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Only Watch 2021  - Behind the scenes of Only Watch

Only Watch 2021 Behind the scenes of Only Watch

It’s an invisible ecosystem but without it, Only Watch simply wouldn’t exist. WorldTempus meets the dedicated individuals at the heart of its success

We’re a community, something organic. At a given point in time we become one, striving towards the same goal. This is how Luc Pettavino, founder of Only Watch, describes the work going on behind the scenes to deliver each edition of the charity auction, smoothly and professionally. “I’m the one bringing these energies together but I’m just a link in the chain of volunteers. Each person knows what they have to do and does it. There are very few meetings and definitely no room for ego. It’s a reassuring reminder of people’s capacity to join forces for the greater good.

La face cachée d’Only Watch

Luc Pettavino © Only Watch

On the road...with Ferrari

Clearly there is an Only Watch frame of mind: a willingness to donate time and expertise. Not a single penny is invoiced, despite the sometimes colossal investments required. Take Ferrari, for example, where for almost ten years Virginie Compère has handled logistics and transport for all the watches. “Pickup, storage, customs clearance, the entire international roadshow, right down to delivery to the successful bidder, we handle every watch from start to finish,” she says, visibly relishing her role.

Taking bids

Christie’s is another vital link in the chain. Mathieu Ruffat, Associate Watch Specialist at the Geneva branch, describes his function as “liaising between Only Watch and Christie’s”: rather an understatement considering the tremendous amount of work involved. The auction house gives guidance and valuations for each watch, assists with marketing, draws up the catalogue and is present at every stopover on the world tour. Not forgetting the final stages of contacting collectors, arranging viewings and organising the sale itself. Like Ferrari, the auction house makes a huge commitment to the event, over a ten-month period from February to November.


That these watches can go on display is thanks also to Xavier Dietlin. A familiar and highly respected name in watchmaking circles, his showcases are chosen by a constellation of brands from the most extravagant to the most sedate. “The brief for Only Watch is that everyone should be on an equal footing,” he explains. Hence timepieces from ArtyA, Patek Philippe, Bovet, Bell & Ross, Krayon, Urwerk, Richard Mille and the rest of the fifty-plus brands taking part will be identically presented. “We rebuild virtually all the cases for each edition. We’ve accompanied Luc on four Only Watch, so that’s eight years. He’s not someone you want to say no to!

Making headlines

Luc Pettavino’s generosity and spirit are also one of the motivations for Marine Lemonnier, founder of 289 Consulting, one of the sector’s most influential PR consultancies with particular expertise in television coverage. “I accompanied Mr Jean-Claude Biver over many years in his various positions, and he was already an unconditional supporter of Only Watch. Luc is right. We form a community who know and understand each other, who respect the brands and collectors. We share the same mindset. 289 Consulting handles all communication for the event across all channels. Only Watch is a wonderfully generous enterprise guided by true vision, with discipline, serenity and caring.

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