Eight Great Timepieces For The 2019 ‘Only Watch’ Auction

Only Watch timepieces on display at Christie's

Some of the Only Watch timepieces on display at Christie's

Anthony DeMarco

Only Watch falls under the patronage of Prince Albert of Monaco and is the initiative of Luc Pettavino, president of the Monaco Association against Muscular Dystrophy. The sale for the eighth edition of this charity auction is being managed by Christie’s.

The collection was first unveiled to the public in September at the Monaco Yacht Show, and then travelled for seven weeks to Dubai, Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei. The watches are now on view at the Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues until the Saturday sale beginning at 2 p.m. CET.

“The 2019 world tour was the most intense and exciting ever. On all the stopovers, we received such a warm welcome,” Pettavino said in a statement. “Not a single hour passed by when we didn’t engage with collectors, journalists, influencers, partners. The Only Watch community has just grown bigger and I’m truly happy about it.”

All of the watches donated by manufacturers and brands are unique and exceptional. But even in this rarefied group there are some standouts. Below are eight of the very best. Several will come as no surprise as they have received plenty of press during the past few months, but they are still worthy of more attention before they are purchased by the highest bidder.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010

It is the most talked about timepiece in the auction. It stands out as the only version of the manufacturer’s Grandmaster Chime produced in stainless steel. The Grandmaster Chime is the first Patek Philippe grande-sonnerie wristwatch ever added to the company’s current collection. It boasts two dials in rose gold and black ebony. The reversible case, adorned with a guilloched hobnail pattern, is notable for its patented reversing mechanism. It features 20 complications in its 47.7mm stainless steel case, including no fewer than five chiming modes, two of which are patented world firsts: an acoustic alarm that strikes the preselected time and a date repeater sounding the date on demand. The caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM mechanical movement also includes a strikework isolator indicator; second time zone with day/night indicator; day, date (on both dials), month, leap-year cycle by hands; a four-digit year display; 24-hour and minute subdials; and a crown position indicator (R,A,H). The rose gold front dial has gold applied Breguet numerals, a calendar side in black ebony and 18k solid gold dial plates.

Its estimate is $2.5 – $3 million; however, during the Only Watch showing in New York, there was talk that this watch had the possibility of achieving $10 million.

F.P. Journe Astronomic Blue/AST

The onetime I met the François-Paul Journe, the master watchmaker and founder of his eponymous company, he was proud of the fact that what he creates for Only Watch are true unique pieces. This newest timepiece–with its prototype movement, 44mm tantalum case made exclusively for this auction, and 18 functions and complications–meets his standard for one offs. It is fittingly one of the top lots in the sale. A blue chrome dial was developed exclusively for Only Watch. The front dial indicates hours, minutes and seconds; a second time zone; and the hours and minutes of sidereal time (a timekeeping system to locate celestial objects). There’s also sunrise and sunset, day and night, moonphase and power reserve indicators. The back of the dial has an annual calendar and equation of time indicator (the offset between mean time and solar time). All of the settings are controlled by the crown. The watch is powered by the exclusive prototype caliber 1619 mechanical movement in 18k rose gold with a double barrel, minute repeater, his distinct tourbillon with “Remontoir d’égalité” (translated as “equal winder” designed to bring constant force to the escapement) that performs a complete rotation in 60 seconds, and dead-beat second.

Its estimate is $300,000 - $600,000.

Richard Mille RM 11-03 McLaren Prototype

This automatic flyback chronograph was created in close collaboration with McLaren engineers to meet the technical challenge of integrating in its curves (both aesthetic and functional) of the McLaren automobile. The case is made of Carbon TPT interlaced with Orange Quartz TPT, resulting in a resistant and light-weight housing that reflects McLaren’s colors. The Carbon TPT enhances the mechanical performance and provides resistance in harsh environments. Titanium pushers fitted to the Carbon TPT case echo the headlamp design of the McLaren 720S. Titanium inserts on the bezel recall the iconic McLaren F1’s air-intake snorkel and bearing the McLaren logo. The complex grade 5 titanium crown is shaped like a McLaren lightweight wheel. The McLaren Speedmark logo is incorporated into the rubber strap. The watch is powered by the automatic RMAC3 caliber, first launched in 2016, with a flyback chronograph. Powered by two barrels mounted in parallel and a balance wheel with variable inertia, the movement has a 55-hour power reserve. In addition to the timepiece, the buyer will receive from McLaren a tailor-made official driver’s racing overall, a “Pure McLaren Experience” driving day with test pilot Bruno Senna, and a private tour of the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England.

