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Only Watch 2021: The most unique timepieces to keep an eye on

Only Watch 2021: The most unique timepieces to keep an eye on

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Text: Kelly Lim

A total of 54 brands including Hermès, Bvlgari, and Chanel are taking part in the 2021 edition of the charity auction, set to take place in November

Watch collectors, connoisseurs and lovers of beauty, take heed. The ninth edition of Only Watch returns this year with a spectacular line-up of one-of-a-kind horlogerie creations.

Taking place every two years, the biennial charity auction invites luxury watchmakers to create unique one-off timepieces in order to raise funds for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that affects approximately six in every 100,000 people. Since 2005, the Only Watch auction has raised over 70 million euros across its previous eight editions. Its 2019 edition saw the sale of a distinctive steel Patek Philippe wristwatch at approximately 26 million euros, which broke the world record for the most expensive watch ever sold. 

This year, the auction takes place on November 6 at the Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues in Geneva, hosted by Christie’s and under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco. Below, we’ve rounded up highlights to look out for:

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin Only Watch

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The last of its kind, this dedicated piece is the official send-off for Audemars Piguet’s iconic 15292 sports model since announcing its discontinuation this year. The final 15202 is cased in a new sandblasted titanium and will also be the last unique piece powered by their ultra-thin Calibre 2121 automatic movement, first introduced on the Royal Oak of 1972. The watch above also features a bulk metallic glass bezel, which is a first for Piguet, to upgrade its body with immense strength and resistance to wear and corrosion.

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar Tantalum

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Bvlgari has broken seven world records with watches from the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo collection across the seven years since its first release. For Only Watch 2021, the one-of-a-kind piece is recreated in rare tantalum with a 2.7mm miniature calibre alongside a deep blue dial to echo its metallic casing. A graphic design of the month of November recalls the Only Watch abbreviation in a symbolic shade of colour, as an acknowledgement to the charity auction, and features perpetual calendar functions: retrograde date display, retrograde day, month and leap-year indication.

Chanel The J12 Paradoxe Only 2

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Black or white? You no longer need to choose as the French luxury house will be offering two of its iconic J12 Paradoxe timepieces in a unique matte black and pure white ceramic. Its unique design relies on a technical challenge that requires cutting two highly resistant ceramic cases of different colours without breaking them to join them together. The pair also boasts a COSC-certified chronometer and is equipped with the self-winding Calibre 12.1 movement that’s manufactured exclusively for the Maison.

READ MORE: Why Chanel's J12 was, and continues to be, ahead of its time 

FP Journe X Francis Ford Coppola FFC Blue

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This brainchild of celebrated filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and the equally acclaimed watchmaker was birthed over dinner, through a discussion on whether a human hand could tell the time in a watch. And so, with a chrome blue mechanical hand as its dial, the automatic Octa Calibre 1300, a legendary model by François-Paul Journe, is refreshed on its 20th anniversary. The tantalum-cased prototype gleans its power source from the watch’s mainspring and features digital hours indicated by the automaton hand, in which fingers will appear or disappear in several positions to tell the time.

Hermès H08 Only Watch

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In keeping with the Maison’s masculine codes, their Only Watch offering is a nod to the wondrous worlds of graphics, mathematics and metaphysics. Angles and curves merge in sports-inspired lines and softened curves in a titanium casing alongside original font numerals. Two interpretations are available in a play of deep colours and iconic orange, arriving in a single box.

Louis Vuitton Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon Only Watch

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For the upcoming auction, a new version of Louis Vuitton’s Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon is unveiled in shades of warm and vivid orange. Powered by an automatic-winding LV 82 Calibre, the new timepiece’s bold and graphic look is made up of a red-to-yellow face gradation and indexes set with orange baguette-cut sapphires. Coming with it is also a house signature in the form of a customised Monogram canvas trunk hand-painted in Only Watch colours.

TAG Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco

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First produced in the ‘70s, TAG Heuer’s iconic black Monaco Dark Lord is reimagined as a unique carbon fibre piece to bridge the House’s heritage with its philosophy of innovation. Carbon dominates this timepiece as the material makes up not only the case and its skeletonised dial but also its hairspring, for the first time in the Heuer 02 calibre model. Its distinctive gratte surface is hand-finished through 10 different techniques to give the impression of a chequered flag, alongside a huge sapphire case back mounted to make it all visible.

Tudor Black Bay GMT

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A definite one to watch each year, Tudor’s 2021 entry is a twist of its popular Black Bay diver’s watch, seen in a striking case and bracelet finish made of aged stainless steel that gives it a special stonewash effect. Powered by a MT5652 Manufacture Calibre, the timepiece is Master Chronometer-certified—which means it’s anti-magnetic to 15,000 gauss, accurate to within five seconds a day, in addition to its stated water-resistance and power-reserve.

Richard Mille RM 67-02 Charles Leclerc prototype

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Richard Mille’s RM 67-02 prototype was developed by a desire to create a “second skin” for Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc. With a white and red Quartz TPT case and an extra-flat calibre CRMA7, this sporty piece recalls the sharp lines and colours of Leclerc’s world. It’s completed by a seamless strap in a bright red that’s also the lightest strap the brand has ever created, making the prototype the lightest automatic of the House’s collections. Additionally, the winning bidder of the watch will also receive two passes for the next F1 Monaco Grand Prix as VIP guests of Scuderia Ferrari.