Only Watch 2019: Our Analysis And Top Lots Predictions
Only Watch

Hot Sellers: Our Predictions For The Top Lots Of Only Watch 2019

Every two years, the Only Watch charity auction is held in support of the fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The cause is a noble one, and the money raised is vital for funding research against this still incurable disease. However, it is also an opportunity to gauge the desirability of watch brands. Here are the high expectations of the 2019 edition of Only Watch.

By Benjamin Teisseire

First, before we talk about this year's upcoming auction, a quick recap. Over the last seven editions, more than $40.3 million has been raised. In just 2017 more than $10 million was raised when three big names drew enormous bids. Patek Philippe with the Ref. 5208T-010 set a new record of over $6.2 million (almost six times the highest estimate); Audemars Piguet with the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar reached to over $800,000 (almost seven times the highest estimate); and, François-Paul Journe with the Monopoussoir Chronograph Flyback took in over $1.1 million (nearly three times the high estimate).

Return of the regulars

The three manufactures mentioned above will, of course, be followed closely during this auction. Patek Philippe, a regular auction lot, is expected to reach new heights with its Grandmaster Chime ref. 6300A-010 in steel with a salmon dial. A phenomenal complication, a unique steel case, and a dial with a very popular color at the moment. Fundamentally, everything is coming together for Patek Philippe and Only Watch to soar to new heights. This year’s auction will most certainly be the most attended and contested.

F.P.Journe is also back with a masterpiece of watchmaking: the Astronomic Blue. A unique prototype with tantalum case, blue chrome dial, tourbillon, minute repeater, and 18K gold movement – 18 complications in all. The bidding will be fierce on this lot, too!

Audemars Piguet is offering a piece from its new Code 11.59 collection: an openworked tourbillon. The two tones, rose gold and 18K gray, highlight all the complexity of the case that is emblematic of this collection. There’s no doubt that the estimates will, again, be significantly exceeded with this timepiece.

Three pieces making buzz

A name that comes up in every conversation between collectors interested in independents is: Rexhep Rexhepi and his Akrivia workshop. Recognized by his peers for his talent, the quality of his calibre constructions, and the excellence of his finishing make his creations objects of desires for all lovers of haute horlogerie. His Chronomètre Contemporain was a hit at Baselworld this year, and its Only Watch iteration includes a platinum case – made by the case master Jean-Pierre Hagmann, who is now part of Atelier Akrivia – and a blue-gray grand feu hand-hammered dial

This unique piece will not fail to unleash bidders’ passions. Estimates are expected to be far exceeded given the enthusiasm it arouses.

Richard Mille joins the 2019 edition with an RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph McLaren. The one-of-a-kind piece dives into the McLaren design codes unveiling a wealth of detail, right down to the very shape of the chronograph pushbuttons evoking the distinctive headlights of the car brand. The case is made of Carbon TPT® interlaced with Orange Quartz TPT®, the grade 5 titanium mimics the McLaren’s lightweight wheel, and the RMAC3 movement allows for custom winding thanks to the variable-geometry rotor that will adjust to the wearer’s activity level. Mechanical precision like this will quickly leave the high estimates in its rearview mirror.

Finally, Bovet returns to the auction with a poetic ode to watchmaking and craftsmanship. Made in-house at the manufacture in Fleurier, engravings and miniature paintings create a true watchmaking poem dedicated to hope in this “Récital 23 Hope." Under a hemispherical dome depicting the phases of the luminescent moon, is a fairy painted on the aventurine dial and surrounded by ten diamond indices symbolizing a star-like hope in the fight against the disease. Watchmaking art combined with Bovet precision and poetry should bring the auction to heaven heights.

The six precious timepieces mentioned above will all be closely followed. But many other timepieces (50 in total) will be sold at the Only Watch charity auction by Christie's to be held on November 9 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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