Every two years the watch world gets together to help raise money for charity the only way they know how – by holding a big, super-exclusive auction. Now in its eight year, Only Watch tasks watchmakers with producing unique timepieces to go under the hammer, with 99 per cent of the profits being donated to Monegasque Association Against Muscular Dystrophy (AMM).
This year, 52 houses have produced 50 one-of-a-kind watches (there are two collaborative watches in the selection) that are estimated to be sold for between £8,000 to £2,000,000 per piece. While the auction is set to take place later this year at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva on 9 November, all 50 watches will be taken on a world tour beforehand so prospective buyers can get a chance to get a sneak preview before the bidding starts. After visiting Monaco, Dubai and Paris, they will be stopping in London at Christie’s from 11 to 13 October for what could be your only chance to see some of these watches before they’re sold into private collections around the globe.
We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite watches from the extremely wearable to the most ‘out there’ designs at this year’s auction.
Tudor Black Bay Ceramic One
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the Tudor Black Bay, but this blacked-out model shows that Tudor knows how to do cool. With all-black models being seen more and more on the watch scene at the moment (Virgil Abloh was spotted wearing an all-black Royal Oak recently), could this be a sign of what’s to come from the watch house? Let’s hope so.
Estimated to sell for €4,000 — €5,000 (approx. £3,590 — £4,490)
Speake-Marin London Chronograph Only Watch Edition
The London Chronograph is housed in a titanium Piccadilly case and is powered by the exceptional Valjoux 92 calibre movement, possibly one of the most famous automatic chronograph movements ever. This one-off timepiece channels the light blue of Only Watch on the dial while the floating subdials give a great contrast in white and slate grey. Founded by an Englishman, Peter Speake-Marin, in 2002, the house might not be as well-known as some of the others on this list outside of horological circles, but this singular timepiece is something worth writing home about.
Estimated to sell for €16,000 — €27,000 (approx. £14,300 — £24,200)
Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime
This is actually just one watch you’re looking at. The reversible Grandmaster Chime by Patek Philippe holds 20 different complications including five chime settings for its Grand Sonnerie, this perpetual calendar is definitely one of the standout pieces from this year’s auction. There’s a lot of information to take in when you look at this watch, but the winning bidder will also get the chance to tour the Patek Philippe workshops, visit the watchmaker’s museum and have lunch with the President Thierry Stern – who, we’re sure, would be only to happy to explain everything going on under the dial after you’ve parted way with around £2 million.
Estimated to sell for €1,800,000 — €2,200,000 (approx. £1,600,000 — £1,900,000)
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Enamel Chestnut
One of the latest releases from the Vallée de Joux manufacture, this new perpetual calendar channels the key characteristics that Jaeger-LeCoulter live by; exceptional standards in craftsmanship and artistry combine to make this knockout chestnut enamel dial with its radiating waves only broken by the four subdials of the perpetual calendar and the moonphase.
Estimated to sell for €49,000 — €63,000 (approx. £44,000 — £56,500)
Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked Only Watch Edition
Possibly one of the most discussed and controversial new watches to come out this year, the Code 11.59 has proved that it can already turn heads. Now with this unique piece AP will be hoping to raise some serious bids, with the two-tone rose and white gold case and extraordinary skeletonised dial showing off the spinning tourbillon.
Estimated to sell for €171,000 — €216,000 (approx. £153,000 — £194,000)
FP Journe Astronomic Blue
This is one for serious collectors and FP Journe evangelists: a prototype that has been specially created for the auction with 18 different functions and complications all packed into a custom titanium case to keep it nice and light on the wrist. With a day/night indicator, a second timezone, moonphase and power reserve indicator to name a few this watch is packing some serious horological credentials.
Estimated to sell for €270,000 — €539,000 (approx. £242,000 — £484,000)
Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic
One of the thinnest automatic watches in the world, this slim timer is a fan favourite among Piaget owners. A wash in a deep blue from the dial to the blue screws and the leather strap, while the case might not have much depth the design itself seemingly goes on for miles.
Estimated to sell for €27,000 — €45,000 (approx. £24,000 — £40,000)
The Only Watch 2019 auction is taking place in association with Christie’s on 9 November, find out more on onlywatch.com