The adventure began at the dawn of the 21st century when Blancpain became a partner of the Monaco Yacht Show, whose President Luc Pettavino created in parallel the Monaco Association against Muscular Dystrophy to advance research and thus help children suffering from this debilitating disease. As part of this charitable momentum to find treatment solutions, two monothematic artistic projects (Mona Lisa in 2001 and Adam and Eve in 2002) were launched in order to raise funds. Displaying what Luc Pettavino describes as “an immediate willingness to listen and a benevolent attitude”, Blancpain was at the time the only watch brand taking part in this charity operation. Christened Only One in 2003 and 2004, the auction united luxury brands donating an exceptional piece to this altruistic cause, among which Blancpain was once again the only watchmaker. In 2005 the project became the Only Watch biennial auction and received unconditional support from Blancpain as well as from the Swatch Group management, which encouraged Luc Pettavino to welcome other major watch brands from both inside and outside the group in a spirit of unity. For the sixth time this year, more than 40 of them – naturally including Blancpain – have created a one-of-a-kind model for Only Watch.
In parallel with Only Watch, Blancpain has continued to support the Monaco Association against Muscular Dystrophy (AMM) through other charitable activities. After the ADAC GT Masters championship won in 2011 by Marc A. Hayek at the wheel of his Lamborghini Gallardo LP 600 GT, the Blancpain CEO donated this exceptional vehicle to the auction organised on behalf of the AMM at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
Looking back over the six editions of Only Watch, Blancpain VP Alain Delamuraz considers that the one-of-a-kind model best expressing the DNA of the Manufacture in Le Brassus is the Villeret Only Watch 2015, combining extremely accomplished aesthetics with sophisticated and exclusive technical content. In addition, it also intrinsically unique in two ways: through its personalisation specifically for Only Watch, and by housing a calibre that is unique in watchmaking history. Far from being the kind of marketing coup all too often seen in the industry, its Chinese calendar stems from an authentically R&D-driven approach and from due respect for Chinese philosophy. Indeed, as watch expert Aurel Bacs – who will be wielding the hammer at the November 7th auction in Geneva – points out, it is the only movement indicating both the Chinese and Gregorian calendars. Blancpain is thus doubly loyal to Only Watch, in terms of both form and substance.
Click on the photo at the top of this article to see a retrospective of Blancpain unique timepieces for Only Watch.