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53 one-off timepieces raised $32 million at the Only Watch 2021 charity auction

This year, we saw 53 uniquely spectacular timepieces at the Only Watch 2021 auction which contributed to a grand sum of $32.1 million USD. Here are a few highlights.

Another edition of the Only Watch auction, another set of novelties contributing towards a greater cause. In front of a record audience of 850 watch enthusiasts, 53 one-off timepieces donated by 54 of the world’s most prestigious watchmakers were up for bidding wars in Geneva, the cradle of horology – The result, $32.1 million USD worth of auction funds raised for the Duchenne Association against Muscular dystrophy. Over the years, Only Watch has raised over 100 million dollars towards the aforementioned cause, its research, and clinical trials.

In this year’s edition, as expected, a Patek Philippe was the highlight. However, this isn’t the usual diamond-encrusted stunner you’d see on celebrity wrists, but a complicated desk clock. The other unusual novelties include an F.P. Journe, which tells time using an automaton hand, and a BOVET 1822 with a painting of Miss Audrey the Sweet Fairy on its dial. Here are a few more highlights from the Only Watch 2021 auction.

Patek-Philippe-Only-Watch-2021-complicated-desk-clock

In 2019, the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime hammered for $31 million dollars, making it the world’s expensive watch. After a 15-minute bidding war this year, they make another entry in the books with an obscure $10 million dollar highly complicated desk clock, reportedly history’s third-most expensive to ever be hammered. This one-of-a-kind, ornately decorated horological stunner was commissioned in 1923 by American automobile magnate, James Ward Packard comes equipped with a moon phase display, perpetual calendar functions, and a double-barrel 8-day power reserve. On the corners of the cabinet housing the movement, we also see sphinx-like creatures and rosettes made out of .925 sterling silver plated with a thick layer of gold. The exact price of its auction sale was $10,421,500 USD or CHF 9,500,000.

only-watch-2021-f-p-journe

Next up, this handsome F.P. Journe that’s nothing short of mechanical mastery. What’s interesting is that in 2021, the brand marks 20 years of the Octa Calibre 1300 and all its forms. The timepiece at hand is their latest opus and ultimate version of this highly coveted silhouette. Looking at that big blue forearm on its dial, you must be wondering how this piece tells time. Well, the minutes are driven by a rotating disk located at 12 o’clock, while the mobile fingers appear or disappear instantaneously, indicating the hours by their position. Also, the fingers were inspired by a mechanical hand created by Ambroise Paré (1509-1590), the father of modern surgery. It fetched  $4,929,390 or CHF 4,500,000 (approx.).

Audemars-Piguet-Royal-Oak-15202xt-Jumbo-Only-Watch

A recurring name at the Only Watch auctions is Audemars Piguet, who donated a rare Royal Oak 15202 Jumbo which is said to be the last of its ilk to be powered by the iconic Calibre 2121, retiring this year. It reached an incredible price of CHF 3,100,000, which is outlandish for any Royal Oak Extra-Thin Jumbo. Its case and bracelet get their unique finish thanks to the sandblasted titanium it’s made out of. The dial too is special, it boasts a Dark grey (rhodium-toned) hue with the classic “Petite Tapisserie” pattern.

bvlgari octo finissimo

Some of the other timepieces that caught our eye include a Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar made out of Tantalum. The Octo Finissimo’s title itself is synonymous with ‘record-breaking’ in the watch industry. Pushing the boundaries of micro-engineering, it’s also an Only Watch 2021 exclusive, thanks to Bvlgari tweaking the Perpetual Calender’s ‘NOV’ indicator to ‘NOW’. Its Tantalum body measures just 5.8 mm in thickness housing the Manufacture BVL Calibre 305. It was hammered at CHF 220,000, which isn’t the highest yet definitely noteworthy.

richard_mille_rm_67-02_charles_leclerc_prototype

As five timepieces crossed the million mark, we also saw a Richard Mille RM 67-2 Charles Leclerc Prototype for was auctioned for $2,303,700. While designing a timepiece after the F1 driver, RM said in a press release “The desire to create a watch that was like a second skin for Charles Leclerc, permitting a sort of ‘symbiosis’ with him, was the guiding ambition that propelled the development of the RM 67-02.”

Jaquet-Droz-Grande-Seconde-Skelet-One-Tourbillon-Only-Watch

There was also this intricately delicate Jaquet Droz. At first impression itself, you recognize that the piece finds perfect harmony between industry-leading complication and centuries-old Ateliers d’Art. More so, the contemporary skeletonisation puts the flying tourbillon and the plique-à-jour enamel dial on display This isn’t your usual enamel dial in the watch world, mark my words. This unique Jaquet Drox contributed CHF 200,000.

enith_x_felipe_pantone_defy_double_tourbillon

However, there’s one piece I couldn’t get my eyes off, simply for its brilliant utilization of hues and the mechanical mastery at play here. It was the Zenith Defy Double Tourbillon for Only Watch that flexed rainbow PVD coated bridges, dual tourbillons and a chronograph. The price tag on this one? About $526,560 or CHF 480,000. All of this, for charity.

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All images: Courtesy brand and Only Watch

Mikhail Gomes
Features Editor, Lifestyle Asia India & Contributor - Augustman
A watch aficionado, Mikhail also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.