Only Watch is back! Just a quick recap regarding what this biennial event is about. Every two years, watchmakers gather together to auction off unique timepieces in order to raise funds for research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. An incredible 40 million CHF has been collected since Only Watch’s inception in 2005 — a truly outstanding feat of generosity.
On the second Saturday in November, Only Watch will auction off these amazing timepieces. So, in this special round-up edition, we’re going to take a look at some of these charitable watches that caught our eye. Enjoy!
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda
The first unique piece that we’re going to feature comes from Blancpain in the form of the marvellous Fifty Fathoms Barakuda. Featuring a gorgeous vintage look coupled with Superluminova that has a blue glow, the Barakuda is a simple but exceptional submission from Blancpain. Not overdone, but definitely exuding a sense of watchmaking purity that makes Blancpain one of my favourite watchmakers, the Barakuda is one of the more wearable submissions to Only Watch 2019.
Breguet Type 20
The second piece is from Breguet with the Type 20. I make it no secret that Breguet’s Type XX range is one of my favourites, and the Type 20 is just another reason I feel that this collection deserves more attention. The Type 20 features a distinct vintage style, a manually wound chronograph that is hidden behind an inscribed caseback, a stunning bronze coloured dial and a beautiful onion-shaped crown.
The riveted bezel, twisted lugs and exposed mushroom pushers continue the consistent vintage feel of the Type 20, and although this watch probably won’t break records, it is Only Watch’s more beautiful watches.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual
Featuring an enamel chestnut dial, Jaeger-LeCoultre‘s submission to Only Watch 2019 is a remake of the superb Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual. The white gold Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual’s chestnut coloured dial has been hand guilloched, creating a very unique and very beautiful sunburst pattern radiating from the centre of the dial.
The chestnut brown enamel dial is the highlight here, but all in all the Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual is a triumph. Like the Type 20 from Breguet, my sentiments regarding the Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual are the same in that I feel it will be overlooked, but surely is a worthy contender for Only Watch’s most beautiful watch.
Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked
A fan favourite of Only Watch, and one to never shy away from controversy, Audemars Piguet‘s submission is perhaps the event’s most surprising. Its CODE 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked will be offered for sale, however, for the event, Audemars Piguet has emblazoned it in a two-tone colour palette. Featuring a mix of white gold and rose gold, the CODE 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked has a striking look to it that is continued through to the tourbillon, barrel bridges and hands.
The result is a very dramatic look that is actually really quite appealing. I’ve noted that the CODE 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked was my favourite piece from Audemars Piguet’s newest collection, and its Only Watch 2019 edition is a superb entry for sure.
F. P. Journe Astronomic Blue
Journe last two charitably entries into Only Watch brought about some insane prices. In 2015 the Tourbillon Souverain Bleu was sold for 550,000CHF and in 2017 the Split Seconds Chronograph blew everyone away, selling for 1.15 million CHF. So, I think it’s safe to say that the Astronomic Blue is going to smash some records. Technically, this watch is, in a word, extreme.
It features a tourbillon with a remontoire d’egalite, a deadbeat seconds, a moonphase indicator, a sidereal time, a sunrise/sunset indicator, an annual calendar with zodiac indication, an equation of time oh, and a minute repeater, just to round things off. And all of this is stuffed in a super wearable 44mm wide by 13.75mm thick tantalum case. Expect records to be broken, ladies and gentlemen.
Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph
Montblanc’s 1858 Split Second Chronograph was already a highly acclaimed watch when it was released back in January during this year’s SIHH. So, it was only logical that Montblanc would choose it to represent the brand at Only Watch 2019. This 1858 Split Second Chronograph features a blue dial made of Agate stone and sits in a satin-finished 44mm wide titanium case.
The movement is from Minverva in the form of the calibre M16.31, and as you all know the split second chronograph (or rattrapante) is one of my favourite movements ever, so the 1858 Split Second Chronograph is a no brainer for me.
Tudor Black Bay Ceramic One
Featuring a case made of ceramic, titanium and steel, Tudor’s Black Bay Ceramic is going to absolutely slaughter this year’s Only Watch auction. Way back in 2015, Tudor’s Black Bay One sold for a whopping 375,000CHF. Yep — a simple Black Bay sold for almost as much as a brand new Ferrari. So, for me to confidently sit here and say that the Black Bay Ceramic will bring in a whole lot of coin isn’t entirely insane, right?
The blacked out theme of the case extends to the matte black dial too, with matte black indexes rounding off the dark theme of the Black Bay Ceramic. This would be the watch I’d be bidding on, until I get priced out, of course.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One
Jaquet Droz’s submission to Only Watch 2019 is a red and black ceramic interpretation of its very appealing Grande Seconde Skelet-One. Aesthetically, the Grande Seconde Skelet-One is modern, striking and wonderful. The openworked nature of the dial has been executed supremely well, showing off an enormous amount of details, finishings and textures. The red dial highlights match the strap and is a homage to the flag colours of Monaco, where the charity is based.
Ulysse Nardin Exo-Skeleton X
Like the Grande Seconde Skelet-One from Jaquet Droz, Ulysse Nardin’s entry to Only Watch 2019 is a highly contemporary watch. The Exo-Skeleton X is distinct, dramatic and full of emotion, apparent through its skeletonised dial and striking case architecture. It has a wonderful modern look to it that is further extenuated by the orange and white theme. The Exo-Skeleton X is an awesome spectacle, combining theatrics with high levels of complexities.
Featuring a blue aesthetic and components hand-blown with a blowtorch, the Re-Volt is Rebellion’s charitable submission to this year’s Only Watch auction. It’s a broad, bold watch that combines sharp edges with clean lines in a striking package that screams presence. The Re-Volt looks rather large in stature, but in reality and with thanks to its restrained dimensions, it is actually quite a streamlined watch, well versed for daily wear.
Arnold & Son DSTB
Arnold & Son’s entry is the DTSB (stands for Dial Side True Beat). This time clad in an anthracite DLC-coated stainless-steel case, the DTSB has a beautiful stealth look to it. The deadbeat seconds mechanism, or in this case the True Beat, is an exquisite complication that really needs to be seen in the metal to be appreciated. The dial features a snailed look and its darkness matches the case, creating a consistent flow throughout the watch. Another amazing submission by one of my favourite watchmakers.