After having my knuckles rapped at my audacity to associate the colour blue with Monaco and Only Watch in my “first look” at the full watch selection [/article/world-events/only-watch-2015-first-thoughts-2449911], I play it safe with an overview of some unique watches offered for the auction that incorporate the meticulous handiwork of the craftsman and craftswoman.
The Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées for Only Watch 2015 shows off the brand’s skills in open-working a mechanical movement. This is always a case of removing the maximum of superfluous material from the movement to allow more light in to reveal the watch’s inner workings. Usually, this is done using a tiny handsaw to remove material from each component, but in this case the design inspiration of ribbed vaults inside 19th century European railway stations led the craftsmen to chase all the parts around their circumference, creating rounded shapes that are in complete contrast with the straight lines of other openworked watch movements.
A nod to the flag after all
While Vacheron Constantin opted for a subtle red insert on its watch’s chapter ring, Jaquet Droz offers a direct nod to the flag of Monaco with a stunning red dial in paillonné enamel with the Petite Heure Minute model’s signature sub-dial in white. Not only is this the first time that Jaquet Droz has incorporated the difficult to obtain red Grand Feu enamel with a 43mm yellow-gold case, it is also the first time that a silicon balance spring has been fitted to a Petite Heure Minute model. This triple whammy of uniqueness is sure to start a bidding war at the Only Watch 2015 sale.
On the theme of cyclicality
Known for its in-house expertise in traditional arts such as hand engine-turning, Chronoswiss offers a quarter-repeater with a hand-engraved solid-gold dial for Only Watch 2015. It is called “Ouroboros” after the name of the image – a dragon eating its own tail – that has been engraved around the dial. Surrounded by hand-cut Breguet thread on the one side and Geneva stripes in galvanic anthracite in the centre, the dial is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and deliberately eschews colour highlights. Lest the time be forgotten amongst the beauty of the sculpture on the dial, the watch’s quarter-repeater mechanism can be activated using a pushbutton at 10 o’clock to chime out the time on two gongs.
A mademoiselle’s private watch
As with the application of many other artistic crafts to watchmaking, Chanel faced a challenge in the development of its Mademoiselle Privé for Only Watch model. Since the dial is embroidered fabric, it had to be fitted with a tension that would ensure it remained pristine for decades – a consideration that doesn’t apply to the embroiderers usual mediums such as dresses. The result is a striking implementation of Mademoiselle Chanel’s favourite motif, the camellia flower, using natural pearls and a combination of delicate embroidery stitches using metallic threads and bright white silk. Not only is this piece unique, it is one of only four ladies’ watches available at this year’s Only Watch 2015 charity auction.