Ferg’s 5 favourite Only Watch 2023 lots Ferg’s 5 favourite Only Watch 2023 lots

Ferg’s 5 favourite Only Watch 2023 lots

Fergus Nash

Picking out my favourite references for this year’s Only Watch auctions, I was pretty shocked to realise how much my tastes have changed over the last handful of years. Some of these brands I even used to hate, although I won’t be admitting which ones. Only Watch is the perfect chance for brands to change people’s minds, as they put profitability aside and show off their true creative prowess. Supporting research for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy with 99% of the proceeds, this is either your chance to spend a whole lot of money doing some good and winning a watch, or simply sitting back to stare at the pretty pictures.

Bovet 1822 Orbis Mundi

Bovet 1822 definitely aren’t a brand I would have typically been interested in, however once I did a deep-dive into their history I couldn’t help but fall for their lavish charms. The Orbis Mundi is definitely their flagship model of the resurrected company, featuring an 18k red-gold case inspired by antique pocket watches and the traditional Bovet bow atop the cabochon crown. The world time display replaces the spot typically occupied by Geneva with Monaco — the host city of Only Watch. The background of the dial is rendered in glamorous hot-magenta guilloché, while the skeletonisation at the base also displays a 20-second snapshot of the running seconds. There’s an indicator for the seven-day power reserve on the right-hand side, and of course the display caseback is a wonder to behold. The component that really captured my heart however is actually the alligator strap, dyed in a near-pearlescent bluish purple.

Estimate: CHF 52,000 – 65,000

Louis Vuitton Tambour Einstein Automata

Louis Vuitton’s high-watchmaking efforts have exponentially impressed in recent years, and part of that experimentation has involved animated dials powered by intricate calibers by La Fabrique du Temps. Expanding upon this notion, the Tambour Einstein Automata uses the LV 525 to bring to life one of the world’s most famous photographs of the world’s most famous scientist. Aside from his face laden with monogram flowers, famous equations and a bright red tongue, some fun elements include sculptural hair protruding from the case and an atomic play on the monogram flowers on the caseback. Jumping hours, retrograde minutes and a power reserve indicator just add to this playful and complicated package from Louis Vuitton.

Estimate: CHF 340,000 – 440,000

Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon

Hublot know how to blow away a crowd, and prominent collaborations are a key part of that arsenal. Takashi Murakami has been the mastermind behind some of their most joyful models, especially with the Classic Fusion from 2022’s Watches & Wonders. This MP-15 for Only Watch takes on a similar rainbow aesthetic, but pairs it with the technology of Hublot’s first-ever central tourbillon. Gently rotating beneath a sapphire crystal carved with Takashi Murakami’s smiling flower, the sapphire ‘case’ is covered with 444 gemstones across its petals. The movement isn’t just for display purposes either, with an impressive 150-hour power reserve. Completing the almost ghostly look is a transparent rubber strap and a sapphire crown, as if focus could be drawn to anything other than that smiling flower.

Estimate: CHF 350,000 – 400,000

Chopard L.U.C 1860

Showcasing their progress between now and the original 1997 release, the Chopard L.U.C 1860 is true to form while including some contemporary updates. The unnecessary date display has been removed, the case given a more statuesque appearance, and the guilloché pattern radiates from the Chopard logo. This edition from Only Watch has been given a green dial, but it’s not the same kind of green which has invaded all kinds of catalogues in the last couple of years. Named “Ice Green”, this is a tone which could be compared to mint, sage, or pistachio happily, and the grey strap helps to keep the looks cool and grounded. The case is hewn from their proprietary Lucent Steel with a bright lustre, and the watch is powered by the L.U.C Calibre 96.40-L with a gorgeous 22k gold micro-rotor and 65 hours of power reserve.

Estimate: CHF 25,000 – 35,000

Tiffany & Co. Bird On A Rock

Pendant watches are often overlooked by the watch community as jewellery first and horology second, but you’d be kidding yourself if you believed any luxury watch is anything but jewellery first. Brands like Tiffany & Co. are just less inclined to package their watches in demure cases for the wrist, when they can craft a dazzling display to hang around the neck. The Bird On A Rock was originally designed for Tiffany & Co. in 1965 as a brooch by Jean Schlumberger. Redesigned as a watch for the Only Watch charity auction, the diamond-set bird made out of platinum sits perched on a giant 34ct aquamarine crystal, itself set on top of 461 glittering diamonds that produce a Tiffany-blue static. All of this is surrounded by an 18k yellow gold frame and diamond-set chain, setting my heart ablaze as a lover of yellow gold and colourful stones.

Estimate: CHF 350,000 – 500,000