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Geneva auction raises more than €9.2m for ONLY WATCH

Geneva auction raises more than €9.2m for ONLY WATCH

By Nancy Heslin - November 17, 2017

ONLY WATCH founder Luc Pettavino (centre) with Prince Albert on November 11, 2017. Photo; Facebook Only Watch
ONLY WATCH founder Luc Pettavino (centre) with Prince Albert on November 11, 2017. Photo; Facebook Only Watch

Christie’s in Geneva was the stage for ONLY WATCH 2017, the biennial charity auction where watchmakers donate unique timepieces, giving collectors and connoisseurs the opportunity to own a truly one-of-a-kind watch with all the proceeds going towards finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

The 7th edition of ONLY WATCH on Saturday, November 11, raised €9,289,434 (CHF 10,776,500), which will be donated to Monaco’s Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies in support of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research.

Yet amongst the excitement and enthusiastic bidding, this year’s charity was marked by the absence of Paul Pettavino, son of ONLY WATCH founder and President of L’Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies, Luc Pettavino.

Paul, who suffered from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy died on November 12, 2016, a loss that for any family would be insufferable except that Paul was not an ordinary young man. Described by friends as “serene”, “radiant”, and “extremely kind”, he went out of his way to help others. He also participated in ONLY WATCH, working with Louis Vuitton over the years to design unique pieces to auction, and at a remembrance service held at the Cathedral in Monaco, it was standing room only.

Since the auction’s first edition in 2005, and under the High Patronage of HSH Prince Albert, Only Watch has raised over €34 million and has financed numerous scientific and medical research programmes.

Prince Albert, who was at the event, thanked the “bidders, watchmakers, partners, participants: from the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much” and said, “With money raised together with Only Watch in the past decade, we have changed the face of research on this matter. […] We are getting closer to changing the lives of millions of boys around the world.”

Luc Pettavino commented, “We have won many battles together. The battle of altruism and empathy in amongst all of us: brands, partners, donors. The battle of beauty and research of excellence. The battle of awareness for research on Duchenne muscular Dystrophy with the largest media buzz ever. Now, let’s continue pushing hard, as we do need to win the battle to cure this disease.”

In Geneva on Saturday, all watches did well, but some did a bit better than others.

The Patek Philippe 5208T-010 ended up being the topic of a bidding war between two Asian bidders and was eventually sold for €5,335,326 (CHF 6,200,000), nearly six times its high estimate. This timepiece combines an instantaneous perpetual calendar, with a chronograph and a minute repeater and its case is crafted from titanium, which is a material very rarely used by Patek Philippe, making the watch all the more rare.


Tudor set a world record for most the most expensive watch of this brand ever sold at auction, as its unique Black Bay Bronze sold for €301,200 (CHF 350,000), while the watch had a high estimate of only €4,732 (CHF 5,500). With this, it takes the place of the former record holder, which was auctioned at the 2015 edition of ONLY WATCH.

Against a high estimate of €34,4214 (CHF 400,000), the FP Journe Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante Bleu sold very well, reaching a final bid of €989,616 (CHF 1,150,000). Especially developed for the ONLY WATCH auction, this watch features a new monopusher rattrapante chronograph calibre, fitted in a 44mm tantalum case, and topped off with a stunning blue chrome dial.

The unique Hublot Big Bang UNICO Sapphire Usain Bolt, also nearly doubled its high estimate and was sold for €129,080 (CHF 150,000). The proud new owner will not only receive this very special sapphire-encased Big Bang, but will also meet the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt himself, as part of making the winning bid.

John Reardon, International Head of Christie’s Watch Department, stated, “As the auction partner for Only Watch 2017 it has been a pleasure and honour to be part of this important initiative. The final result has reached beyond our expectations and we congratulate Luc Pettavino and the entire Only Watch family for such a success and like to express our thanks to all the partners who have supported Only Watch.”

All lots combined brought in two and a half times more than the highest estimates. Even better is that the cost of the auction is only one percent, making 99 percent of the total amount available for the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Prince Albert also commented before the auction, “We might not all be researchers but I think we all have collectively the power to change things for generations to come.”

It is through this goodwill that Paul Pettavino’s name will live on.


Paul Pettavino: you are missed, my friend

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