Only Watch 2017: Top 10 PicksWritten by Melissa Kong
Our favourite watches from the horological auction with heart.
Every other year since 2005, the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies organises the Only Watch auction of unique timepieces with proceeds going to scientific and medical research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, amongst other neuromuscular diseases.
Each watchmaker donates an exclusive one-off timepiece that’s either a unique version of an existing iconic collection or a brand new piece designed especially for the cause. In addition, some brands also offer the winning bidder a special experience like the opportunity to have lunch with the CEO of the company.
This year, the auction takes place on November 11 in Geneva, with over 40 participating watch brands. Here are our top 10 picks.
Bell & Ross BR-X1 RS17 Only Watch
Decked out in the colours of the Renault Formula One team, this skeleton chronograph features a carbon case with protective belt comprising high-tech ceramic and rubber. The bidder who wins this watch will get to join the Renault Sport Formula One Team in the Abu Dhabi race at the end of the season, including a meet-and-greet with the drivers. As a bonus, he or she will also receive the race gloves worn by driver Nico Hülkenberg.
Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms Mil-Spec
The iconic Fifty Fathoms model is reinterpreted in a 40.3mm case with indexes and hands in yellow Super-LumiNova—a nod to the yellow theme of this year’s auction. A yellow date display and black unidirectional rotating bezel with luminescent yellow markings complete the look.
Breguet Classique Quantième Perpétuel en Ligne
The iconic Classique is sheathed in 18K yellow gold and fitted with an special in-line perpetual calendar display for this special edition, displaying the day, month, date and leap years. At 39mm, the self-winding watch is perfectly suited for both slim and larger wrists and would be an ideal complement to both office and formal ensembles. The caseback is inscribed with the words 'Only Watch 2017' and 'Piece Unique'.
Harry Winston Ocean Big Date Only Watch
This year, the Ocean Big Date Only Watch model combines both mechanical mastery with state-of-the-art design incorporating multiple layers on an openwork dial. Powering the timepiece is the automatic Calibre HW3206 with twin barrels, a flat silicon balance spring and 72 hours of power reserve. Yellow accents on the dial - again, a nod to the auction's colours - are coated with a phosphorescent material that give off a lasting blue glow in the dark.
Hautlence Pinball Ball-E Mechanical Pinball
Okay, so it’s not a watch, but that doesn’t mean it’s not wrist candy. And who could resist a game of pinball? The nostalgic game gets a new lease of life in this unique piece that features a built-in minute repeater mechanism. In the dark, blue Super-LumiNova lights up various parts of the dial to display a robot head.
Jacob & Co Epic X Chrono Only Watch 2017
This 47mm behemoth boasts a skeletonised self-winding column wheel chronograph with counters arranged in a bi-compax format. The lucky winner of this watch gets to attend the annual ‘Leonard DiCaprio Foundation’ gala in July 2018 where famous celebrities gather to support the foundation in its endeavours to protect the planet and wildlife.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centred Cuprite
Known for its classic figure eight dial design, Jaquet Droz’s Grande Seconde has been reinterpreted with a one-of-a-kind red cuprite dial. The fiery hue comes from a copper-rich oxide discovered in the mid 19th century and lends a distinctive look to the timepiece.
Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Unique Piece Only Watch ‘17
Endowed with a unique pairing of olive green dial and vintage bronze case, this watch was inspired by 1930s Minerva chronographs. It features the monopusher chronograph calibre MB M16.29 and is presented with a green alligator strap.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5208T-010
This is the first version of the Ref. 5208 Triple Complication wristwatch (comprising minute repeater, monopusher chronograph and instantaneous perpetual calendar) that’s created in titanium, especially for Only Watch. The eventual winner of this watch (and a partner) will also enjoy a visit of Patek Philippe’s workshops, museum and/or salons, as well as a private lunch with president Thierry Stern.
TAG Heuer Luxury Kit ‘Only Watch’ Special Edition
The entire box set consists of the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45, a Heuer-02 Tourbillon module and additional perforated rubber strap, all in the Only Watch yellow colour scheme. Included in the package is a lunch for four with TAG Heuer’s CEO Jean-Claude Biver.
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".