The Only Watch biennial charity auction is dedicated to raising funds for research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) through the sale of unique timepieces crafted by renowned luxury brands and boutique independents, making it a golden opportunity for collectors with deep pockets to acquire one-of-a-kind watches. It’s also an opportunity for brands to reveal their altruistic side while flexing some creative muscle in support of a worthy cause. Each watch, whether elegantly simple, adorned with fanciful dials, made from exclusive materials, or boasting innovative high complications, is created with a specific dedication to the cause.
Since its inception in 2005, this event has managed to raise an astounding amount of more than CHF100m (R2bn) , with 99% of the proceeds being directed towards scientific and medical research on neuromuscular diseases, particularly DMD. This condition affects one in 3,500 boys at birth, making the auction’s contributions crucial for advancing our understanding and treatment of this debilitating disorder.
In its 10th edition this year, the charity auction features an impressive collection of 62 lots created by 73 watchmakers, including 16 collaborations between brands and artists. These remarkable timepieces will go under the hammer of Christie’s during the event, which takes place at PALEXPO in Geneva on November 5, starting at 2pm. Bidders can participate in person, online, or over the phone.
With the theme this year being “All the Colors of the Rainbow”, here are some standout lots with distinctive flair, which may even offer a glimpse into the future.
Lot 2: The Angelus Chronodate Gold x Château Angelus embodies the fusion of exquisite winemaking and watch craftsmanship. Its unique dial features freeze-dried wine lees from the renowned Château Angelus, 2022 vintage “Le Majestueux”, adding a touch of Bordeaux’s finest essence. Watchmaking and winemaking share a common bond through their geographic origins. Bordeaux’s terroirs influence the varied aromas of wines based on exposure, soil, fermentation style and maturation. Swiss watches benefit from a focused and constrained geographic area, fostering traditional practices that guarantee horological excellence. The dial is enhanced by a red-gold Château bell engraving at 6 o’clock. Estimate: CHF 50,000 — 60,000
Over the rainbow
Lot 9: The Bell & Ross BR03 Cyber Rainbow reimagines the BR 03 model with a captivating blend of avant-garde style and vibrant colours. This watch showcases meticulous craftsmanship, evident in its exceptional automatic BR-Cal.383 in-house movement — unique to this piece — and intricate details of the case design. The movement is a full 3D skeleton, with bridges adorned with pockets of colourful varnish, adding a stunning visual element. Furthermore, the rubber strap is embellished with an eye-catching mosaic pattern, which echoes the graphic elements of both movement and case. Estimate: CHF 45,000 — 55,000
Lot 15: The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Marble makes exquisite use of an iconic Italian building material. Enhancing its architecture-inspired form, the Octo Finissimo’s 40mm DLC treated titanium case and bracelet are covered with a Verde di Alpi marble. The dial, crafted from the same marble, elegantly reveals the 1.95mm thin manual tourbillon in-house calibre BVL 268 at the 6 o’clock position. The movement’s remarkable slimness positions this flying Tourbillon as the thinnest available on the market since 2013. The choice of green marble, characterised by its delicate white veins, is sourced from the Aosta Valley. This region serves as a natural passage connecting Switzerland and Italy, nestled amid the majestic Alps. The use of marble is also a homage to Bulgari’s Italian heritage. Estimate: CHF 150,000 — 250,000
Lot 28: While only offering a glimpse for now of what’s to come, the psychedelic illustration and a photo of a miniature panda at the DJ decks is enough to keep our attention until the auction where all will be revealed. Much like their collaboration on the GPHG award-wining Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon in 2020, the H Moser x MB&F Streamliner Pandamonium fuses the DNA of each brand, this time combining elements of the Streamliner case with MBF’s signature domed crystal, promising to keep us entertained with an artistic performance featuring a unique movement and a panda DJ taking centre stage. Estimate: CHF 300,000 — 400,000
Lot 31: Jacob & Co x Concepto Watch Factory presents the Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension, the world’s first four-axis tourbillon timepiece. Its two-arm movement rotates around a central axis in one minute, with a triple-axis tourbillon carriage on one arm featuring a high-frequency constant force device. Housed in a 47mm rose gold and transparent sapphire case, the watch offers an unobstructed view of the movement’s back plate adorned with 35 ornamental and translucent stones such as topaz, sapphire, and various garnets. This timepiece is an evolution of the Astronomia Revolution launched in 2023. Estimate: CHF 700,000 — 750,000
A Princely piece
Lot 58: Tudor seized this opportunity to delve into its 70s archive and present a brand-new prototype (designation ‘XX’) Manufacture Chronograph Calibre. The Tudor Prince Chronograph One is a unique interpretation of the “Big Block” chronograph from 1976 and showcases a daring 18k solid yellow gold case. Produced entirely in-house, the MT59XX calibre features a column-wheel construction. A full gold piece is quite a departure from the Tudor universe known for value, reliability, and robustness, but we’d bet our last rand that this one will evolve into a full production model in steel next year. Estimate: CHF 25,000 — 35,000
Lot 59: The Ulysse Nardin Freak S Only Watch presents a captivating rendition of the UN-251 calibre Freak S, initially introduced in 2022. This audacious timepiece showcases a carousel as its micro-mechanical mechanism, devoid of hands, dial, or crown. Instead, the Freak S indicates time through the rotation of its movement. The hours and minutes are indicated by two rotating bridges, with the arrow denoting hours and the spaceship’s nose cone representing minutes. Unlike a traditional tourbillon, the entire movement completes a full revolution in one hour. Time adjustment is achieved by rotating the bezel in either direction. Estimate: CHF 160,000 — 200,000