Commentary on the 2015 Only Watch Charity Auction

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The 6th edition of the Only Watch Charity auction recently concluded on the 7th of November in Geneva, Switzerland.   The total amount raised for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy was CHF 11,268,000, making it the most successful Only Watch Auction.   Here are our thoughts on some of the piece unique watches and their results in no particular order.

Peter Speake Marin offered a Speake Marin Resilience –with an 18k red gold case, hand engraved on the sides in addition to a enamel dial with blued hands and a crown set with a sapphire.  Considering Perrelet’s offering sold for CHF 25,000,  which featured a stainless steel with a PVD coating and a printed dial.  For the quality of the case, the enamel dial & blued hands offered the final hammer price of CHF 32,000 for the Speake Marin was a little low. The watch should have sold for at least CHF 45,000.

The final hammer price was 10% over the CHF 29,000 retail price of a non engraved rose gold Resilience.


The piece unique Speake Marin Resilience for Only Watch 2015

Before the Only Watch Auction we predicted the Voutilainen GMT in stainless steel with a beautiful guilloché, blue and yellow enamel dial combined with a expertly finished movement by the Finnish independent watchmaker would do well  We think the winning bidder got a pretty sweet deal.  Their winning bid of CHF 145,000 went to charity and in exchange they got one beautiful looking timepiece with a fantastic movement, by one of the great current independent watchmakers Kari Voutilainen.

The winning bid was CHF 145,000.   This was 44% over the retail price of CHF 100,475 of a rose gold Voutilainen GMT model.


Voutilainen GMT piece unique with stunning dial for Only Watch 2015

The Richard Mille RM27-02 Rafael Nadal Prototype achieved a price of CHF $650,000.  The RM27-02 sold for under its retail price of US$800,000 & it would have been nice to see the final figure get closer to the CHF 1,000,000 mark considering this is the prototype model worn by Rafael Nadal himself.  We hope the watch gets used by the winning bidder for its intended purpose of playing tennis and other recreational activities and not locked in the safe.

The final price reached was CHF 650,000.  This a 18.75% decrease on the retail price of CHF 800,000 of the production model limited to 50 pieces.


The prototype Richard Mille RM27-02 worn by Rafael Nadal himself

Tudor participated in their first Only Watch Auction and the watch they donated for the auction had tongues wagging when they released the press pictures. Design elements such as the depth rating being printed in red, the gilt dial, the red arrow on the bezel and the straight end links for the bracelet, evoke nostalgia for the vintage Tudor divers of the past.

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay One sold for CHF 375,000.  Is the watch actually worth that amount of money?  If retailed the watch would have been priced in the CHF 2950-3300 range.  As this was a charity auction, the winning bidder didn’t mind overbidding since the proceeds were going to a worthy cause.

The hammer price of CHF 375,000 was 11,438.56% over the retail price of CHF 3,250 for a normal Tudor Black Bay.


The unique Tudor Heritage Black Bay One

We raised an eyebrow at the final price of the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Perpetual Calendar in Titanium with DLC coating, featuring Moser’s “flash” perpetual calendar with the numerals for the date done by the children of employees at Moser.  We felt the hammer price of CHF 45,000 was on the low side considering, how well the watch is made and the ease of use perpetual calendar. We would have liked to have seen it sold for at least CHF 80,000.

The hammer price of CHF 45,000  was 4.26% less than the retail price of CHF 47,000.  The retail price is based on the Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Black Edition model also in titanium.


Moser’s Endeavour Perpetual Calendar featuring date numerals drawn children of Moser employees.

F.P Journe’s Tourbillon Souverain Bleu with tantalum case sold for CHF 550,000.  This Journe model is popular with collectors due to the tourbillon, dead beat seconds and constant force mechanism.

Tantalum is usually reserved for the case of the F.P Journe base model the Chronometre Bleu.

The dial of the Tourbillon Souverain Bleu for Only Watch 2015 is really stunning.  The colour constantly changes depending on the light.  Combine that with the unusual tantalum case and the complicated movement, It is understandable why the watch sold for 3 times the price of a regular white gold production piece.

For a serious collector of Journe pieces, it was an opportunity to obtain a complicated model in an unusual case combination and with a stunning blue dial. It is likely the price was driven up by passionate Journe fans out bidding each other since they knew the money was going to a worthy cause.   One interesting fact is that F.P Journe will be creating another unique blued dialed watch with tantalum case for future Only Watch auctions.

Now a normal Tourbillon Souverain in white gold retails for approximately CHF $121,836.  The final hammer price of CHF 550,000 was  351.43% over the retail price!


F.P Journe Tourbillon Souverain Bleu

We were very glad to see Max Busser’s MB&F Melchior Table Clock sell for CHF 75,000.  Max Busser’s creations for both wristwatches and table clocks are a breath of fresh air in terms of their design and innovation.  The Melchior with red Armour plates tied right was a perfect piece for the charity auction since it takes a person back to their childhood.  Seeing it go for nearly double its estimate for a good cause was very nice to see.

The hammer price achieved was 114.29% over the retail price of the 99 piece limited edition Melchior priced at CHF 35,000.


MB&F Melchior Table Clock

The Ref 5016 Grand Complication in stainless steel from Patek Philippe featuring perpetual calendar, tourbillon and minute repeater was tipped to set a record before the auction. The watch sold for CHF 7,300,000 and yes it set a world record for the most expensive  Patek Phillipe and wristwatch ever sold.  Will it be worn?  It certainly deserves to be worn but most likely it will remain locked up in a safe.


The Patek Philippe Ref 5016 Grand Complication in stainless steel.

A complicated Patek Philippe in stainless steel or titanium will always generate high bids.  For future Only Watch Auctions, we think it would be amazing if the winning bidder “donated” back the watch to the auction just to generate even more money for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  Of course the original winning bidder would still get to keep his/her timepiece.

The last retail price of a white or rose gold Ref 5016 model before it was discontinued was CHF 733662. The winning bid of CHF 7,300,000 was a 895.01% increase!.  Not too shabby at all for stainless steel!

We are happy to see that independent watchmakers timepieces are achieving great prices at auction which is a reflection of the passion they put into making their watches special and the appreciation by collectors for the extra effort.

The Only Watch Charity Auction has proven a great success since its inception and we wish it continued success in helping to raise funds for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.


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