The 5 Best Timepieces from the 2019 Only Watch Auction
Every two years, something extraordinary happens in the watch industry. Watch companies from every segment participate in Only Watch, creating one-of-a-kind timepieces that are donated and auctioned off, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to fund research into muscular dystrophy.
“With Only Watch, everyone creates beauty to do good, meaning in this case supporting the work of dozens of researchers around the world, financing studies, purchasing material, creating biotech companies in the chemistry and biology sector…to bring this science to the clinic and one day maybe to find a cure,” says founder Luc Pettavino, who lost his son to muscular dystrophy. “We have done a lot already and are conscious that there is still much to be done and that this initiative needs, more than ever, help and support.”
This year is the eighth edition of Only Watch, held in Geneva in November, and so far the charity has raised more than $40 million. The most watch companies ever—54—are participating this year, and there are some spectacular lots. Here are five of the best:HYT
Using the “writing slope” case to make reading the time easier and more intuitive, the Bovet Recital 23 “Hope” is a moon phase watch with several unique features including a miniature painted fairy on a crescent moon adorning the dial, a hemispherical moon phase and hour and minute hands that form a heart when they come together once an hour.
The sporty and very successful Patravi ScubaTec gets the Only Watch treatment with a case in 18K white gold, light blue SuperLumi-Nova and a COSC-certified automatic movement.
On this incredible timepiece, peacock feathers open and close as the minutes pass, and in the Only Watch version the sky-blue lacquer fan opens to form a carpet of frost covering a white mother of pearl mosaic dial. The platinum case is adorned with diamonds and blue sapphires.
The dial of this unique piece is made from Vantablack, a super black coating that is the darkest man-made substance in the world, and all logos and indices have been removed, leaving you with a spectacularly subtle and elegant moon phase timepiece.
This watch turned heads when it was introduced in 2014 with its reversible case and 20 complications, including five chiming modes. This spectacular watch is available in a unique stainless-steel version for Only Watch (Patek watches in stainless steel or titanium have a history of setting Only Watch records, as they did in 2015 and 2017)—look for this one to set the bar high again.
Widely considered the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots has moved from TAG Heuer to IWC as a global ambassador.
“Tom Brady is…an admired role model,” says Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. “On the field, his focus is on performance and precision; off the field, he is a true gentleman, an incredible father and a husband while also embodying elegance and style.”
Brady was already a customer of IWC, with a Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Miramar and the iconic Portugieser Perpetual Calendar in his collection.
“I am honored to be partnering with IWC Schaffhausen, a brand I’ve long admired, not only for their timeless design but their precise engineering and attention to detail,” Brady says. “I am excited to be part of the IWC family and look forward to collaborating with their talented team to share the brand’s unique heritage globally.”
When asked by Worth what he looks for in a watch, Brady says, “I get a feeling from a watch the moment I look at it. Of course, I’m always looking for a beautiful, versatile piece, but for me, the most important element is that it feels like an honest expression of myself. You spend a lot of time with your watch, so you should feel great wearing it.”
Attempting to shop for watches online can be a daunting task; The Watch Pages is a new company that attempts to change that. Sophie Furley, its cofounder and the former editor in chief of Revolution Switzerlandmagazine, explains how it came about.
“So many people would ask me what watch to buy for themselves, their friends or a loved one, so I’d ask them what their budget was, what sort of watch they wanted and more, then I’d start doing research,” she says. “I realized how difficult it was to find the information, because there was no one place to go. Brands showcased their watches; retailers only displayed the watches they carried and prices were especially hard to track down. Each search I did took a tremendous amount of time.”
That’s when Furley decided to create The Watch Pages, a completely objective showcase of thousands of watches. You can search in many different ways (price, color, style, gender, complications, etc.), and you get everything that matches your search, complete with prices.
The site has some fun editorial aimed at the novice watch collector as well as the seasoned aficionado (check out Watch Spotting in the Movies, 10 Watches That Could Survive a Zombie Apocalypse, Watches for Motorcycle Lovers and more).
Here are three great watches found through searches on The Watch Pages:
Search Terms: Vintage, under $1,000: Hamilton Navy Pioneer Auto (Price: $995)
Search Terms: Jewelry, Function: tourbillon: MB&F FlyingT Black Lacquer(Price: $116,000)
Search Terms: Something different, Colors: red and blue – HYT Soonow(Price: $75,000)
Editors’ note: Sophie Furley is married to Worth’s watch editor Keith Strandberg.