Only two of the 44 unique timepieces for the Only Watch charity auction remain to be seen. Recently, five watches for the biennial event, being held November 7 in Geneva, were unveiled. They are from Ulysse Nardin, Hermes, Breguet, Vacheron Constantin and Vulcain. It’s a diverse offering that feature sounds, various artistic applications and of course fine movements.
The Stranger timepiece (top photo) is a music box that plays the song “We Are the Champions” by Queen, inspired by the Monaco Association against Muscular Dystrophy, which Patrik Hoffmann, Ulysse Nardin CEO, says is, “led by champions for champions.” The song written by Freddie Mercury plays on the hour and on request. The luxury watch brand is able to use the song through a copyright exception granted by EMI Music Publishing Germany GmgH company, sub-editor of Queen Music Ltd.
The watch is powered by the Ulysse Nardin manufacture caliber 690. It’s housed in a 45-mm black titanium case, with anthracite dial and cherry red blades of the musical mechanism. The Only Watch logo, also in cherry red, is above the seconds subdial at 6 o’clock.
The luxury brand released a unique version of its “In the Pocket” watch for the charity in red leather. The unusual timepiece can be worn as a pocket watch or a wristwatch through the use of a versatile hand-made leather case and cord. The watch was first created in 1912 for Jacqueline Hermès, a child at the time, so the young horsewoman could ride without having to attach her watch to her clothing or slip it into her pocket.
The watch and leather case and cord were first reissued in 2012 and a second model was released in June. The Only Watch version is in a rose gold case and buckle, and clad in “H red Swift calfskin.” The H1837 mechanical self-winding movement is made at Hermès manufacturing facility in Switzerland. The watch showcases the luxury brand’s traditional skill in leather goods and its newfound skill as a movement manufacturer.
The Swiss luxury watch brand reached to its past as a supplier of chronographs to the French air force and navy to introduce the Type XXI 3813. It’s equipped with the same flyback function featured on the original 1950s model. Another characteristic of this one-of-a-kind model lies in its central chronograph minutes counter ensuring instant readability. It’s also equipped with a date aperture, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, a day/night indicator and small seconds subdial.
For the first time, the mechanical self-winding 584Q/1 caliber is housed in a platinum case (42 mm), fitted with a bidirectional rotating bezel. Its matt slate grey dial, crafted in an exclusive execution for Only Watch, bears stylized Arabic numerals composed of a white transferred base coated with Superluminova, enhanced by luminescent hands and hour markers.
The unique Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées timepiece for Only Watch combines the luxury watch brand’s skill in openwork engraving and in Grand Feu enamelling. The manually-wound openworked Calibre 4400SQ took hundreds of hours to achieve the proper balance between airy aesthetic appeal and optimal functionality, according to the luxury watch brand. Artisans removed about half of the caliber 4400 to create a piece of 3D sculptural art.
The watch is further enhanced through Grand Feu enamelling. In-house enameling artisans have created a red ring topping the caliber. The ring is accentuated by Roman numerals, evoking those of the central clocks in the large railway stations of late 19th century Europe. The openworked Only Watch logo appears on the ring at 3 o’clock.
The independent luxury watch brand chose the winged stallion, Pegasus, to grace the dial of its Only Watch submission. Renato A. Vanotti, Vulcain CEO, says the divine symbol emphasizes the “heightened power of the natural forces—the innate capacity for spiritualization and for inverting evil into good.”
The stallion in an action pose on its hind legs is backed by scene in which the top half is lit by fiery red and yellow colors and the bottom in cool blue. The entire scene is created with hand-made grand Feu cloisonné enameling and is unique to Only Watch and topped with 12 diamond cabochons used as hour markers. The 42 mm pink gold case houses the Vulcain automatic cricket-caliber V-20 movement. The caseback is engraved with the Only Watch logo.
Only Watch is an auction of unique timepieces created and donated by watchmakers for research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This will be the sixth edition of the auction, which began in 2005. All the funds raised by the watches will go toward finding a cure for the disease, which affects 1 in 3,600 boys, resulting in muscle degeneration and premature death.
For the first time the auction will move from its traditional home in Monaco to Geneva. It will be held November 7, marking the start of the week of watch auctions in the Swiss city. Also for the first time, the event is organized by Phillips auction house in association with Bacs & Russo, along with traditional organizers the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy and the Monaco Yacht Show.
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