London’s Calling For A Good Cause: A Look At The Speake-Marin London Chronograph Only Watch
The biennial Only Watch charity auction is always a highpoint in the watchmaking calendar — a unique opportunity for brands to be both creative and serve a noble cause. For the 2019 edition, Speake-Marin is participating for the third time with an unexpected design. Christelle Rosnoblet, CEO of the brand, explains her motivation.
Only Watch is an opportunity to donate to the Monegasque Association Against Muscular Dystrophy (AMM). Specifically, AMM supports scientific and medical research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMM), one of the most severe (and common) forms of muscular dystrophy. Founded by Luc Pettavino, whose own son passed away due to complications of DMM in 2016. To date, Only Watch has raised over $40 million for AMM through the sale one-off timepieces.
It's a beneficial event to advance research, followed closely by watch enthusiasts, and highly prized by collectors. As Christelle Rosnoblet confirmed, "This is a wonderful cause. The life and struggles of Luc Pettavino dealing with his son’s illness sincerely touched us. For Speake-Marin it was unthinkable not to participate for the third time."
An extraordinary timepiece
Over the last three editions, Speake-Marin renewed the One & Two collections with its newly launched Academic and Open-worked models. However, for this year’s Only Watch, they chose to offer a unique version of its London Chronograph presented in the charity’s signature pastel blue.
When asked why the brand chose this model, the CEO explained, "This model of the London Chronograph is unique because it incorporates an emblematic vintage movement: Valjoux 92 caliber. Very popular in the 50s and 60s, it almost disappeared with the arrival of quartz. It is hard to find today. We were lucky to find some that we rebuild regularly. To make this model unique, we dressed it with the Only Watch colors. "
The result is splendid. In its 42mm titanium case with its characteristic "Piccadilly" shape, its protruding lugs, and its stepped bezel, this unique piece offers a pale blue dial that perfectly highlights the two counters.
The white counter, located at 9 o'clock, indicates small seconds and the anthracite gray 3 o'clock counter is for measuring the minutes of the chronograph. Both of which float above elongated indexes in Roman numerals.
Furthermore, the white spade-shaped hour and minute hands are immediately recognizable as a Speake-Marin design signature. These features are accentuated by the black and white timer running along the edge of the dial.
Finally, this "London Chronograph" is engraved on the central rotor which incorporates the logo of the independent brand.
Do you like me, yes or no?
In addition to the main philanthropic purpose of the auction, it can also act as a sort of barometer for gauging brand attractiveness. For participating independent brand this poses a potential risk. However, Christelle Rosnoblet vehemently disagreed, "Absolutely not! The cause completely transcends mere communication. We try to contribute in the best way possible, within our means. The goal is to continue to advance research on the disease."
The timepiece proposed by Speake-Marin is undoubtedly beautiful. A real unique piece for collectors with a definite style, an unusual movement, and a noble cause. The auction will take place on November 9 at Christie's in Geneva. Don't miss it!
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)