Its estimate is $220,000 - $250,000.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked

The 18k pink gold octagonal middle case contrasts with the 18k white gold extra-thin bezel, lugs and caseback. The bezel, lugs and case are satin-brushed, beveled and polished—finishing techniques usually found on calibers. The caseback is engraved with “Unique Piece.” The watch is powered by the caliber 2948 mechanical tourbillon openworked movement. Its rhodium-toned openworked plate, finished with vertical traits-tirés, is enhanced by a pink gold-toned titanium tourbillon and barrel bridges with polished rhodium-toned angles. The movement is decorated in the same two-tone color of the case. The opaline silver-toned white gold inner bezel frames the openworked movement and accentuates the extra-thinness of the watch’s bezel. The long 18k pink gold hands add another subtle touch of color.

Its estimate is $190,000 - $240,000.

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 1 “Night Star”

This model has a 44mm sandblasted anthracite-ceramized titanium case. This treatment renders the metal four times more resistant than traditional titanium. A play on colors is at the heart of the design. It is the first piece by Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud to have hands and numerals equipped with Super-LumiNova. White luminescent material was chosen to contrast with the frosted black dial, which evoke stars in the night sky. Historically, stars were navigators’ reference points for their position on the oceans, thus recalling the heritage of the FB 1 collection, which is based on Ferdinand Berthoud’s work calculating longitude at sea. According to the manufacturer, white Super-LumiNova also serves as a ray of hope that inspires the fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The black ceramic crown inlay matches the frosted black dial. The caseback features three beveled sapphire semi-bridges that provide a view of the rhodium-plated caliber FB-T.FC-2 tourbillon movement with fusée-and-chain transmission and direct-drive seconds.

Its estimate is $170,000 - $200,000.

Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Sapphire Orlinski

Hublot has created a unique piece in the charity’s colors, with signature edges, bevels and facets of the artist Richard Orlinski sculpted into the sapphire—one of the most difficult materials to machine. It’s signed in sapphire as a “Unique Piece.” The white gold bezel, set with 54 baguette-cut topazes, reflects the facets of the 45 mm case. Entirely transparent, it reveals an openworked architecture—a second nod to the work of the French sculptor—showcasing the gears, tourbillon cage and power reserve. The stylized skeleton tourbillon HUB6021 movement merges into the transparent, rubber strap in the colors of Only Watch. It will be delivered in a sapphire gift box, supported by the famous “Wild Kong” by Orlinski. The owner will have the opportunity to meet with Orlinski at his art gallery in Paris.

Its estimate is $150,000 – $180,000.

De Bethune and Urwerk Moon Satellite

One of only two collaborations for Only Watch, these two independent manufacturers created a timepiece that challenges established norms by fusing their distinct designs and functions with floating lugs and the vibrancy of blued titanium, the result of natural thermal oxidation by De Bethune. Under the hood and curved sapphire crystal is the one-off URDB01 caliber jointly developed for this special auction. The crown at 12 o'clock, spherical moon phase and Urwerk’s signature time indication with its satellite window in an arc evokes the sun’s curvature.

Its estimate is $120,000 – $150,000.

Christophe Claret Maestro Corail

The 42 mm black PVD-treated titanium case houses the coral snake motif of the dial, which is visible on both sides of the watch. The patented large date display at 5 o’clock is composed of two cones—one for the tens on the upper part and a second cone for the units. It performs a semi-instantaneous jump between midnight and 20 past midnight. The Maestro’s characteristic “Memo” function appears between 3 and 4 o’clock. Its cone shape is adorned with an orange or blue sapphire serving to remind the wearer of a commitment. It is powered by the DMC16 mechanical movement with a seven day power reserve.

Its estimate is $86,000 - $106,000.

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Fifty unique watches by 52 manufacturers have been created and sent on a world tour. Each is a marvel of design, craftsmanship and mechanical knowhow. Now it’s time for these pieces to go to auction.

