mm steel-cased watch is the only school watch to be made at WOSTEP and offered to an individual who has not qualified through WOSTEP education. Audemars Piguet supplied the watch’s hands; its grand feu dial is from the Ulysse Nardin-owned Donzé Cadrans. The caliber is based on the ETA 6498-1. Only Watch estimate: $13,000 - $23,000.
This child-friendly version of the MB&F HM No.8 is crafted in white gold and titanium and retains the same shape and appearance as the original HM8, but it features a sapphire crystal engraved with a drawing created by 15-year old artist Cassandra Legendre, along with a miniature white gold elephant sculpture.
Visible under Legendre’s doodle is the automatic HM8 engine with a unique purple winding rotor. Check the lateral time display and you’ll notice a miniature white gold elephant situated between the hour and minute prism; the elephant was sculpted by engraver Olivier Kuhn based on the elephant in Cassandra’s drawing. In a final touch, a happy face replaces the MB&F logo on the double-screwed plate. MB&F says this is to symbolizing the childlike perspective Legendre brings to HM8. Only Watch Estimate: $83,000 - $103,000.
IW will feature more Only Watch 2017 watches in upcoming weeks.