Only Watch, the world’s largest watch auction for charity, will take place for the tenth time in Geneva on November 5th. Over 50 watch manufacturers have each donated a unique timepiece created especially for the occasion. The proceeds of this auction will go entirely to the Monegasque Association Against Muscular Dystrophy, to support research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a hereditary disease that affects around one in 3,500 children. Since its foundation in 2005, Only Watch has already raised over 100 million Swiss francs. In addition to the charitable aspect, the event provides a platform for brands to turn their creativity and expertise into fascinating one-offs. In many ways, the event has become a mirror for the current state of the industry. In this article, we share our personal highlights from this year’s upcoming Only Watch collection.
1. Chopard L.U.C 1860
The L.U.C 1860 timepiece plays an important role in Chopard’s continuing watchmaking history, which began more than a quarter of a century ago. Dedicated to the traditions of Haute Horlogerie, the L.U.C collection is constantly evolving and enriched with often original complications, conceived and developed in Chopard’s workshops in Fleurier and Geneva since its launch in 1997. This year, Chopard is committed to supporting Only Watch with a special reinterpretation: a model inspired by the first timepiece in the collection, combining watchmaking tradition with innovation. This interpretation of the emblematic model combines an ice green guilloché dial in solid white gold with a 36.55 mm case in Chopard’s Lucent Steel alloy and a finely crafted chronometer-certified movement.
2. Furlan Marri X Dominique Renaud X Julien Tixier Secular Perpetual Calendar
Marking its first time participating in the Only Watch auction, the fledgling independent watch brand Furlan Marri teamed up with Dominique Renaud and Julien Tixier to take on the challenge of creating a simplified secular perpetual calendar. The conception and design of the watch focused upon the utmost simplicity. Thus, the secular module consists of only five parts, while the date module consists of 25 parts in total. Fewer components were used in this piece than in all previous projects. Despite this, the perpetual calendar is equipped with a module that ensures accuracy for the next four centuries, which make up the secular years. The simplicity is not only in the movement, but also in its readability, with the central hand indicating the months also showing the leap years with the help of the Maltese cross.
3. Gerald Genta Only Watch
Gérald Genta, whose revival under the umbrella of La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton was recently made public, is causing a stir with the distinctive combination of Mickey Mouse and a minute repeater for its first participation in the Only Watch project. It celebrates not only Disney’s 100th birthday, but also the 50th anniversary of the first watch Gérald Genta launched under his own name in 1973. Under the direction of watchmaking patrons Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini, the beloved cartoon character that played a central role in the Gérald Genta brand during the 1980s has been revived. Genta was bold enough at the time to combine cartoon characters with intricate watchmaking from 1984 onwards, creating some timepieces that are still infamous today: a radical new direction that some considered whimsical and daring. In addition to the iconic spectacle that unfolds on the dial, this timepiece features an octagonal case in white gold – a distinctive design that was appreciated by the maestro for its pleasing symmetry.
4. F.P. Journe Chronometre Bleu Furtif
Normally, the last thing a watch wearer wants is for an onlooker to be unable to catch sight of the piece of fascinating craftsmanship on their wrist. But with this year’s Kontribution, F.P. Journe manages to do just that. The Chronomètre Furtif, or Camouflaged Chronometer, owes its name to an unusual feature: the difficulty of reading the time when the watch is not in front of you. This is because the blue enamel dial ensures that the frosted numerals only appear in the reflection of light, while the moonphase and power reserve indicator are integrated into the movement and only visible on the back. The Chronomètre Furtif is thus a watch whose indications can only be perceived by its owner, creating a kind of optical camouflage.
5. Richard Mille RMS14 Talisman Origine
With this year’s Only Watch contribution, Richard Mille roots itself deep into Swiss history. The piece, called RMS14, is a tribute to the ‘Talisman Origine’, which was discovered in the heart of the Swiss Jura and is said to have been made thousands of years ago by an ancient Swiss tribe. It is said to have magical, lucky properties, and its magical power is said to pass onto the wearer. This is by no means a fad, however, but rather a relic that combines ancient craftsmanship and spirituality with a surface of rhodonite, titanium and gold. Richard Mille succeeds in giving the talisman a contemporary appearance with its typical tonneau shape, without losing any of its mysticism.
6. Konstantin Chaykin Stargazer
For the 2023 Only Watch auction, Konstantin Chaykin took on the challenge of a multi-complication watch. He combined the so-called Joker design with a multitude of complications. The Stargazer has a total of 16 complications, including a tourbillon and eleven astronomical functions. To bring this high level of technology to life, the Stargazer integrates two dials. But now for the exciting part: some of the complications, such as the discreet moonphase or the sunrise and sunset display, are a first in the history of watchmaking, and have all been patented.
7. Frederique Constant X Christiaan Van Der Klaauw Tourbillon Planetarium
Frederique Constant and Christiaan van der Klaauw, who also designs watch creations for Van Cleef & Arpels (both watchmakers have Dutch roots) share a friendship of over 20 years. To celebrate this, they have combined their respective expertise for the first time and conjured up a unique creation. The result is the Tourbillon Planetarium Only Watch 2023, which marks many firsts for both parties. For one thing, is the first tourbillon watch from the manufacture Frederique Constant to feature a planetarium. It is also the first time a timepiece from Frederique Constant has featured an aventurine dial – and, for that matter, a 42 mm case made of platinum. It is also the first time since the manufacture was founded that a Frederique Constant watch has a combined month and date display with hands on a single counter. The planetarium, designed by Christiaan van der Klaauw, takes centre stage at 12 o’clock. It is the smallest planetarium ever developed by the Dutch watchmaker. It features a heliocentric system in which each planet completes its orbit around the sun in real time – a journey that will take Saturn 29 years. In total, that’s five firsts in one watch, only one of which will ever be made.
8. Patek Philippe Only Watch
On the occasion of Philippe Stern’s 85th birthday in November, the President of Patek Philippe, Thierry Stern, decided to honour his father with an exclusive, limited-edition wristwatch. According to Thierry Stern, “This is a way to thank him for everything he taught me and for the passion for excellence he put into Patek Philippe.” The Hommage watch will feature Philippe Stern’s favourite grand complication and an entirely new movement developed exclusively for this model.
9. Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon
Haute horlogerie meets haute joaillerie in this highly creative timepiece designed with Takashi Murakami’s iconic smiling floral composition. The artist specifically requested a central tourbillon when designing this model; a challenge in itself, as it was to be the first central tourbillon in Hublot’s forty-year history. According to Hublot, the tourbillon symbolises the beating heart of the watch and of the buyer who purchase it at the auction for the benefit of research against muscular dystrophy.
10. Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 3
The Chronomètre FB 3 ‘Only Watch’ appears with a symbol of the passage of time and celebrates an anniversary: in 1753, exactly 270 years ago, Ferdinand Berthoud was awarded the title of master watchmaker at the age of 26. Furthermore, the patented bronze case recalls the patina found on the copper alloys of the precision and navigation instruments that Ferdinand Berthoud delivered in the 18th century.