Only Watch is to the watch world what Marc Newson and Jony Ive’s 2013 Red auction was to the design community. Now in its sixth year, the biennial horological extravaganza will take place in Geneva for the first time. On Saturday 7 November, 44 exceptional one-off timepieces designed by leading watch houses will go under the hammer. Not only will the event raise money for the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy fund, it’s a brilliant chance for the industry’s avant-garde thinkers to impress with completely off-the-scale, singular watch designs. Further excitement comes in the form of watch auctioneer extraordinnaire Aurel Bacs, who will host the event in partnership with Phillips' watch department. His Rolex sale for the auction house earlier this year has been the highlight of the horological year so far. Here’s a taste of what to expect...
Hermès: The elegant In The Pocket watch derives from the innovative pocket watch holder Jacqueline Hermès received in 1912 from her father, which allowed her to ride her horses without attaching her watch to her clothes. This updated version unites hand-sewn alligator leather with warm rose gold for a result that is just as practical but more than a little glamorous
Piaget: To create the world’s thinnest mechanical watch, the Piaget 38mm 900P Altiplano, the architecture had to be significantly reworked. For this exclusive version, the gleam of the red hands adds a welcome blush to the white gold case and sleek black bridges
De Grisogono: At first glance sleek and simple, the New Retro Black Stripes from de Grisgono is more complex than that. A quick flip of the watch reveals four stripes of notoriously hard-to-cut glinting black diamonds on the back, giving an intriguing edge to an otherwise understated piece
MB&F: The brand’s playful, fully animated mechanical robot moves and blinks and tells the time via hours and minutes apertures displayed on his chest. Clad in palladium-plated brass and steel with brilliant-red shoulder pads, despite appearances to the contrary, this watch is not a toy…
Bell & Ross: Pirate mythology looms large in the thinking behind the design of the BR 01 Skull Bronze Tourbillon. The rough, aged patina and eerie skull and crossbones, give it an authentic vibe – as if was just unearthed from a sunken ship
De Bethune: A play on the first piece they designed for Only Watch in 2005, the DBS fuses anthracite, steel and titanium and follows the principles of old-school mechanical design to produce a contemporary watch composed of sharp lines and juxtaposing materials that jar nicely
Hublot: Uniting the old and new is the Hublot Classic Fusion Only Watch, designed by Brazilian artist Romero Britto. His modern, cubist-inspired pop art has been carefully reproduced in enamel on the dial, creating a miniature work of contemporary art
Urwerk: The Urwerk UR-106 takes inspiration from astronomy, architecture and science fiction, a diverse mix with an other-worldly result. Technically accomplished, a satellite hours indication means it does not just tell the time one way, but two, by both digital and analogue means
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