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Only Watch

The industry’s biggest names unite for charity.

On November 7, the sixth biennial Only Watch auction will take place to raise money for the Monaco Association Against Muscular Dystrophy. Under the high patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Only Watch has secured donations from the world’s best-loved watchmakers. What makes Only Watch unique is the fact that the timepieces up for auction are the “only watch” of their type available—either the very first watch in a limited edition, a special prototype, or a watch made especially for the occasion. There will be 44 one-off pieces for sale, and today is the official kickoff of the Only Watch tour as the collection embarks on a world exhibition visiting Monaco, September 23 – 26; Hong Kong, October 2 – 5; Beijing, October 9 – 12; New York, October 17 – 20; and London, October 24 – 27, before culminating in Geneva, November 5 – 7, where the timepieces will hit the auction block.

Highlights from the men’s section of the auction include a Bell & Ross skull bronze tourbillon, which resembles a pirate’s shipwreck treasure, an exclusive Chronoswiss Ouroboros featuring a white gold dial with an ornate serpent engraving, and a Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity created specifically for the auction. Perennial auction favourites such as Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin always makes an appearance.

Female bidders may find themselves taken with a one-off Chanel Mademoiselle Privé timepiece created with pearls, silk, white gold, and diamonds or the overly feminine Amadeo Fleurier Lady Bovet with its  pink mother-of-pearl dial, diamond bezel, purple alligator strap, and unique reversible complication.

Louis Vuitton’s contribution, the Escale Worldtime, is one of the most colourful watches, designed with a dial that resembles a disco dancefloor to accompany the blue alligator strap with yellow calfskin lining and orange stitching. The Hublot Classic Fusion Britto combines the traditional art of enamelling with the contemporary pop art and cubism of Brazilian artist Romero Britto. And, Rafael Nadal wore the RM 27-02 prototype at this year’s Roland Garos, Wimbledon, and US Open that Richard Mille has donated to Only Watch.

Over its still short history, Only Watch has raised more than €15-million ($23-million Canadian) for muscular dystrophy. There is no reason to expect anything less than another grand sum at this year’s auction, which, for the first time has left its Monaco birthplace for Geneva, where the Only Watch collection will be sold by Phillips auction. Only Watch is not only an auction sales event, but something interesting for the watch industry as a whole.