Last week in Geneva, a bi-annual event of significant magnitude in the watch world took place. Only Watch 2017 is a charitable auction wherein top watch brands create a one-of-a-kind watch donated to the cause. All proceeds go to fight Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This year’s auction by Christie’s witnessed 49 unique watches up for sale. The end result: a total of CHF 10.776 million ($10.7 million) was raised. (The Swiss franc and U.S. dollar are currently trading at approximately equal value).
The top three lots: Patek Phillipe (Lot 12) sold for a hammer price of CHF 6.2 million; F. P. Journe watch (Lot 32) sold for CHF 1.15 million at hammer price; the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual calendar watch (Lot 47) came in third with a final sale/hammer price of CHF 800,000.
This year marked the second time that a Patek Philippe watch emerged as the top lot. The unique titanium Minute Repeater Chronograph Perpetual Calendar Patek Philippe 5208T watch features a unique blue guilloché dial and a specially finished movement coated in dark gray.
At Only Watch, the sale of the F.P. Journe Monopusher Chronograph Rattrapante for CHF 1.15 million set a new mark for the most expensive F.P. Journe watch ever sold at auction. It fetched three times its estimated price. The watch features a new 44mm case made in tantalum and an all-new column-wheel chronograph in 18-karat rose gold.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Only Watch with unique color combination earned almost 10 times its estimate, when it sold for CHF 800,000. The specially made timepiece features a new color-way in bright yellow (rubber strap) and black ceramic case, bezel and bracelet. It also features a sky blue dial and orange-hued moonphase indications.
Just four other watches topped the $100,000 mark. Lot 6 — a Tudor watch — sold for $350,000; Lot 16, an MB&F watch, sold for $210,000. Hublot's watch (Lot 24) honoring Usain Bolt went for a hammer price of $150,000, and a Breguet (Lot 41) went for $110,000.
We saw a few surprises in the typically termed “affordable watch” category, with a TAG Heuer Luxury Kit Only Watch Special Edition Connected watch taking more than double its anticipated estimate and selling for 38,000 CHF. The Only Watch version is crafted in black case and dial and bright yellow rubber strap and houses the COSC-certified Heuer-02T chronograph tourbillon mechanical module.