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Gather together a group of watch aficionados, and it’s inevitable that they’ll be comparing each other’s timepieces within minutes.
A watch-as-conversation-piece is part of the fun of Only Watch, the biennial auction of one-off timepieces. Roughly 50 brands, from major names like Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe to more esoteric, independent watchmakers, participate in Only Watch, with all donated pieces auctioned for charity. Since the event kicked off in 2005, Only Watch has raised more than 25 million euros for the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies, which funds scientific and medical research for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Through Thursday at Westime’s Sunset Boulevard location, 40 Only Watch 2017 timepieces are wrapping up a world tour before heading to Geneva for the Nov. 11 auction at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. Accompanying the watches is Fred Watrelot, senior vice president and watches specialist for Christie’s, which for the first time is overseeing the auction duties. “It’s amazing that all of these brands are willing to gift such a beautiful watch for this charity,” he says. “Of course there is also a marketing aspect for them. While they’re contributing, each brand is also creating a little buzz with a special piece that perhaps isn’t the model you would find in a magazine. Some pieces are absolutely unique, and we’ve never seen anything like them, while others are a special edition of an existing model.” Many winning bidders also will enjoy the bonus of a customized experience, from a visit to a watchmaker’s workshops to private lunches or dinners with a brand president.
We asked Watrelot to select a variety of timepieces from the Only Watch 2017 collection and offer his thoughts on what makes each a worthy entry.
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