The 2019 “Only Watch” auction will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues on November 9 (tomorrow). Approximately 99% of the proceeds for the biennial charity sale will go toward the research into the cure of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. In its first seven editions beginning in 2005, more than 40 million euro has been raised.

Only Watch falls under the patronage of Prince Albert of Monaco and is the initiative of Luc Pettavino, president of the Monaco Association against Muscular Dystrophy. The sale for the eighth edition of this charity auction is being managed by Christie’s.

The collection was first unveiled to the public in September at the Monaco Yacht Show, and then travelled for seven weeks to Dubai, Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei. The watches are now on view at the Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues until the Saturday sale beginning at 2 p.m. CET.

“The 2019 world tour was the most intense and exciting ever. On all the stopovers, we received such a warm welcome,” Pettavino said in a statement. “Not a single hour passed by when we didn’t engage with collectors, journalists, influencers, partners. The Only Watch community has just grown bigger and I’m truly happy about it.”

All of the watches donated by manufacturers and brands are unique and exceptional. But even in this rarefied group there are some standouts. Below are eight of the very best. Several will come as no surprise as they have received plenty of press during the past few months, but they are still worthy of more attention before they are purchased by the highest bidder.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010

It is the most talked about timepiece in the auction. It stands out as the only version of the manufacturer’s Grandmaster Chime produced in stainless steel. The Grandmaster Chime is the first Patek Philippe grande-sonnerie wristwatch ever added to the company’s current collection. It boasts two dials in rose gold and black ebony. The reversible case, adorned with a guilloched hobnail pattern, is notable for its patented reversing mechanism. It features 20 complications in its 47.7mm stainless steel case, including no fewer than five chiming modes, two of which are patented world firsts: an acoustic alarm that strikes the preselected time and a date repeater sounding the date on demand. The caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM mechanical movement also includes a strikework isolator indicator; second time zone with day/night indicator; day, date (on both dials), month, leap-year cycle by hands; a four-digit year display; 24-hour and minute subdials; and a crown position indicator (R,A,H). The rose gold front dial has gold applied Breguet numerals, a calendar side in black ebony and 18k solid gold dial plates.

Its estimate is $2.5 – $3 million; however, during the Only Watch showing in New York, there was talk that this watch had the possibility of achieving $10 million.

F.P. Journe Astronomic Blue/AST

The onetime I met the François-Paul Journe, the master watchmaker and founder of his eponymous company, he was proud of the fact that what he creates for Only Watch are true unique pieces. This newest timepiece–with its prototype movement, 44mm tantalum case made exclusively for this auction, and 18 functions and complications–meets his standard for one offs. It is fittingly one of the top lots in the sale. A blue chrome dial was developed exclusively for Only Watch. The front dial indicates hours, minutes and seconds; a second time zone; and the hours and minutes of sidereal time (a timekeeping system to locate celestial objects). There’s also sunrise and sunset, day and night, moonphase and power reserve indicators. The back of the dial has an annual calendar and equation of time indicator (the offset between mean time and solar time). All of the settings are controlled by the crown. The watch is powered by the exclusive prototype caliber 1619 mechanical movement in 18k rose gold with a double barrel, minute repeater, his distinct tourbillon with “Remontoir d’égalité” (translated as “equal winder” designed to bring constant force to the escapement) that performs a complete rotation in 60 seconds, and dead-beat second.

Its estimate is $300,000 - $600,000.

Richard Mille RM 11-03 McLaren Prototype

This automatic flyback chronograph was created in close collaboration with McLaren engineers to meet the technical challenge of integrating in its curves (both aesthetic and functional) of the McLaren automobile. The case is made of Carbon TPT interlaced with Orange Quartz TPT, resulting in a resistant and light-weight housing that reflects McLaren’s colors. The Carbon TPT enhances the mechanical performance and provides resistance in harsh environments. Titanium pushers fitted to the Carbon TPT case echo the headlamp design of the McLaren 720S. Titanium inserts on the bezel recall the iconic McLaren F1’s air-intake snorkel and bearing the McLaren logo. The complex grade 5 titanium crown is shaped like a McLaren lightweight wheel. The McLaren Speedmark logo is incorporated into the rubber strap. The watch is powered by the automatic RMAC3 caliber, first launched in 2016, with a flyback chronograph. Powered by two barrels mounted in parallel and a balance wheel with variable inertia, the movement has a 55-hour power reserve. In addition to the timepiece, the buyer will receive from McLaren a tailor-made official driver’s racing overall, a “Pure McLaren Experience” driving day with test pilot Bruno Senna, and a private tour of the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England.

