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Only Watch Unpacking what’s on offer

Whether technical, innovative or simply different, these particular models have caught our attention among the 50 unique pieces up for auction during the 2019 edition of Only Watch.

As the 9th edition of Only Watch draws nearer, certain facts are now well-established. First of all, the Patek Philippe watch, a steel Grandmaster Chime, is set to account for between 30 and 50% of the total sum collected and shatter every record. There is no need to dwell on this incredible watch, since it has already been abundantly described. Another sure thing is that this tree hides a forest comprising a variety of species. Some are variations of existing models that feature just a touch of sky blue, the color theme of Only Watch 2019, while others go well beyond that. Because Only Watch has become a lab, a sounding board enabling brands to present their expertise and take measured risks, this naturally gives rise to interpretations that deserve a closer look.

Firstly, there are certain models endowed with symbolic or technical importance. François-Paul Journe is presenting the very first example – the prototype – of the most complex watch he has ever made, the Astronomic Blue. Tourbillon, remontoire, minute repeater, perpetual calendar and half a dozen astronomical indications : almost everything that makes F.P.Journe unique is condensed into this tantalum piece. Richard Mille is offering the prototype of his RM 11-03 McLaren, in Carbon TPT and Orange TPT Quartz, an addition to the 500 in the limited edition. Finally, Urwerk and De Bethune have launched their first joint watch, a watch with an x in the middle that is the token of the uber-trendy collaborative capsule editions. The Moon Satellite features the case (in an oblong version) and satellites of an Urwerk, the floating lugs and the 3D moon of a De Bethune and all the madness of these brands so remarkable for their originality and technicality.
Tudor’s Black Bay is also a sure bet for Only Watch. For the first time (and some are hoping not the last), this vintage diver’s watch is available in a black ceramic case, with a black dial and black SLN hour-markers. Together, they form the Black Bay Ceramic One, or in other words, the only Black Bay with a sapphire caseback. Bovet and Louis Vuitton deserve a special mention for the miniature painting featured on their respective creations : a good fairy perched on a crescent moon adorns the well-named Récital 23 Hope ; while a thorny-stemmed rose motif graces the gemset Escale Spin Time Stopover. Meanwhile, Arnold & Son has created a blue-accented black dial version of its DSTB, and also offers the highest bidder the additional privilege of choosing the shape of the component performing the true seconds function of this model – a unique opportunity in this year’s auction. Moritz Grossmann has made the equally unique choice of renouncing its usual logo to at last match the sobriety and elegance of its watches. The German microbrand should thus win over a new audience.

Finally, the Breguet enigma. Is this a test run ? A media stunt ? Will the brand be renewing the design of its retro Type XX pilot’s chronograph ? Whatever the case, the version dedicated to Only Watch has what it takes to thrill fans of the genre. The Type 20 Revival 2055ST features a dial, SLN and hour-markers in various shades of extremely vintage beige/brown, as well as an onion-type crown and fluted bezel in line with the original series… Watch this space, including after November 9, the auction date for the 50 unique pieces starring in Only Watch 2019.

Journaliste expert en horlogerie et correspondant régulier de WorldTempus, David alimente notre rubrique technique.

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