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10 picks from the Only Watch 2019 charity auction

Every two years the world’s best watchmakers donate 50 timepieces for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy. You can see all 50 one-off lots in Dubai next week

With Only Watch everyone creates beauty to do good. — Luc Pettavino, Only Watch founder

The 8th edition of the biennial charity auction Only Watch, benefitting research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, once again presents 50 unique creations — this time by 52 brands. This project supports the battle against a devastating myopathy that affects 1-in-3,000 male births on the planet by funding research. The timepieces are sought-after rarities that can be accessed nowhere else, unique pieces showcasing the best savoir-faire in the horology world in all of its diversity.

“I am grateful to all the watchmaking groups and independent brands participating in this 2019 Only Watch edition demonstrating dedication and heart through their creativity and craftmanship for this year’s auction which promises to be, once again, record-breaking,” says Only Watch founder Luc Pettavino.

For the second time Christie’s is the auctioneer of choice on November 9.

Since its creation in 2005, Only Watch has raised more than CHF40 million. Again, 100% of the proceeds achieved with the 8th edition of the charity auction will be directly invested in scientific and medical research on neuromuscular diseases in general and on Duchenne muscular dystrophy in particular.

“With Only Watch everyone creates beauty to do good, meaning in this case supporting the work of dozens of researchers around the world, financing studies, purchasing material, creating biotech companies in the chemistry and biology sector… to bring this science to the clinic and one day maybe to find a cure. We have done a lot already and are conscious that there is still much to be done and that this initiative needs, more than ever, help and support,” says Pettavino.

You can see all 50 watches to be auctioned off as part of Only Watch 2019 on October 1-3 at Christie’s Dubai

With Only Watch everyone creates beauty to do good. — Luc Pettavino, Only Watch founder

Code 11.59 By Audemars Piguet Tourbillon Openworked

A two-tone case highlights the architectural complexity of this 41mm model, with its 18ct pink gold octagonal middle case subtly contrasted with the 18ct white gold extra-thin bezel, lugs and caseback. The hand-wound tourbillon openworked movement (only 4.97mm thick) features a rhodium-toned plate finished with vertical traits-tirés, enhanced by pink gold-toned titanium tourbillon and barrel bridges with polished rhodium-toned angles.

Estimate: $190,000-240,000

Christophe Claret Maestro Corail

Inspired by the Maestro Mamba, a coral snake takes pride of place at the heart of this 42mm timepiece. Wrapped around the mechanical hand-wound movement, its undulating hand-engraved body creates a powerful contrast between the tangy blue and orange brilliancy of its hand-painted scales and the matt black shade of the skeletonised movement. The Maestro’s characteristic MEMO, an ingenious mechanical reminder, appears between 3 and 4 o’clock. It has a power reserve of seven days and is finished with a blue snakeskin strap.

Estimate: $86,000-106,000

F.P. Journe Astronomic Blue

The first prototype to ever leave the Manufacture, this 44mm timepiece houses 18 functions and complications and 758 components in a tantalum case that’s just 13.75mm thick. Impressively, all the settings and corrections — including second time zone, sidereal time, sunrise and sunset, and moon phases on the front and annual calendar and equation of time on the back — are adjusted by the crown. The exclusive manual winding prototype calibre 1619 is in 18K rose gold. It’s finished with an orange alligator strap.

Estimate: $300,000-600,000

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 1 “Night Star”

The 44mm timepiece features a sandblasted anthracite-ceramised titanium case, hands and numerals equipped with white Super-Luminova and a frosted black dial, evoking the gleam of the stars in the night sky. Its octagonal case features two transparent sapphire portholes, while the tourbillon movement features a fusée-and-chain transmission. The power reserve is indicated by an arrow pointing to “haut” (high) and “bas” (low). It’s finished with a black alligator strap.

Estimate: $170,000-200,000

Hermès Arceau L’heure de la lune

Gaze upon the moon like never before — this timepiece displays the moon phases in both the northern and southern hemispheres as two disks rotate around the meteorite dial thanks to an inhouse movement that reveals nothing of its complexity. Crafted of mother-of-pearl, the moon at 12 o’clock is adorned with a Pegasus, representing the origins of Hermès, designed by Dimitri Rybaltchenko. It’s housed in a white gold case Henri d’Origny designed in 1978, and finished with a strap of matt graphite alligator and blue zephir calfskin.

Estimate: $35,000-55,000

Konstantin Chaykin Joker Selfie

The most expressive timepiece around now has even more personality. The Russian watchmaker models this one-off on himself, hence the name. The right eye even features a watchmaker’s magnifying glass. In addition to the googly eyes and moon phase indicator that have captivated enthusiasts since 2017, the right eye on this model closes when the watch is horizontal, and the Emoji Day indicator at 12 o’clock is hidden when the piece is vertical. It comes in a 42mm steel case and an alligator leather strap with calfskin lining.

Estimate: $18,000-24,000

Louis Vuitton Escale Spin Time

Renowned for its fashion, LV reconfirms its watchmaking prowess with this unique piece. It features a patented self-winding inhouse movement that displays the time in a playful manner using rotating cylinders. These cylinders are set with diamonds, a process that required 40 hours of work. The dial is inspired by tattoo art, and showcases Anita Porchet’s Grand Feu champlevé enamelling and miniature hand painting — which alone took 200 hours. The rest of the 18K white gold dial is set with white diamonds and rubies. It comes in a 41mm, 18K white gold and titanium case, with more diamonds on the bezel, horns and crown.

Estimate: $80,000-100,000

MB&F + L’Epée Tom & T-Rex

This collaboration of two unique brands adds a poignant note to the T-Rex series of table clocks. Touching on the charity behind Only Watch, it tells the story of Tom, a child struck by illness, who goes on an adventure with his formidable companion, T-Rex. The all-seeing cyborg eye, which also functions as a clock dial, is crafted of hand-blown Murano glass, as is the transparent blue marble Tom stares into. The rest of the piece is made of stainless steel, brass and bronze. The L’Epée 1839 movement has a power reserve of eight days. The brands say the timepiece, with its blend of fantasy and technology, is a metaphor for the factors that sustain the daily existence of a sick child: the flights of imagination that nourish the spirit, and the scientific advancements that will one day effect a long-awaited cure.

Estimate: $20,000-40,000

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime

The first and only version of this timepiece ever produced in stainless steel, this grande-sonnerie wristwatch boasts two dials on a reversible case. The time side dial is in rose gold, while the calendar side is in black ebony. It has 18K solid gold dial plates. This exceptional piece features 20 complications, including five chiming modes, two of which are patented world firsts: an acoustic alarm that strikes the preselected time and a date repeater sounding the date on demand. With a case diameter of 47.7mm, it’s 16.07mm thick and finished with a shiny black alligator leather strap.

Estimate: $2.5-3 million

Voutilainen TP1

This pocket watch marks Finnish watchmaker Kari Voutilainen’s first collaboration with his 20-year-old daughter Venla, freshly graduated from watchmaking school. It features the Lecoultre ebauche movement in a TV screen-style case crafted from waterproof titanium, measuring 50.30 x 50.30 x 14mm. White gold hands with red rings and centres contrast against the solid silver engine-turned dial, all produced inhouse. The father and daughter team finished and decorated the dial and movement themselves. It comes with a hand-stitched leather strap.

Estimate: $50,000-70,000

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