A Good Time For A Good Cause By James Gurney

This year’s Only Watch charity auction is a must-see for watch lovers and collectors. James Gurney, the editor of QP Magazine, finds out why….

Only Watch Auction

The London preview of the bi-annual Only Watch auction was held last week at Asprey, and showcased 34 truly unique watches from some of the world’s best makers, from Audemars Piguet to Zénith International. The preview was attended by Luc Pettavino, founder of the auction and managing director of the Monaco Yacht Show, and Osvaldo Patrizzi, CEO of Patrizzi & Co auctioneers and watch expert, as well as many collectors and buyers.

Only Watch has quickly become one of the most important events on the watch industry calendar. While its primary purpose is to raise funds for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the auction has acquired another role: presenting a snapshot of the industry that captures the trends and designs of today.

The participation of established houses such as Breguet and Patek Philippe and the patronage of Prince Albert of Monaco, as well as the simplicity of the pièces unique format make Only Watch a perfect platform for watch companies to show their health and creativity. Each contributing company makes a single watch, and this year’s vintage has plenty of flavour. MB&F’s partnership with Californian artist Page Vaughn transforms what is an already interesting watch into an object that both explores the area where watch-making and art meet, and creates a genuinely emotional response to the disease.

Jaquet Droz and Louis Vuitton, who collaborated with Pettavino’s disabled son Paul, used the auction to create watches that move beyond their usual brand limitations to jolt the viewer with a new perspective. Still others use the event to launch a new direction or to mark a milestone – this year sees TAG Heuer’s V-4 project finally realised as a watch for sale after years of concept status, while Chaumet’s Dandy quietly proclaims a new, more horological ambition for the brand.

The watches will be previewed in Milan at the Pisa Orologeria, and the auction will take place in Monte Carlo during the Monaco Yacht Show.