Every two years, watch manufacturers — both big names and independents — come together like clockwork to flex their muscles for a good cause: The Only Watch auction. These one-off watches are not only a collectors’ dream, they’ll also go under the hammer on 9 November in Geneva to raise valuable funds for research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a devastating disease that affects one in 3,000 male births.
Presided by Christie’s, the Only Watch 2019 auction — now in its eight edition — has raised CHF40 million (S$55 million) so far, a remarkable sum which sees 99 percent of the proceeds go directly into the funding of research projects. As the world’s largest gathering of unique pieces, however, this also means that brands don’t waste the opportunity in showing what they can do.
As such, expect surprises. Heavy hitters such as Patek Philippe, Blancpain, and Audemars Piguet always do well (unsurprisingly), but firms such as Tudor have punched well above their weight class too. Four years ago, its Black Bay One sold for CHF375,000 (S$517,000) — over 120 times list price.
The watches will be due for a tour around the world before hitting the auction house, so breaths will be held till this year’s offerings work their magic at the auction in the Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues.
Here are some of our favourites.