Only Watch 2024: the Time+Tide team shares their favourite lots Only Watch 2024: the Time+Tide team shares their favourite lots

Only Watch 2024: the Time+Tide team shares their favourite lots


Editor’s note: There has been plenty to say about this (or last) year’s instalment of the Only Watch auction. While the biannual charity sale always brings a lot of heat in terms of the one-off special edition models that are launched, this time however conversations went a little broader with a close examination of the charity’s financials taking place very much in the public eye. But we’re not here to continue that discussion. Instead, we want to draw your attention to some of our favourite lots from the brands that have kept their lots in this year’s auction. With a wide variety as always, it’s been a hard job to limit ourselves to just one pick each. But we tried our best, and as always we’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to seeing cross the block on May 10th, and if you’ll be watching along live. 

Zach’s pick – TAG Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds

tag heuer monaco split seconds only watch wrist

TAG Heuer is known for its racing watch icons like the Monaco and Carrera but is not widely recognised for its complications. Yes, they have made strides on the tourbillon front, with innovative materials used for the mechanism and housed in watches that are proportionally much less expensive than other tourbillons from big names. But while they do not explore complications often, they certainly have the know-how to do so. So I was super glad to see this Monaco Split-Seconds for Only Watch that marks the first-ever split-seconds chronograph movement from TAG Heuer.

tag heuer monaco split seconds only watch movement

With the “AG” in TAG standing for avant-garde, I love it when TAG Heuer looks to push the boundaries of its designs. I also like how on-theme the complication is for a Monaco as well, it is not a forced pairing. As a racing watch, it makes sense to offer a Monaco with a split-seconds chronograph complication that can better aid in timing laps. Split-seconds chronographs are among the hardest calibres to develop, and it was great to find out at this year’s Watches & Wonders that the brand teamed up with Vaucher to make this incredibly complex TH81-00 calibre.

tag heuer monaco split seconds only watch

Of course, we now know that this movement has made it to standard production, and instead of a set limited production, it is just limited by how many the brand can physically produce. But the “texturised titanium” that makes up this case is a new material specifically crafted in the TAG Heuer Institute for the project, and looks brilliant. Estimate: CHF 150,000 – 300,000

Buffy’s pick – Bovet Orbis Mundi Only Watch

Bovet 1822 definitely isn’t a brand I would have typically been interested in – however, once I did a deep dive into its history, I couldn’t help but fall for its lavish charms. The Orbis Mundi is definitely the 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.

Only Watch Bovet Orbis Mundi soldiers

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

Borna’s pick – Petermann Bédat x Auffret Paris Chronomètre d’Observatoire

auffret petermann bedat chronometre dobservatoire

The collaborative effort between Gaël Petermann, Florian Bédat and Theo Auffret takes a Zenith 135 observatory chronometer base and outfits it with signature elements of both makers. Only the gear train of the original calibre remains, with stunning charbonné decoration of the plates and the unique, Auffret shape of the click and ratchet wheel show off that the two distinct house styles pair very well. The dial is hewn of a pure silver blank, fully engraved and whitened using the old Breguet technique, according to Auffret, before having gold markers applied. And you know I love a sector dial.

auffret petermann bedat chronometre dobservatoire movement caseback

As you may expect from these three musketeers, the movement is the most impressive portion of the watch. The simple calibre is well-known for decimating competition at chronometry trials in the ’40s and ’50s, recognisable by its oversized balance wheel. The Petermann, Bédat, and Auffret take has mile-wide anglage, and a variety of finishing techniques, including sumptuous black polishing. Interestingly, though, there are no arrow-tail ends of levers that have become a signature of Petermann Bédat, though I guess it would’ve been a tad more difficult to integrate into the 135 when compared to their other efforts. Estimate: CHF 50,000 – 100,000

D.C.’s pick – ArtyA Purity Moissanite

A left-field pick from me, because I don’t normally gravitate toward bling, but damn, this is a pretty substantive expression of craftsmanship. The ArtyA Purity Moissanite has broken new ground with its use of the second hardest material known to man, Moissanite, which comes in just below a diamond’s hardness at 9.5 Mohs. In fact, the material is so difficult to machine, it’s never been used in watchmaking before. The faceting on the case is mind-bendingly intricate, with 600 cuts lending an incredible brilliance that sends all the colours of the rainbow scattering.


