By Dale Beck
Every two years during the Monaco Yacht Show, numerous prestigious watchmakers donate either a unique watch, prototype, or the first of a limited series for international auction. On September 23, 40 timepieces were auctioned, with proceeds going to support Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research, a disease that affects approximately 250,000 children, teenagers, and adults worldwide.
The Only Watch 2011 collection was on an 11 stop, two-month world tour including Los Angeles that ended with a three-day exhibition in Monaco, September 21-23. Since the last auction, 2.5 million EUR ($3.5 million U.S.) have been donated to 15 scientific partners and their teams.
This year marks the fourth edition of the luxury watch charity auction. As noted by Yacht Show President Luc Pettavino, “It is exceptional to be able to contribute to the emergence of potential treatment options and to create hope by creating beauty.”
The following is a sampling of the exclusive timepieces auctioned at this year’s Only Watch.
Wish Price EUR 35,000 - 45,000
In their fourth year of participation, Audemars Piguet presents their Gstaad Classic, a self-winding, water-resistant piece stunning in 18K pink gold with engraved backing. The dial, inspired by the 1920s, lends a discreetly vintage touch, yet both chic and sporty, classic and contemporary. The watch features a round button chronograph, tachometer, and an 18K gold deployant clasp.
Wish Price EUR 200,000 - 250,000
The Midnight GMT Tourbillon incorporates many of the iconic Harry Winston features. The bezel bears the distinctive arches of the Harry Winston New York Salon, while the
45 mm case is crafted in platinum exclusively for Only Watch. The movement has a power-reserve of 110 hours, and the GMT display has day and night indication. The aperture at 11 indicates world cities including Monaco as a tribute to the auction.
Wish Price EUR 45,000 - 65,000
The world’s oldest watch brand presents this stylish watch distinguished by vivid contrasts. Equipped with Calibre 15B, an ultra-thin hand-wound 117-part movement, the cambered grand feu enameled dial bears only 12 painted enamel hour markers and two hands in the same red gold as the 45 mm case housing it. The pure design of the dial is counter-balanced by the incredibly refined decoration of its movement. A glance through the transparent case back reveals the exceptional engraving of a typical Monegasque scene, representing the Rock and its hinterland by Blancpain’s master-engraver Marie-Laure Tarbouriech, who recently received the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France distinction.
Wish Price EUR 20,000 - 40,000
Complicated movements and original design characterize this watch called “The Crazy Hours.” The numerals of the dial (over-sized painted Arabic) reveal the hours in an unconventional order as the hour hand jumps every time the minute hand completes its revolution. In honor of the Swiss residents of Monaco, the colors (guilloche red with a white central cross) symbolize both Helvetica and the Principality of Monaco.
Bell & Ross
Wish Price EUR 20,000 - 40,000
It all started with a simple idea: to turn a cockpit instrument panel clock into a wristwatch. To create the BR 01 aviation watch, the designers took their inspiration from aeronautical instrumentation, the absolute reference point as far as readability, reliability, and performance are concerned. The case is three-body, polished and brushed, with straight lugs, a bezel with four screws, and a screwed-down winding crown. The dial features a casino roulette wheel display representing three black concentric pink gold disks, while the “0” numeral on the outside disk displays the hours; the small roulette ball on the middle disk indicates the minutes and the central disk of the roulette turns at the rhythm of the seconds.
Chanel J12 Marine
Wish Price EUR 15,000 - 20,000
Inspired by the nautical world and born at the dawn of the third millennium, the J12 is an icon of 21st-century watchmaking. Ahead of its time, this watch transformed ceramic into precious material, thus revolutionizing watchmaking codes and combining unalterable robustness with timeless Chanel elegance. The dial is 18K pink gold, black lacquered, with a luminous pink gold baton and round indexes, outer minutes and seconds divisions, and an aperture for the date between four and five.
Wish Price EUR 25 ,000 - 30,000
This set of two watches embodies the skills, technique, precision, and artwork Zenith is known for. These watches are inspired by a former line created by the company in the mid-1960s. With its Dauphin-style hands and long indexes, in both cases fluted, they hark back unmistakably to vintage timepieces. Characteristics include a high-frequency self-winding chronograph movement, left-handed, with date and water resistance embodied into an 18K rose gold case.
Wish Price EUR 80,000 - 120,000
The oldest watchmaker in the world with an uninterrupted history (255 years) delivers the “Metiers d’art” replete with an 18K white gold dial engraved with champlevé enamel depicting red and white doves, one set with 40 brilliant-cut diamonds for a total approximate weight of 0.08 carat. The birds, symbols of hope and love, interlock exquisitely like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in a truly stunning decorative motif.
Wish Price EUR 400,000 - 600,000
The RM 027 tourbillon set for auction is the very watch worn by Rafael Nadal when he won the 2011 Monte Carlo championship. Weighing less than 20 grams (including strap), it is the lightest mechanical watch ever created, in part due to the center and base made from a single part. The movement is made of titanium and Lital®, an alloy used in aircraft parts. This unique watch has a visible one-minute tourbillon regulator.
Wish Price EUR 70,000 - 90,000
Made in collaboration with master engraver Jean-Vincet Huguenin, the UR-103 Phoenix is a futuristic, rectangular, sculpted, water- resistant, 18K white gold and titanium piece with digital time indicated by orbiting hour satellites. Additional features include a control board, power reserve indicator, and an 18K white gold URWERK buckle. Polished with a fluted front, “Urwerk /Jean-Vincent Huguenin” is hand-engraved on the case and bezel with a phoenix motif and the word “Phoenix.”