Once again it’s time for the most magnificent horological auction the world has ever seen: Only Watch! As the name suggests, this sale is the coming together of the biggest and best watchmakers in the world, each of which submits a unique timepiece for the auction.
As an event it’s more than mere posturing – though there’s plenty of that. The proceeds of the sale will go towards research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy and, if other years are anything to go by, that’s a lot of proceeds.
As no less than 50 watches have been built for the occasion we’re not about to go through them all. Here instead are our lots to watch come November 9th. Oh and no, we’ve not included the Patek. If you want more on that potential record breaker, check it out here.
Singer Track 1 Only Watch Edition, EUR 40,000 – 49,000
It’s not easy making a watch like the phenomenal Track 1 even cooler but this edition seems to have found a way. The solution it seems was to enlist a little help, namely from the Damascus steel using, Viking-inspired watchmakers over at GoS. Here they have built a stunning version of the signature Track 1 case, alternating deep and light etching to fully show off the waves of the Damascus steel. This has then been given a special black DLC coating to bring it in line with the black dial and let the gold indexes and orange hands pop all the more; singerreimagined.com
Breguet Type 20 Only Watch 2019, EUR 31,500 – 45,000
Something more reserved from Breguet than we’re used to – check out the last Breguet we got hands-on with here – but the Type 20 is an important piece of the watchmaker’s heritage all the same. Here it gets a faithful 50s throwback, with a military-inspired bronze-coloured dial and a flyback function. The movement is as authentic as possible, a derivative of the original Valjoux 222 used back when this was a French Ministry of Defence timepiece.
F.P. Journe Astronomic Blue, EUR 270,000 – 539,000
This is off the wall even for F.P. Journe. For one thing, the entire case is made of tantalum, an incredibly durably but equally heavy metal – cool but perhaps not all that wearable at 44mm. Then there’s the fact that this is actually a prototype movement; it’s not just a unique twist, it’s an entirely unique watch. It shows local and sidereal time, sunrise and sunset, day and night, moon phase and power reserve on the front; annual calendar and equation of time on the back. Oh and there’s a tourbillon and minute repeater hidden in there somewhere too, because of course there is.
Voutilainen TP1 Pocket Watch, EUR 45,000 – 63,000
We don’t see all that many pocket watches at Only Watch but if anyone can pull the medium off it’s Voutilainen. There’s no better canvas to illustrate what the artisan manufacture does better than anyone else: finishing. The first familial collaboration between Kari Voutilainen and daughter Venla, the TV-screen case with its visible screws makes a striking counterpoint to the dial in a multitude of blues and even more types of guilloche. With contrast orange indexes, it’s a masterclass in turning the simple into the sublime – and a steal at EUR 45,000.
Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked Only Watch Edition, EUR 171,000 – 216,000
The Code 11.59 collection might not have heralded a new era for Audemars Piguet in quite the way they were hoping, but if anything’s gonna give the watch the shot in the arm it needs it’s this. Using the same, bold case as the mainstream line, here the dial has been beautifully openworked to create a spider’s web of the dial. The architectural nature is enhanced by a two-tone case, with a rose gold octagonal midsection, matching the rose gold tourbillon bridge. If only Code 11.59 had come out swinging like this…
Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Only Watch 2019, EUR 40,000 – 48,000
Recently, Montblanc has been giving the old Minerva manufacture, the factory they took over, the credit they deserve and this stunning take on an old military monopusher chronograph is a black card’s worth. On one side, beautiful blue dial with a retro chronograph display; on the other, a breath-taking split-seconds movement. It’s less cutting-edge than most Only Watch entries but it’s a damn sight prettier, too.
Tudor Black Bay Ceramic One, EUR 4,000 – 5,000
Black on black on black… not the most sensible of colourways for low-light reading… or so you’d think. Tudor would beg to differ, by using black luminescent material on their indexes for this otherwise perfect stealth watch. The full ceramic case (minus the PVD-steel caseback), black dial and matching alligator strap make for one of the most striking Tudors ever built and, with the lume, still maintains diving practicality. Add in a very, very enticing estimate and you have a watch that’ll be fought over tooth and nail.
For the full list of entries into this year’s Only Watch auction, visit www.onlywatch.com.