Its estimate is $220,000 - $250,000.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked

The 18k pink gold octagonal middle case contrasts with the 18k white gold extra-thin bezel, lugs and caseback. The bezel, lugs and case are satin-brushed, beveled and polished—finishing techniques usually found on calibers. The caseback is engraved with “Unique Piece.” The watch is powered by the caliber 2948 mechanical tourbillon openworked movement. Its rhodium-toned openworked plate, finished with vertical traits-tirés, is enhanced by a pink gold-toned titanium tourbillon and barrel bridges with polished rhodium-toned angles. The movement is decorated in the same two-tone color of the case. The opaline silver-toned white gold inner bezel frames the openworked movement and accentuates the extra-thinness of the watch’s bezel. The long 18k pink gold hands add another subtle touch of color.

Its estimate is $190,000 - $240,000.

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 1 “Night Star”

This model has a 44mm sandblasted anthracite-ceramized titanium case. This treatment renders the metal four times more resistant than traditional titanium. A play on colors is at the heart of the design. It is the first piece by Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud to have hands and numerals equipped with Super-LumiNova. White luminescent material was chosen to contrast with the frosted black dial, which evoke stars in the night sky. Historically, stars were navigators’ reference points for their position on the oceans, thus recalling the heritage of the FB 1 collection, which is based on Ferdinand Berthoud’s work calculating longitude at sea. According to the manufacturer, white Super-LumiNova also serves as a ray of hope that inspires the fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The black ceramic crown inlay matches the frosted black dial. The caseback features three beveled sapphire semi-bridges that provide a view of the rhodium-plated caliber FB-T.FC-2 tourbillon movement with fusée-and-chain transmission and direct-drive seconds.

Its estimate is $170,000 - $200,000.

Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Sapphire Orlinski

Hublot has created a unique piece in the charity’s colors, with signature edges, bevels and facets of the artist Richard Orlinski sculpted into the sapphire—one of the most difficult materials to machine. It’s signed in sapphire as a “Unique Piece.” The white gold bezel, set with 54 baguette-cut topazes, reflects the facets of the 45 mm case. Entirely transparent, it reveals an openworked architecture—a second nod to the work of the French sculptor—showcasing the gears, tourbillon cage and power reserve. The stylized skeleton tourbillon HUB6021 movement merges into the transparent, rubber strap in the colors of Only Watch. It will be delivered in a sapphire gift box, supported by the famous “Wild Kong” by Orlinski. The owner will have the opportunity to meet with Orlinski at his art gallery in Paris.

Its estimate is $150,000 – $180,000.

De Bethune and Urwerk Moon Satellite

One of only two collaborations for Only Watch, these two independent manufacturers created a timepiece that challenges established norms by fusing their distinct designs and functions with floating lugs and the vibrancy of blued titanium, the result of natural thermal oxidation by De Bethune. Under the hood and curved sapphire crystal is the one-off URDB01 caliber jointly developed for this special auction. The crown at 12 o'clock, spherical moon phase and Urwerk’s signature time indication with its satellite window in an arc evokes the sun’s curvature.

Its estimate is $120,000 – $150,000.

Christophe Claret Maestro Corail

The 42 mm black PVD-treated titanium case houses the coral snake motif of the dial, which is visible on both sides of the watch. The patented large date display at 5 o’clock is composed of two cones—one for the tens on the upper part and a second cone for the units. It performs a semi-instantaneous jump between midnight and 20 past midnight. The Maestro’s characteristic “Memo” function appears between 3 and 4 o’clock. Its cone shape is adorned with an orange or blue sapphire serving to remind the wearer of a commitment. It is powered by the DMC16 mechanical movement with a seven day power reserve.

Its estimate is $86,000 - $106,000.

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In a previous life I was an award-winning daily newspaper reporter who moved to business and trade magazines and who now specializes in high jewelry and watches for pub

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