For those who like classic erotic watches, the Bovet Secret Beauty For Only Watch timepiece has an interesting twist. With a hand-painted geisha on the dial, the face changes in the dark with a luminant painted section that shows the female subject is a less dressed manner. You really only get to see some painted nipples, but I have a feeling Bovet is trying to capture the attention of imaginative collectors who will come to the brand with their own ideas (and custom orders). The buyer of the Bovet will get the experience of a trip to London with Bovet owner Pascal Raffy to a charity entertainment dinner for a cause that the brand supports.
Most of the LVMH group watch brands are participating in the Only Watch auction this year including Zenith, Hublot, Louis Vuitton, and TAG Heuer. None are offering revolutionary models, but all are pleasant and totally wearable. TAG Heuer offers a yellow-themed version of the still new Connected Modular 45 that, of course, has to come with the Heuer 02T tourbillon watch module – which with these color tones is unique. The name is the TAG Heuer Luxury Kit “Only Watch” Special Edition. Perhaps more things need to be called “luxury kit.” The watch comes with the experience of having lunch for up to four people with TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver himself.
Zenith offers an interesting also yellow-themed variation of the also new Zenith Defy El Primero 21 watch. The movement also appears to have some interesting colors which separate it from the norm. The Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Only Watch Edition has a black-colored titanium case and with the yellow colors is a handsome and very bold sports watch. The watch comes with the experience of visiting the Zenith watch manufacture.
Hublot’s entrant to Only Watch 2017 is more sentimental than it is original. The brand has produced a one-off watch in celebration of Hublot brand ambassador Usain Bolt (not their first Usain Bolt watch) who recently announced his retirement. The piece is the Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire Usain Bolt For Only Watch, and has a sapphire and gold case with green accents in honor of the Jamaican flag. It comes with two straps (one in matching flashy yellow-gold tone), and a rather appropriate experience of meeting with the Olympic runner Usain Bolt himself (and getting a signed t-shirt).
Louis Vuitton once again offers a version of their beautiful and high-end Escale Spin Time watch, this time in a summery orange and yellow themed model (with hand-painted hour cubes). Louis Vuitton calls is the Escale Spin Time Black & Fire reference Q5EG40, There is nothing technically unique about this watch, but its 1970s-style look (and Louis Vuitton name) will certainly garner attention. The buyer will get to visit the La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton watch manufacture as well as dine with key brand people at the Louis Vuitton family house.
MB&F is a typical Only Watch auction crowd pleaser and, compared to other brands, certainly does offer something unique and unexpected for 2017. The MB&F Horological Machine No. 8 Only Watch takes the artwork of 15-year-old ballet dancer and puts it inside the watch over the movement. There is also a bridge that has the distinct look of a smiley face. Given that the Only Watch 2017 auction is about a children’s medical charity, the youth-art theme works well here. Don’t miss the carefully engraved elephant on the “front” where you read the time.
One of the hottest independent watches from Baselworld 2017 was Russian Konstantin Chaykin’s Joker watch, which is a whimsical yet classy high-end timepiece with separates hour and minute dials which together with the upside down moon phase indicator make the shape of a silly face. For Only Watch 2017, Konstantin Chaykin offers the unique Joker Red with a distinct look and a special zirconium case that I feel will draw the attention of his growing fan base.
Barbier Mueller is a name I learned from Only Watch 2017. The Barbier Mueller Mosaique watch features stone mosaic work on the dial and a hunter-style opening caseback. The “entirely made in Geneva” statement might work out since the movement is produced by F.P. Journe in Geneva. This is interesting as it is the first time I’ve seen an F.P. Journe-labeled wrist watch movement in a watch with someone else’s name on the dial. This is truly among the most actually unique watches at Only Watch 2017, in my opinion.
I don’t really understand why Hautlence’s “Pinball, Ball-E – Mechanical Pinball” wrist toy has such a complicated name. The item – which does not tell the time, so it is not a watch – is actually a clever miniature pinball (or pachinko) game right on your wrist that you can play if you have too much time and money. The brand has produced wrist games like this before and now refers to these “watches” as coming from their Playground mechanical games collection. With its robot face-style dial and playful theme, this will attract plenty of eager fingers, but only one buyer.
For the most part, those are the Only Watch 2017 watches worth mentioning. Most of the pieces are attractive but not terribly unique. The Breguet is pretty without being clear it is a new model, and the WOSTEP signed pocket watch is fun even though it doesn’t seem that any of the famous names on it actually had anything to do with making it. Another nod goes to German Moritz Grossmann who with the Atum Homage watch produces a modern timepiece with a dial that is a replica of an antique pocket watch – the result is pretty nice, actually.
Urwerk promises a watch produced with watchmaker Laurent Ferrier as a collaboration piece. Unfortunately for Only Watch, all they had to show at launch was a crude drawing and vague promises. To offer a mere case sketch when everyone else more or less had their work done doesn’t bode well for the organization skills of any of the companies involved. [Update July 12, 2017: While tardy to the party, the Urwerk x Laurent Ferrier watch that was finally announced turns out to be one of the few genuinely new watches for Only Watch 2017. The case is made of an alloy called arpal that is “75% precious metals and resists wear and scratches better than white gold or steel” and is probably at once the most restrained watch with Urwerk’s name on it and the wildest watch with Laurent Ferrier’s name on it. The Urwerk UR5.03 movement incorporates Urwerk’s satellite time-telling system, and the slick case design is attributed to Laurent Ferrier. Though a one-off for Only Watch, of course, it would be very cool to see more like it in a less limited series.]
Finally, the most disappointing watch comes from DeWitt – which is a shame because in past years their Only Watch auction contributions have been so cool. DeWitt merely offers the winner of their watch the chance to get the dial painted in any color they like. That’s nice, but it isn’t a unique offering, nor is this a service that is unavailable to people who just contact DeWitt directly. So this seemed like the least interesting and most off-theme watch of the entire 49 lots.
Listen to more of our take on the Only Watch 2017 charity auction in the video above, and check out the full list of watches including tech specs, additional images, and estimated final bid prices via onlywatch.com.