RM S14 Talisman Origine — RICHARD MILLE
Only Watch

Hands-Free: A Tremendous Trio of Non-Wristwatch Lots from the 10th Edition of Only Watch

Richard Mille, Tiffany & Co., and Urwerk dare to be different with one-of-a-kind auction offerings that weren’t made for the wrist.

By Rhonda Riche

The fundraising focus of Only Watch is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a very severe neuromuscular disease that primarily affects boys (1 in 3,500). However, technologies developed by researchers funded by this biennial auction are transposable to many debilitating conditions that affect muscles and the central nervous system.

Likewise, the timepieces created by elite watchmakers for the auction have grown in scope. Case in point, the 10th edition of Only Watch is offering up a selection of off-the-cuff timepieces, including pendants and something called a “time saber,” that don’t belong on anyone’s wrist.

Here’s a look at three offbeat and unique lots.

Richard Mille’s Talisman Origine RMS14

For Only Watch, Richard Mille has indulged in a bit of speculative non-fiction because the premise behind its pendant watch is the question: In a long-vanished Swiss society where mechanics, craftsmanship, and spirituality came together, why was this mysterious object created?

The maison is calling this timepiece the “Talisman Origine.”

A talisman is usually a portable object that is thought to have religious or magical powers and is intended to protect or heal the individuals for whom they were made. Thus, inspired by ancient relics, the designers at Richard Mille applied modern manufacturing technologies to make a 46.77 x 77.25 x 13.1mm pendant that also crosses freely between the boundaries between the tangible and spiritual worlds.


For example, the skeletonized architecture exposes the team’s creativity through the precision of its finishing, complete with cryptic symbols. The case is composed of materials believed to have healing powers (rhodonite, titanium, and red gold).

Moreover, while the necklace incorporates grounding bits of Swiss briarwood, the pendant has two crowns, one dedicated to the sun and the other to the moon.

Tiffany & Co.’s Bird on a Rock Mechanical Pendant Only Watch

The forty-third lot of the upcoming Only Watch auction is this pendant watch from Tiffany & Co. that re-envisions the iconic “Bird on a Rock” brooch Jean Schlumberger created for the maison in 1965.

Tiffany & Co. artisans in Switzerland have transformed this emblematic design into a mechanical pendant watch by repositioning the bird into a front-facing stance perched atop the watch case. Meanwhile, the case features a faceted aquamarine of over 34 carats and is secured by four 18K yellow gold prongs.

Fun Fact: It took 80 hours to polish the aquamarine, which sits atop a snow-set dial with 461 diamonds in eight different diameters.

The platinum bird features over 3 carats in diamonds, pink sapphire eyes, and 18-karat yellow gold feet. Finally, this unique timepiece is powered by a 21-jewel manual winding mechanical movement with a 38-hour power reserve.

Urwerk’s Space-Time Blade

For the 10th edition of Only Watch, Urwerk is embarking on a journey through time and space. To do this, the Geneva-based watchmaker has collaborated with Nixie Tube enthusiast and craftsman Dalibor Farny to create a retro-futuristic clock called the Space-Time Blade.

The ground-breaking timepiece uses thin, fragile bulbs that emit an orange glow to both indicate the time (hours, minutes, seconds) and display, in kilometers, the Earth’s rotation. Of course, at first glimpse, it resembles a lightsaber (another nod to space); however, this hand-assembled horological sculpture also projects a bit of fragility (a nod to the seriousness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy).

There is also an element of hope. Via remote control, the Space-Time Blade can be set to six different positions, which signifies that while life is fragile, we can still take control.

Functions of this clock include a time display (in hours and minutes), an indication of kilometers covered in one day (measured from the Earth’s rotation at the Equator), and an indication of kilometers traveled in one year (measured from Earth’s revolution around the sun).

Standing 1.62 meters tall and weighing 40 kg, the Space-Time Blade’s bronze base and eight vertically aligned tubes are covered by a glass dome. Each bulb has been individually custom-shaped with a blowtorch. The tubes are then carefully filled with low-pressure neon gas and feature a wire-mesh anode, with cathodes forming the numerals. The whole shebang is then stacked element by element using pliers.

It tells time; it’s a contemplation on time; and, most importantly, as a fundraiser, the Space-Time Blade can also change the future.

The 10th edition of the Only Watch auction will be held at 2pm (14:00) on Friday, May 10, 2024, at the Palexpo convention center in Geneva, under the hammer of Christie’s.

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