Every two years, the watchmaking community comes together for a unique initiative, Only Watch, that benefits research programmes on Duchenne muscular dystrophy while further raising the profile of some of the world’s most beautiful watch brands. Held under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco, this year’s Only Watch — now in its eighth edition — features 50 specially designed watches from 52 brands that will go on tour around the world beginning Sept 25. The watches will be auctioned on Nov 9 in Geneva, and the proceeds will be channelled to scientific and medical research on neuromuscular diseases, particularly Duchenne muscular dystrophy. There is still some time before the auction, but nothing to stop us from admiring some of the timepieces that have already been unveiled. Here are six of our favourites.
Created in the official colours of Only Watch and in collaboration with French sculptor Richard Orlinski, Hublot’s Classic Fusion Tourbillon Sapphire Orlinski features a topaz-studded, white gold bezel and openwork design that showcases the watch’s sophisticated mechanisms. Its case, however, is of most importance. The sapphire — one of the most difficult materials to machine — is carved into Orlinski’s signature edges, bevels and facets. This design obstacle and how it can be overcome provides a hopeful message to the children who are affected by this degenerative neuromuscular disease: You can go beyond your dreams as long as you make every effort to achieve them.
Frédérique Constant has released a unique version of its highly successful Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture watch with a skeletonised blue meteorite dial, made from material that is estimated to have fallen to Earth 80,000 years ago. The dial, within a rose gold case, boasts a heartbeat opening at six o’clock that gives a precious glance at the watch’s complex mechanics. Similarly, the sapphire crystal caseback of the Meteorite Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture Only Watch allows for an unimpeded view of the delicate perlage and Côtes de Genève decorations, and celebrates the beauty of this watch both inside and out.
MB&F’s unconventional, highly metaphorical Tom & T-Rex table clock was created with Swiss clockmaker L’Epée 1839. A small sculpture of a young boy — named Tom — represents the children living with muscular dystrophy. Tom rides on his formidable friend, T-Rex, who carries him away into fantastical realms with the earth-shaking strides of the mightiest of dinosaurs; a symbol of the hope offered by the Only Watch auction. Standing over 30cm tall and crafted from more than 200 palladium-plated brass, bronze and stainless steel pieces, with a translucent dial in hand-blown Murano glass, Tom & T-Rex deliver the time most whimsically with eight days of power reserve.
The Arceau L’heure de la lune offers Hermès’ unique vision of Earth’s satellite with the simultaneous display of moon phases in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Two mobile counters bearing the time and date gravitate on a meteorite dial, revealing mother-of-pearl moons in step with an exclusive module, coupled with the manufacture Hermès manual-wound movement. All these fit within a 43mm white gold case. This special timepiece is completed with a matte alligator strap in graphite grey with a blue zephyr calfskin.
Arnold & Son
Arnold & Son’s DSTB model calls on the watchmaking science of John Arnold, a genius British watchmaker who was on a perpetual quest for extreme chronometric accuracy. He garnered renown in part for his marine chronometers, which featured a dead-beat seconds mechanism. Instead of incorporating it into the movement, the Dial Side True Beat places the entire mechanism on the dial, making it easier to understand and appreciate. The winning bidder for the DSTB Only Watch will be invited to choose the shape of the true seconds counterweight to replace the anchor-shaped piece, which Arnold & Son will produce and incorporate into the watch.
In the spirit of mountain exploration, Montblanc reinterprets a historical Minerva military monopusher chronograph from the 1930s with the one-of-a-kind 1858 Split Second Chronograph Only Watch 2019. This wristwatch combines a 44 mm case in full satin-finished grade-two titanium, the hand-crafted Montblanc manufacture monopusher chronograph Calibre MB M16.31, a matching brand-new Sfumato alligator strap and a stunning dial made of degraded natural blue Agate stone, which gives a unique blue appearance. These elements make this watch a true collectors’ piece.
This article first appeared on July 29, 2019 in The Edge Malaysia.