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Only Watch - The WorldTempus Selections: Only Watch 2021

Only Watch The WorldTempus Selections: Only Watch 2021

Our first hand-picked collection features watches from this year’s edition of the biennial charity auction

Only Watch comes around only once every two years, and its promise of unique timepieces created especially for the auction, with proceeds going towards charity, has undeniable allure for the world of philanthropic watch lovers.

The watches of Only Watch 2021 are currently in Monaco, the first stop of their world tour. They will finish up in Geneva to be auctioned on 6 November by Christie’s. While it doesn’t usually happen that two or more lots end up with the same buyer, we’re indulging in a little thought experiment, pulling from the 53 watches on offer to fill our template of five essential watch styles to start a collection.

Classic: Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Bicompax Annual Only Watch

Just because a watch is classically styled doesn’t mean its performance has to be stuck in the past. The Heritage Bicompax Annual Only Watch from Lucerne-based Carl F. Bucherer may have the good looks of a watch from a previous era, but the automatic-winding chronograph calibre with annual calendar and large date display is a modern manufacture movement with 42 hours of power reserve. Despite popular assumption, the big date and annual calendar are not traditional complications — they were fairly recent innovations. If, like us, your definition of classic is a blend of tradition and modernity, elegance and simplicity in a timeless design, then the Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Bicompax Annual Only Watch is for you.

The WorldTempus Selections: Only Watch 2021

Heritage Bicompax Annual Only Watch © Carl F. Bucherer

Modern: Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force Only Watch

We once spoke to Claude Greisler, chief technical driver of Bienne-based Armin Strom, about the philosophy of Swiss-German watchmaking. Key to this philosophy were pragmatism, a forward-looking perspective, and an engineer’s approach. You see every bit of this approach in the Gravity Equal Force — the open, industrial construction with matte finishes, the openworked hands and case lugs resembling the precision measuring arms of callipers or compasses, the subtle dial guillochage. The colour theme of Only Watch 2021 is a gradient of sunny hues, and the bright orange used on the bridges and hands brings a little pop of optimism to an otherwise serious and technical watch.

The WorldTempus Selections: Only Watch 2021

Gravity Equal Force Only Watch © Armin Strom

Retro/Vintage: Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms “No Rad” Only Watch

Opinions and interpretations vary across the board when it comes to the retro/vintage category, but the general consensus is that vintage watches were made in a particular era, while retro watches are modern creations that emulate the designs of said era. Narrowing down the actual timeframe to specific years can be a little more tricky; I’ve been party to some (intensely boring) conversations with vintage enthusiasts about which years actually constitute the vintage era. Are the 1930s watches part of the vintage era or are they more properly considered antiques? What about watches from the 1980s? Happily, we’re comfortably in the safe zone when it comes to the 1960s, which is that decade that the Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms “No Rad” Only Watch is referencing. Hitting all the nostalgia cues with collectors and history geeks, this unique piece is a particularly well-done execution of retro watchmaking.

The WorldTempus Selections: Only Watch 2021

Tribute to Fifty Fathoms © Blancpain

Formal: Charles Girardier 1809 Tribute to Jackson Pollock

The formal watch in your collection is the one you pull out of the safe when you have fancy galas and art benefits to attend. Lucky then that the Charles Girardier 1809 Tribute to Jackson Pollock Fusion Enamel Grand Feu goes perfectly with the theme. Its mottled blue dial is speckled with gold paillons, inspired by the swirls and splashes of paint associated with the work of Jackson Pollock, the abstract expressionist American painter. An artisanal dial, a rose-gold case, a personalised spinning monogram at 12 o’clock, a whirling tourbillon at 6 o’clock — this is a watch that’s ready for the red carpet.

Sélection WorldTempus : Only Watch 2021

Tribute to Jackson Pollock for Only Watch © Charles Girardier

Sports: Maurice Lacroix Aikon Master Grand Date Only Watch 2021

There’s no denying the energy that this watch brings. Not only is it clad dial to strap in high-energy orange, its case is a combination of carbon fibre used in a Formula E race car and black DLC steel. Hours and minutes are indicated on the main subdial, with a skeletonised small seconds subdial just below. The double-aperture big date uses yellow digits on a black background for maximum contrast and impact, and a further dose of dynamism is provided by the exposed balance and escapement. The 47mm carbon fibre case is taken from a Mahindra Racing car — look closely enough and you might still be able to detect traces of high-octane action from the racetrack.

The WorldTempus Selections: Only Watch 2021

Aikon Master Grand Date Only Watch 2021 © Maurice Lacroix

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The ARMIN STROM manufacture expresses the very substance of its founder’s legacy. Its guiding principle is that of reinterpreting watchmaking tradition. To this end, it applies the principle of...

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Blancpain is the archetypal Manufacture: with a watchmaking heritage dating back several centuries, it has successfully preserved its watchmaking tradition, whilst welcoming a spirit of innovation.

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