Only Watch Auction raises $31 million, despite recent controversy

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The Only Watch Auction, held in Geneva, didn’t shatter any world records, but at least it happened.
Luc Pettavino, founder of Only Watch Auction. ONLY WATCH AUCTION

The 10th edition of the Only Auction, which raises funds for Duschene Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), was originally scheduled for November 2023, but had to be postponed due to controversy.

It came under fire on social media by individuals who cast doubt on the financial regularity of the Association Monégasque Contre les Myopathies (AMM), the association behind the auctions.

AMM promptly responded by subjecting itself to a formal audit process, conducted by Christian Boisson from the Grant Thornton firm.

The audit, released last month, certified the financial statements for the last three years and stated that the financial situation presented by the AMM “is true and fair.”

The Patek Philippe 6301A Steel Sonnerie Minute Repeater sold for $17.3 million. ONLY WATCH AUCTION

Today’s auction raised CHF 28,320,000 (about US$31,200,000), around the same as the last auction, in 2021 (it is held every two years), which raised CHF 30-million (about US$33 million).

To date, the 10 editions of Only have raised CHF 128 million (about US$141 million), which is used for research into finding treatments and a cure for DMD. Its founder, Luc Pettavino, started the auction in 2005 after discovering his son, Paul, was diagnosed with the disease.

Rexhep Rexhepi’s steel Chronometre Antimagnétique sold for $2.3 million. ONLY WATCH AUCTION

The top lot among the 47 watches on the block was a Patek Philippe 6301A Steel Sonnerie Minute Repeater, which sold for US$17.3 million.

Second was Rexhep Rexhepi’s steel Chronometre Antimagnétique, which sold for $2.3 million. An F.P. Journe Chronometre Bleu Furtif sold for $2.2 million.

Surprisingly, an unusual (and one-of-a-kind, as are all of the timepieces in the Only auction) Richard Mille watch pendant sold for US$2.6 million. (Prices are approximate, as they are converted from Swiss francs and rounded off).

This Richard Mille watch pendant sold for $2.6 million. ONLY WATCH AUCTION

One of the highlights of the sale for collectors is the selection of unique pieces created by independent watchmakers, whose donations are extra heroic considering they are very small brands, with funds more limited than the larger brands from groups.

Highlights include Petermann Bedat x Auffret’s Chronomètre D’Observatoire, which sold for US$264,000; and Krayon’s Anywhere, with a painted dial inspired by the Belgian painter Théo van Rysselberghe, which sold for US$485,000.

Krayon’s Anywhere, with a painted dial inspired by the Belgian painter Théo van Rysselberghe, sold for $485,000. ONLY WATCH AUCTION

The auction, held by Christie’s (which took no buyers’ premium for its services) was attended by more than 500 collectors, brands, journalists and influencers, and was live-streamed to viewers around the world.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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