The biennial Only Watch Charity Auction has become something of a fixture on the calendars of haute-horology enthusiasts. Now in its ninth iteration, it was founded by Luc Pettavino to raise funds for his charity, the Monaco Association Against Muscular Dystrophy (AMM). The heartbreaking diagnosis of his five-year-old son, Paul, with the Duchenne strain of the disease inspired Pettavino to champion this worthy cause; Paul succumbed to the condition in 2016 at age 21.
Not only do all proceeds from the Only Watch auction go towards research for the neuromuscular disorder (it has raised an eminently worthy 70 million euros since its inception), the exclusive horological event also affords collectors the chance to acquire one-of-a-kind timepieces. This year, the auction featured 53 unique lots crafted by 54 watchmakers, all donated pro bono, which go under the gavel in Geneva on 6 November. Here, we highlight seven particular standouts.
F.P. Journe FCC Blue (CHF 4.5 million)
First to the table is F.P. Journe’s unusual FCC Blue, inspired by a conversation with famed US director Francis Ford Coppola, who once asked the watchmaker if it would be possible to tell time using a literal human hand. Seven years later, a mechanical marvel with an automaton-powered blue hand taking place of pride on its open-worked fascia, was born. Each of the five fingers extend or retract to display the hours, while minutes are relayed via a peripheral disc.
David Candaux D. Candaux DC7 Genesis Piece Unique (CHF 150,000)
Another collaborative effort takes the form of the D. Candaux DC7 Genesis Piece Unique. The joint brainchild of watchmaker David Candaux and contemporary artist Mikki Saturno, this titanium timepiece features a purple bi-planar flying tourbillon at the top of its dazzling dial. The jewel in its crown, however, is undoubtedly the glorious artwork that covers the rest of its face – a miniature design wholly developed and hand-painted by Saturno himself. Interestingly, whether viewed from the front or the rear, the DC7 is among those rare watches that are perfectly symmetrical along the vertical axis.
Krayon Anywhere Only Watch 2021 Edition (CHF 320,000)
A similarly artistic dial graces the Anywhere Only Watch 2021 Edition by Swiss watchmaker Krayon – in this instance, inspired by Impression, Sunrise by noted impressionist painter Claude Monet, albeit in a mosaic style. Underneath the hood beats a hand-wound prototype calibre C030 movement, and in an impressive engineering feat, the 39mm stainless-steel creation can even be adjusted to calculate the sunrise and sunset times of the winning bidder’s chosen locale.
Jacquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch (CHF 200,000)
Yet another multihued creation is on offer from Jacquet Droz – the Grande Seconde Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch. Rather than comprising a single piece of enamel, its kaleidoscopic plique-à-jour dial is actually a composite of multiple differently coloured and shaped cells, all held in place by gold wire cloisons. Housed in an 18K red-gold case, its Jacquet Droz 2625SQ self-winding movement is enticingly visible through its caseback.
Zenith Defy Double Tourbillon Felipe Pantone Unique Piece for Only Watch (CHF 480,000)
Taking the rainbow motif to new heights is the Defy Double Tourbillon Felipe Pantone Unique Piece for Only Watch by Zenith. Housing an El Primero 9020 movement, rainbow PVD coats its bridges and watch hands, and the hour markers are burnished in a special rainbow varnish. This unique 46mm sapphire-crystal creation also comes with a special Felipe Pantone watch box autographed by the artist.
MB&F HM10 Panda Only Watch (CHF 620,000)
Taking inspiration from the fauna of Planet Earth, meanwhile, is independent label MB&F’s HM10 Panda Only Watch, which, as its name implies, boasts a case contoured to mimic the bamboo-eating mammal. Powered by an in-house HM10 calibre movement, the two black eyes are inhabited by aluminium time-displays, while the teeth indicate the power reserve. Its top is coated with black and white lacquer reminiscent of the animal’s fur coat, while a matching strap completes its panda appeal.
Richard Mille RM 67-02 Charles Leclerc Prototype (CHF 2.1 million)
Finally, there’s Richard Mille’s RM 67-02 Charles Leclerc Prototype. Named after the eponymous F1 racing driver, the timepiece proudly sports his red and white colours, as evidenced by the white and red Quartz TPT case, a proprietary composite materials that is particularly shock resistant. Fitted with a calibre CRMA7 movement and its lightest straps ever, this innovative watch packs a visual punch without ever weighing down the wrist.