I’m all about experimenting with new case materials, and it’s hard to argue with the stunning results. Thankfully, the almost Spartan movement within lets the case take the spotlight, but trust me, it’s a masterclass in elegant understatement, with cast iron-blasted bridges and hand-finished bevels. In this instance, less is more, letting the “more” of the jaw-dropping diamond-like case do all the talking. Estimate: CHF 40,000 – 50,000

Jamie’s pick – Patek Philippe ref. 6301A-010

patek philippe 6301A 010 only watch

Patek Philippe is an interesting case. The ‘Holy Trinity’ brand initially lagged behind the other participants in Only Watch 2023 in revealing their watch. Instead, they revealed that they would be producing a 30-piece limited edition to celebrate honourary president Philippe Stern’s 85th birthday that would feature “an entirely new movement” featuring Stern’s favourite grand complication, explaining that “this movement, designed and produced exclusively for this tribute watch, will never be used again”. The first piece from this limited edition would be produced with a unique Only Watch design, representing their entry to the charity auction.

However, with the postponement of Only Watch 2023 to 2024, Patek decided to scrap that plan and opted to go ahead and simply release that watch serially – since revealed as the ref. 1938P – without any connection to Only Watch. Instead, they’ve offered up a completely different timepiece for Only Watch 2024, the ref. 6301A-010, a unique version of the Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater in stainless steel.

ref 1938P
The Patek Philippe ref. 1938P.

Personally, I’m very glad Patek did this. While I certainly don’t want to denigrate Philippe Stern’s legacy and recognise how cool it is that Patek came up with a wholly new calibre just for the ref. 1938P, I really don’t like the portrait of Philippe Stern on its dial. It’s a touching tribute from current Patek president Thierry Stern to his father, sure, but to most people, it’s just some random old dude on the dial. The ref. 6301A-010’s glorious swirling hand-guillochéd dial topped with Grand Feu blue-green enamel is much more to my tastes.

patek philippe 6301A 010 only watch front and back

Seriously, what a dial. It’s utterly exquisite, as is the tasteful symmetry of its dial, with power reserve indicators for the movement and strikework at 9 and 3 o’clock respective, and a small deadbeat seconds indicator at 6 o’clock rounding it all off. I also like the elegant integration of its petite sonnerie and silence buttons between the lugs at 6 o’clock. I even like the baguette-cut diamond indices, even though bling isn’t really my thing. Its manual-winding calibre Caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM is a gem, too, with an impressive 72-hour power reserve (24 hours for the strikework).

patek philippe 6301A 010 only watch buttons

The best bit? It’s steel, which is a rare metal for Patek. Steel is also an ideal material for a minute repeater, as denser materials like platinum or gold can deaden the sound of its chimes. All in all, I think the ref. 6301A-010 is a compelling mix of traditional Patek Philippe watchmaking with a hint of contemporary pizazz. I also predict this will be the most expensive lot of them all. Estimate: CHF 1,500,000 – 1,800,000

Russell’s pick – F.P. Journe Chronomètre Furtif Bleu Only Watch

fp journe chronometre bleu furtif

As we have seen with the previous nine iterations of this auction, the models that are released often make it into standard production, which is part of the fun of the whole event, is trying to guess how a certain watch might look once it reaches the catalogue. And for me, no watch generates more of that excitement more than the F.P. Journe Chronomètre Furtif Blu. It brings some of the best and most unexpected elements of the Journe manufacture together in one piece, and it almost feels like if it went into general sale as is, would quickly overtake the Chronomètre Blue and Élégante models as the brand’s biggest sellers.

To start with, the dial is a full mash up of the lineSport and Chronomètre Blu collections, with the reflective azure shade that has lured so many into the Chronomètre Blu with the layout of the lineSport in a light shadow over the dial base, allowing the colour to really shine through while the numerals can only be read at certain angles and light levels. We also have the case and bracelet architecture carried over from Journe’s sports watch family, but this time it is executed in tantalum. Which is actually a world first of a full case and bracelet case in the incredibly tough material. The last time we saw a watch with something close to this level of tantalum in the case and bracelet was Audemars Piguet, who produced a limited number of Royal Oaks in the 90s in a mix of tantalum and other metals.

fp journe chronometre bleu furtif movement

Finally we come to the movement, true to the name Furtif, which translates to stealth, the complications are found on the back of the watch. With a power reserve and moon phase on the reverse, the tone-on-tone nature of the dial remains completely uninterrupted.  The cal. 1522 is a completely new movement for Journe, and while it may appear relatively simple, it marks a surprising first for the Maison, as it features its first ever central seconds hand. Made entirely from 18k rose gold, as all Journe mechanical movements have been for over 20 years, its an incredibly attractive movement to look at, but we would expect nothing less of the independent at this point.

Will this replace the Chronomètre Blu entirely? I don’t know, and I almost don’t want it to, because I think it adds an incredible second option to the family that expands it without adding complications or a simple cosmetic change. And maybe it will take some pressure of the Chronomètre Blu orders long enough for me to put my name down. Estimate: CHF 200,000 – 400,000