The World’s Most Creative and Vibrant Timepieces Are Headed to Auction to Benefit Medical Research. See Them Here

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Dozens of one-of-a-kind timepieces will be on auction at Palexpo Geneva on November 5 in the 10th edition of a biennial auction to benefit Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) research. The sale—hosted by Christie’s Geneva—is a project of Only Watch, formed in 2005 by Luc Pettavino, president of the Monaco Yacht Show, after his son, then four years old, was diagnosed with DMD. 

The watches include famous brands as well as newer makers, spanning Audemars Piguet, Bulgari, Hermès, Patek Philippe, Piaget, and Richard Mille. 

There are quite a few eye-catching lots, 10 of which bear six-figure estimates. A watch by Jacob & Co. with Concepto, for example, mirrors a stained-glass design and is the world’s first four-axis tourbillon timepiece. It is estimated to fetch up to $838,000.

Jacob & Co. with Concepto, Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension (estimate: $781,000–$837,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Jacob & Co. with Concepto, Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension (estimate: $781,000–$838,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Each auction is themed to a color, which the watchmakers may incorporate into their designs. This year’s color is green, symbolizing hope. Many watchmakers this year have opted to incorporate a rainbow of colors. Jacquet Droz’s contribution is Rolling Stones–themed and features tiny musical instruments on the face, all hand-crafted.

Jacquet Droz, the Rolling Stone Automaton (estimate: $279,000–$335,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

A sapphire watch inspired by Takashi Murakami’s iconic smiling flower, surrounded by twelve petals set with 444 gemstones, marks Hublot’s entry, while Bulgari is donating an Octo Finissimo watch, with its case and bracelet covered in Verde di Alpi marble.

Left: Hublot, MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon (estimate: $391,000–$447,000). Right: Bulgari, Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Marble (estimate: $267,000–$279,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Left: Hublot, MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon (estimate: $391,000–$447,000). Right: Bulgari, Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Marble (estimate: $267,000–$279,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Among the more affordable models are the Bell & Ross BR 03 Cyber Rainbow, whose case is covered with an array of varnished pieces in a mosaic pattern. Its high estimate is just $61,000. Also featuring a five-figure high estimate ($73,000) is Grӧnefeld’s contribution, the 1941 Principia Mandala, whose face features an intricate mandala design. 

Left: Bell & Ross, BR 03 Cyber Rainbow (estimate: $50,000–$61,000). Right: Grönefeld, 1914 Principia Mandala (estimate: $61,000–$73,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Left: Bell & Ross, BR 03 Cyber Rainbow (estimate: $50,000–$61,000). Right: Grönefeld, 1914 Principia Mandala (estimate: $61,000–$73,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

The biennial benefit auctions, held since 2005, have raised $112 million, according to a report in Bloomberg, which noted that an audience of 1,000 collectors and industry insiders may make their way to Geneva for the November 5 sale.

The 2019 Only Watch sale set a wristwatch world record: $31 million for a Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime, only 17 of which were created in 2014 to celebrate the company’s 175th anniversary. It is one of the most complicated watches ever made, with 20 complications.

The 2023 watches will tour the world ahead of the sale on November 5, making stops in cities including Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Monaco.

See more watches from the sale below.

Tiffany & Co., Bird on a Rock Mechanical Pendant (estimate: $391,000–$558,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Tiffany & Co., Bird on a Rock Mechanical Pendant (estimate: $391,000–$558,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Hermès, Arceau le Temps Voyageur (estimate: $33,000–$45,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Hermès, Arceau le Temps Voyageur (estimate: $33,000–$45,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Lederer, Central Impulse Chronometer (estimate: $100,000–$200,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Lederer, Central Impulse Chronometer (estimate: $112,000–$224,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Ulysse Nardin, Freak S (estimate: $179,000–$223,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Ulysse Nardin, Freak S (estimate: $179,000–$223,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Louis Moinet, Art-Tech (estimate: $89,000–$134,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

Louis Moinet, Art-Tech (estimate: $89,000–$134,000). Courtesy of Only Watch.

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