Once every two years, watch enthusiasts eagerly await Only Watch, an exclusive charity auction dedicated to showcasing exceptional timepieces crafted by the world’s finest watchmakers. Since its inception in 2005, when its founder Luc Pettavino established it with the aim of raising funds for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research, the event has undergone a remarkable journey of growth and progress. As the 2023 edition draws near, 62 entries from 73 watchmakers have been announced, and we delve into seven standout timepieces that have captured our attention.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon:
This timepiece showcases a 41mm white ceramic case and bracelet, adorned with a blue hue that contrasts with the open-worked movement’s flying tourbillon cage and rhodium-toned gear train. The intricate Haute Horlogerie decorations, including “traits tires” and polished chamfers, add refinement to each component. The Only Watch Edition gets a blue inner bezel, luminescent coating on white gold hour markers, and other elements designed to optimise visibility. Estimated value: CHF 300,000 – 350,000.
Bell & Ross BR 03 Cyber Rainbow:
Uniquely blending the BR 03 design with elements inspired by the Cyber concept, this timepiece boasts a 3D skeleton movement and a black DLC titanium case adorned with meticulously applied coloured varnished pieces. The blue-lacquered mobile counter with luminescent hands and Arabic numerals ensures easy readability. Estimated value: CHF 45,000 – 55,000.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Marble:
Setting a milestone in ultra-thin watches, this timepiece features green Verde di Alpi marble from the Aosta Valley, evoking abundance and alpine forests with white vein details. Inspired by Roman architecture, it combines historical significance with modern horology. Estimated value: CHF 150,000 – 250,000.
Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur:
With a platinum case and black DLC titanium bezel, this watch showcases a unique “travelling time” mechanism, displaying 24 time zones. The city disk is adorned with luminous colours, while the blue-lacquered mobile counter ensures legibility. Estimated value: CHF 30,000 – 40,000.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Einstein Automata:
Crafted with exceptional artistry, this watch features a dial showcasing micro-sculpture and grisaille enamel techniques, portraying Albert Einstein’s mischievous portrait. The LV 525 calibre brings the dial to life through four animations. The watch is accompanied by a hand-painted Louis Vuitton trunk. Estimated value: CHF 340,000 – 440,000.
Tudor Prince Chronograph One
Breaking from their usual materials, Tudor presents a unique 18K yellow gold interpretation of the iconic ‘Big Block’ Chronograph, which is making a comeback. This unique piece features a brand-new prototype Manufacture Chronograph Calibre, the MT59XX. The 42mm 18K solid yellow gold case is complemented by an 18K yellow gold solid caseback and bezel with an aluminium insert. The timepiece gets a distinctive black dial with sunken gold registers, adorned with ‘Prince Chronograph’ printed above the six o’clock register. Estimated value: CHF 25,000 – 35,000.
Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon
This stunning piece of art showcases Hublot’s first-ever central tourbillon, surrounded by twelve petals adorned with 444 gemstones. With a remarkable power reserve of 150 hours, this timepiece truly represents the fusion of art and high horology, bringing together Swiss luxury watchmaking expertise and Murakami’s playful universe. Murakami’s request for a centrally placed tourbillon in the watch is significant as it aims to portray the tourbillon, the watch’s beating heart, as symbolic of the heart of the buyer supporting the auction as well as the hearts of the courageous children battling the disease. Estimated value: CHF 350,000 – 400,000
The Only Watch 2023 auction will be conducted by Christie’s and is scheduled to take place on November 5th, 2023, at 2 pm CET at the Geneva Palexpo. The auction will be accessible through in-person attendance as well as online via Christie’s website and through telephone bidding, providing a global platform for participants to engage in the event.