The full list of brands who have generously offered one-of-a-kind timepieces for this year’s Only Watch charity auction is now known. We see the variety familiar from the Swiss watchmaking industry, including some brand new materials and movement decorations, although the presence of only four ladies’ watches among the unique pieces is a little disappointing.
At its last edition in 2013, the Only Watch auction raised just over five million euros for research into muscular dystrophy, well over half of which came from the sale of just one watch (unsurprisingly a Patek Philippe, Ref. 5004T, which sold for 2.65 million euros). So the bar is already set high, but with this year’s sale being held in the world’s watch capital, Geneva, under the expert guidance of Phillips auction department and with Aurel Bacs wielding the gavel, there is every chance of a new record being set.
Somewhat ironically, if there is one theme to be seen in the models that will be going under the hammer this year, it is the colour blue that is so firmly associated with Monaco and the origins of Only Watch. Almost a quarter of the watches that will be sold at Only Watch 2015 take on the blue theme in a big way, from the delicate jewellery piece of Boucheron to the colossal Rebellion forged carbon regulator (see the full selection of blue pieces by clicking on the cover image for this article).
A trio in blue
Just taking the blue theme alone already reveals the great variety in the pieces put forward by the brands this year. Van Cleef & Arpels specifically cites the Principality of Monaco and the shimmering blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea as the inspiration for its Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs unique piece for Only Watch 2015. A model of simplicity with its two separate hour windows for a dual time display and a retrograde minute display around half of the dial, this watch allows the deep blue of its dial and strap to shine through.
DeWitt offers a unique interpretation of the Academia Out of Time model for Only Watch 2015. A hand-applied decoration on the dial, dotted with flecks of silver, accentuates the contrast between real time (as evidenced by the staccato movement of the dead-beat small seconds hand on the right) and the virtual time that we cannot measure (shown by the random circles on the whirling disc on the left), with the night scene of a starry sky above mountains adding a third element of distraction on the dial.
The fact that the Patek Philippe Ref. 5016A-010 made available for Only Watch 2015 has a blue dial is more of a secondary characteristic. Much more interesting to collectors is that this is the first and only such reference that will be available in stainless steel. Its tourbillon, minute-repeater and perpetual calendar complications (the latter complete with a retrograde date hand) stand it in good stead to beat the brand’s price at Only Watch 2013 (which was for a “mere” split-seconds chronograph with perpetual calendar).