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Having raised over CHF 40 million so far, Only Watch initiative returns for its eight edition this November with 50 outstanding lots.
We love a good cause, and we love Swiss watches. But we’d never have guessed how they’d combine to create quite the recipe for change.
In case you haven’t heard of it, the Only Watch initiative is a charity watch auction held every two years in Geneva. It started back in 2005 under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, and it has a specific cause: to raise funds to find the cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Only Watch will return this November with 50 lots from 52 partners (two of which are collaborative pieces). The event kicks off at the Monaco Yacht Show on September 25, with a promotional tour of all the timepieces across 10 cities, including Dubai, New York, and Singapore. They arrive in Geneva early November, just in time for the auction. Christie’s will act as the official auctioneer for the second time.
What is Duchenne muscular dystrophy?
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a degenerative disease that affects 1 in 3,000 male births. It causes children to gradually lose motor functions, which often leads to poor quality of life and early death.
One historical figure known for battling this disease is Alfredo (Dino) Ferrari, the first son of Enzo Ferrari. His birth convinced Enzo to end his racing career, and focus on grooming his successor. Alfredo grew up to become an automotive engineer, but while working at Ferrari, began experiencing trouble moving and maintaining balance. He was diagnosed with DMD and died in 1956, while still working on an engine. Years later, Ferrari named the car fitted with this engine ‘Dino’.
Many bright, young men like Dino have had their potential cut short at the fate of this disease. According to Only Watch founder and organizer Luc Pettavino, the dream is to develop a body of science strong enough to develop a cure (see research progress here). However, the road to clinical testing is still long and arduous. That’s why the Only Watch initiative needs the support of industry leaders now, more than ever.
“With Only Watch, everyone creates beauty to do good, meaning in this case supporting the work of dozens of researchers around the world, financing studies, purchasing material, creating biotech companies in the chemistry and biology sector,” said Pettavino in a statement.
Over 40 million Swiss Francs (CHF) have been raised across the 7 editions so far, with 99% of all proceeds going directly into research projects. The initiative will return for the eight time this year.
Here we’ve compiled five standout pieces created especially for Only Watch 2019. Which would your place top dollar on?
Breguet Type 20 Chronograph
Breguet revives a classic for Only Watch - particularly, a special version of its Type 20 pilot chronograph from the 50s. Not only does its pear-shaped crown stand out, it also harkens the first-generation military models utilised by the French Air Force and Naval Air Force. The Valjoux 235 movement inside is also based on the classic model, and it comes complete with the flyback function. This allowed pilots to easily restart the chronograph by pressing the lower push-button. W Breguet for Only Watch
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic
Presenting a one-of-a-kind piece from its iconic Grande Seconde collection, Jaquet Droz catches the eye with a contemporary red fabric strap. Red represents both the colour of love and Monaco, where the Only Watch tour kicks off this September. The bright hue pops on the rail-track, gold hour, minute and seconds hands, especially against the black ceramic case and hour ring. This model uses a self-winding skeleton mechanical movement called Jaquet Droz 2663 SQ. W Jaquet Droz for Only Watch
Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Sapphire Orlinski
Hublot's flair for extravagance is embodied in each of the 54 baguette-cut topazes that decoratate this watch's white gold bezel. The piece is entirely transparent, which draws attention to its skeleton dial - specifically, the gears, tourbillon cage and power reserve. Presented by artist Richard Orlinski, this special blue Hublot promises more than a timepiece. Following the auction, its proud owner will get to meet Orlinski himself at his Paris art gallery - a space entirely dedicated to his life's work. Their lot will be delivered in a sapphire gift box and accompanied by the artist's 'Wild Kong' figurine, in a matching blue. W Hublot for Only Watch
Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59
CODE 11.59 has always been a symbol of overcoming human challenges, so its presentation for this cause is all the more fitting. This AP features an open-worked dial in two distinct tones; an 18K pink gold octagonal middle case offsets the white gold inner bezel to edgy effect. White gold touches continue on the lugs and caseback. Each of these parts are satin-brush, bevelled, and polished, lending a treatment usually reserved for calibres. Turn the caseback around to find an engraving of the phrase "Unique Piece" - a silent reminder of this piece's purpose. W Audemars Piguet for Only Watch
MB&F x L’Epée Tom & T-Rex
One of the two collaborative pieces is sure to capture hearts with its unique narrative. Meet Tom, a little boy holding a mystical blue marble of Murano glass as he rides his T-Rex. Made of palladium-plated brass, bronze and stainless steel, this pieces is a symbol for rays of hope in a sick child's life: imagination to keep the spirit soaring, and scientific advancements that get closer to a cure ever day. A large, sentient cyborg panopticon 'eyeball' makes up most of the T-Rex's main body - this is also the dial. Time is set by fitting a key through the centre of this dial. The movement is made up of 138 components, and it comes with a power reserve of 8 days. Fun fact: T-Rex's legs were modelled after 3D scans of actual T-Rex bones. W MB&F x L’Epée for Only Watch
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Learn more about the Only Watch initiative on its official website.
Images: Respective brands