The ninth biennial edition of Only Watch, the world’s most important charity watch auction will be held on November 6 in Geneva. 54 of the world’s most prestigious watch brands have contributed a specially made timepiece for the auction, the proceeds of which will benefit the Monaco-based Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy to help fund research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic neuromuscular disease affecting 250,000 children, adolescents, and young adults worldwide. Since the first auction in 2005, Only Watch has already raised over 70 milion euros. As the watchmakers reveal their unique creations, we look at some of the most striking contributions.
LOUIS VUITTON TAMBOUR CURVE GMT FLYING TOURBILLON ONLY WATCH 2021
Extrapolated from the Möbius strip, and inspired by a case from a 2002 Tambour, the 46mm case of this watch is made from titanium. Designed to display a second time zone on the dial, it features two push- pieces on the right side that are used to simplify the setting of the GMT, allowing the dedicated indicator, positioned within the open counter at 3 o’clock, to move forwards or backwards. The dial is openworked without being truly skeletonised, and is crafted in two separate parts. The ‘V’ Gaston Vuitton signature punctuates the dial on the flying tourbillon carriage at 9 o’clock. It can also be spotted between the counters where, through dovetailing and relief effects created with the sub-dial, it depicts the silhouette of an hourglass. The hour markers are suspended from the flange featuring sparkling baguette sapphires that have been individually machined. LV 82 Calibre, the mechanical movement with automatic winding, has a power reserve of 65 hours.
AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK ‘JUMBO’ EXTRA-THIN ONLY WATCH
This watch represents the end of an era. It is the last 15202 reference watch featuring Calibre 2121, the movement that powered the first Royal Oak in 1972, and was, at that time, the thinnest automatic movement around, with central rotor and date indication. The 39mm diameter, 8.1mm thick sandblasted case is complemented with a bezel made from hand-polished Bulk Metallic Glass made from a palladium alloy. The latter has also been used for the frame of the sapphire caseback and for the bracelet studs. The Petite Tapisserie dial retains the aesthetic codes of 1972 Royal Oak with the 5402 A series. The printed ‘Audemars Piguet’ signature, the mention ‘Automatic’ appearing at 12 o’clock, and the AP monogram at 6 o’clock are in the same position and typography as the original watch. Power reserve of 40 hours.
BLANCPAIN FIFTY FATHOMS ONLY WATCH 2021
This watch revisits a Blancpain diving watch from the mid-60s, which famously featured a logo saying ‘no radiations’ to indicate that radium, a harmful radioactive material, was not used for the luminescence of its dial. It features a matt black dial with traditional geometrical hour-markers combining round dots, rectangles, and a diamond- shaped mark at 12 o’clock. The chapter ring, the hands, and the time scale on the bezel all feature orange Super-LumiNova, a special colour representing the 2021 edition of Only Watch. The original yellow and red colours of the logo have been replaced by orange and yellow, respectively. The unidirectional rotating bezel, with its old-style graduations, typical of the early Fifty Fathoms models, is fitted with a sapphire insert, a distinctive feature of the contemporary collection. Comes in a 40.3mm steel case. The self-winding Blancpain Calibre 1154 has a four-day power reserve. The solid gold rotor that winds its two barrels bears a special ‘Only Watch’ inscription.
BREGUET TYPE XX ONLY WATCH 2021 CHRONOGRAPH
This faithful re-edition of the renowned Breguet pilots watch follows up from the Type 20 military chronograph that the brand put up for auction in 2019. It pays tribute to the civilian edition of the Type XX chronograph from the 1950s and 60s, meticulously reproducing its looks and mechanical codes. As with the original, the steel case is 38.3 mm in diameter, with a bi-directional rotating bezel with triangular markings for flight calculations. The bronze-coloured dial is also a nod to both civilian and military watches of that time, which featured similar dials. It features a small seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock, and a 30-minute totaliser at 3 o’clock. The hand-wound Valjoux 23513 movement, with its fly-back function, is directly derived from the Valjoux 22214 lines used by Breguet in the 1950s and early 1960s. Power reserve of 45 hours.
JAQUET DROZ GRANDE SECONDE SKELET-ONE TOURBILLON ONLY WATCH
Featuring the distinctive off-centred hours and minutes at 6 o’clock, the tourbillon frame and off- centred seconds at 12 o’clock, this is the first Grande Seconde Skelet-One equipped with a tourbillon, and the first one to feature plique-à-jour enamel dial. There are other big changes as well. The skeleton structure is very different from the original Skelet-One. As against the usual soft and supple curves, this watch focuses on straight lines and angles. The tourbillon has been reworked in titanium. The sapphire bridges have been eliminated, the cage lightened and optimised for the chronometric functions, and the balance spring and pallet lugs are made of silicon. The sapphire dial, with plique-à-jour enamel on a 18K white gold base, has also been specially made. As against curves and soft, slightly domed lines of the past, this dial is made up of colourful straight and geometric sections separated by white gold, and polished with fine diamond powder. Comes in a 41mm, 18K red gold case, equipped with a self-winding skeleton tourbillon movement with a power reserve of seven days
CARL F. BUCHERER HERITAGE BICOMPAX ANNUAL ONLY WATCH EDITION
This watch comes in a 41mm, 18K white gold case with an elegant calf leather strap with light blue flanks. The silvered dial features two light blue counters, light blue tachymetric scale, raised chrome Arabic numerals at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, month aperture, and a big date display that takes the different month lengths — 30 and 31 days — into account, and needs to be corrected only after February. The CFB 1972 automatic chronograph caliber has a power reserve of 42 hours.
BVLGARI OCTO FINISSIMO PERPETUAL CALENDAR TANTALUM FOR ONLY WATCH
For its debut watch at the Only Watch auction, Bulgari has created a new iteration of the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar launched earlier this year as the thinnest perpetual calendar ever, with the case measuring just 5.8 mm. Instead of titanium, the 40mm case is in tantalum, a metal that is twice as hard as titanium, and is highly resistant to corrosion and totally biocompatible. The mechanical self- winding movement, which is only 2.75mm thick, drives the indications of the hours and minutes, retrograde date, day, month, and retrograde leap year. 60-hour power reserve.
CHOPARD ALPINE EAGLE XL CHRONO ONLY WATCH
This watch is distinguished by its dial that is made from granite found in Switzerland’s Graubünden Canton. The blue and green speckles recall the colours of the Alpine massif seen from the sky. The addition of the black counters for the 30-minute, small seconds and 12-hour indications, respectively placed at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, is carefully designed to highlight the natural hue of the granite. For the first time, the extra-wide 44mm diameter case is made from Lucent Steel A223, an innovative bead blasted steel alloy made from 70 per cent recycled material and developed by Chopard. The chronograph, with a fly-back function, has a power reserve of 60 hours.
GIRARD-PERREGAUX CASQUETTE ONLY WATCH EDITION
This watch is a reinterpretation of the Casquette watch with a quartz movement that Girard-Perregaux launched in 1976, which featured an unusual tapered profile, its sleek shape seemingly honed in a wind tunnel. As was common in those early days of quartz, an LED digital display presented the information in vivid red numerals. In the 2021 version, powered by a new quartz movement, the sapphire glass and LED display share the same look as the 1976 original. While retaining functions like hours, minutes, seconds, and date, there are some new additions like a second time zone, chronograph, and a ‘secret date’. The latter feature allows the wearer to program the watch to display a significant date daily, at a time of their choosing. Comes in a 42.40 x 33.60mm forged carbon and titanium case with titanium pushers, and a calf leather strap embossed with an alligator effect.