There’s a Full Spectrum of Unique Timepieces at Only Watch
Only Watch

Taste the Rainbow: There’s a Full Spectrum of Unique Timepieces at Only Watch

The theme of this year’s edition of the biennial auction is “All the Colors of the Rainbow,” and these watchmakers have clearly understood the assignment.

By Rhonda Riche

Since 2005, Only Watch has become one of the most anticipated horological events for collectors, brands, and curious bystanders. Luc Pettavino created the fundraiser to raise awareness and research funding for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disorder found in children characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness.

More than just a chance to help a worthy cause, Only Watch is also an opportunity for watchmakers to show off their chops and express their creativity and uniqueness by creating one-off pieces to be auctioned off by Christie’s. This year, the theme for the auction is “All the Colors of the Rainbow.”

So, since Only Watch is about providing hope for kids with DMD and their families, we’re excited to see so many different takes on the arc en ciel – that eternal symbol of hope and the beauty after the storm. Here are our favorite examples of Only Watch’s multi-hued horology.

Bell & Ross BR 03 Cyber Rainbow

While this is not Bell & Ross’ first time at the Only Watch rodeo, the brand is looking to represent the avant-garde wing of watch enthusiasts with its take on the brand’s classic BR 03 dubbed the Cyber Rainbow.

This exclusive timepiece uses cutting-edge technologies to add color to its black DLC titanium case by adorning it with meticulously applied varnished pieces. The mosaic motif even continues on the rubber strap to harmonize with the rest of the watch.

Another unique aspect of this watch is its self-winding calibre because it was specially developed for the BR 03 Cyber Rainbow. Fortunately, the technicity shines through via an openwork dial, revealing a multi-hued 3D skeletonized movement and an oscillating weight. Finally, the bridges, made from DLC micro-blasted metal, are also colored in with varnish.

Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur Only Watch

The French word for “rainbow” is “arc-en-ciel” (literally, “arch in the sky”). However, “arceau” also translates into “arch.” That is why it’s so fitting that Hermès chose an Arceau, one of the brand’s most recognizable collections, for its Only Watch submission.

Designed by the then-creative director, Henri d’Origny in 1978, the Arceau’s curvy lugs were meant to recall the shape of a stirrup. However, for the 10th edition of Only Watch, the brand has played with the Arceau’s finishes and accents so that you’d be forgiven if you thought it was meant to be an homage to a rainbow this whole time.

Hermès has taken this year’s Only Watch flagship colors of red, blue, green, and yellow (with a soupçon of the brand’s signature orange) and filtered the concept in a way that bridges heaven and earth. The fact that the Arceau Le Temps Voyageur is also a sophisticated travel watch only makes this watch even more heavenly.

Made of platinum and topped by a night sky, black DLC titanium bezel, its round 41mm case with asymmetrical lugs frames a unique reading of the world’s hours. A gravitational counter travels across the continents, moving from city to city, displaying 24 time zones by means of a circular disc.

A matte textured Mykonos-blue alligator strap with cactus green lining, crafted in the Hermès Horloger workshops, completes this colorful, one-of-a-kind timepiece.

Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Only Watch

Maurice Lacroix is a house that’s never been afraid of color. For the 10th edition of Only Watch, the brand has gone into full play mode with a timepiece inspired by the works of the Hungarian-French painter Victor Vasarely, who is considered the father of the colorful and geometric Op Art movement of the mid-20th century.

The Masterpiece is Maurice Lacroix’s first watch encased in sapphire crystal. With a diameter of 43mm, this clear housing reveals the Manufacture Calibre ML330 skeletonized movement and its blue, red, orange, and green colorings. The openwork anthracite gray sunray dial features a rainbow perimeter on the big disk and a black perimeter on the small disk. The connection to color continues with black indices that have been filled with various shades of Super-LumiNova.

The watch is presented on a grey M-branded nylon strap paired with a stainless steel butterfly buckle and features a user-friendly strap-exchange system.

Grönefeld 1941 Principia Mandala

The word “mandala” means “circle” in Sanskrit. Used in meditation, mandalas are also geometric designs (usually circular) that symbolize the universe and feature vibrant colors that each promote a kind of energy. And like watches, colors vibrate at a frequency that can be measured in hertz.

So, for this year’s edition of the charitable auction, Dutch independent watchmaker Grönefeld has married these ideas to a much more vibrant version of its 1941 Principia Mandala. This spectacular dial incorporates 16 vivid hues and a dedication to harmonic perfection, taking 60 base dials to create one perfect dial.

As an extra treat, the caseback of this stainless steel timepiece has been outfitted with a hinged hunter cover like the kind traditionally found on pocket watches. Inside, it’s engraved with portraits of Bart and Tim, the founders of Gronefeld, and their father, Sjef.

Czapek Genève Place Vendôme Complicité — Courage Every Second

The goal of Only Watch is to find new ways to solve the medical riddles of DMD. It was in this spirit of puzzling out problems that the Place Vendôme Complicité – Courage Every Second by Czapek Genève was born.

An evolution of two of the independent brand’s early models, the Quai des Bergues and the Place Vendôme, CEO Xavier Czapek had an idea for positioning the escapements at 4:30 and 7:30 and having them connect to the differential at 12 o’clock. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find a watchmaking partner who could execute this architecture – until a mutual friend introduced him to Bernhard Lederer.

Together, they brought the complication to fruition by running the dual escapement around the center. The final piece – with its champlevé enamel ring in the colors of the 10th edition of Only Watch – was designed even before Czapek had finalized the designs for production. There really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Auction Info

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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