From the Rolex “Paul Newman” to the charity auction Only Watch : Watchmaking records at the service of a just cause !

 In The expert’s eye

At the end of the year, altruism wins auctions around a succession of first-rate charitable events. From the Rolex Paul Newman, sold at a record price last Thursday 26 October in New York at Phillips, at the Only Watch sale to be held by Christie’s on November 11 in Geneva, these prestigious auctions have one thing in common: putting records in the service of the charity. If the record price of the Rolex Paul Newman has been much in the news, and has generated a great number of superlatives, we must especially salute the primary purpose of the gesture: serve a just cause. Part of the proceeds from this record auction will be donated to Paul Newman’s eponymous foundation. In the same spirit of generosity will be held in a few days the charitable sale Only Watch charitable event reference to support the fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy. These auctions, with remarkable and well noticed results, take on a whole new meaning through the generosity of their bidders around the world. These successive records, which have made the eyes of watchmakers so bright, are now able to shine hearts too.

Tribute to philanthropy by Paul Newman

The Rolex “Paul Newman” that belonged to the actor was sold last Thursday in New York for a whopping $ 17.8 million, which makes it the new world record for a wristwatch at auction. The watch was sold as part of the prestigious “Winning Icons” sale, organized by Phillips, which brought in a total of $ 28.8 million.

A mythical model

This Rolex Daytona, specifically designed for motorsports, was offered to the American actor in 1969 by his wife Joanne Woodward, at the time when he was shooting “Winning”, a film by James Goldstone where he played the car racer Frank Capua. The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona model reference 6239, mythical watch with its black dial and three white registers, is nicknamed the “Paul Newman”. It was in 1963 on the American market that this ultra-precise chronograph won the name of Daytona, the Rolex brand being appointed a year before the official timekeeper of the 500 Miles of Daytona. In the 80’s, this specific variant with “exotic dial” worn by Paul Newman began to be nicknamed Daytona “Paul Newman”, an actor whose personal journey is inextricably linked to this watch, even in his personal life since he will run his own racing team.

A life at the service of charity

A portion of the profits from the sale will be donated to the Nell Newman Foundation, created in 2010 by the daughter of Paul Newman to perpetuate the immense charitable work of his father. Always discreet, Paul Newman was indeed one of the most generous philanthropists in the United States until his death in 2008. He felt spoiled by life and worked tirelessly to redistribute, serving the causes that he was particularly close to heart. Alongside his acting career, he devoted his life to charity, organizing camps for sick children and helping financially centers for people in difficulty. Particularly, he created a brand of food products whose profits are still, today, entirely donated to charity organizations for children. Paul Newman and his food company have, to date, donated more than $ 250 million to charitable organizations. Last year, $ 28 million was distributed to charitable cause, including the Safe Water Network, created by the actor to provide drinking water to poor villages in India and Africa.

Only Watch, the watchmaking charity event

Having become a benchmark watchmaking charity event in its biennial sessions since 2003, Only Watch has successfully put the generosity of the watch brands to its best. Most manufacturers are willing to expose themselves to the auction game to support the cause of the fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A sale organized every two years, under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco, whose 7th edition will take place in Geneva on November 11 in the salons of the Hotel des Bergues under the hammer of Christie’s.

The 2017 session is again under the sign of quality for all pieces and richness of catalog, since Only Watch 2017 brings together 52 watches for 50 lots signed by the greatest watchmakers or manufacturers. All brands sought have real value on the market, whether historical, artisanal or qualitative. For the first time, one of the two auction giants, Christie’s, under the leadership of it international director John Reardon, takes up the challenge with an impressive World Exhibition Tour. All 47 watches making a world tour, presented through exhibitions: Monaco, Bangkok, Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Taipei, New York, Los Angeles and finally Geneva.

For Luc Pettavino, hope is at hand

Since its debut in 2005, the Only Watch charity sale has raised more than 25 million euros for research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Its founder Luc Pettavino, President of the Monegasque Association Against Myopathies and organizer of Only Watch, explains his totally altruistic approach: “We support basic research and applied research, trying to bring therapeutic projects as far as possible to the medicine”. And to be pleased with the progress of research in this area, thanks to the donations collected through its association and thanks to Only Watch: “Preclinical research is progressing more and more rapidly towards human therapeutic trials; there is a lot of hope now to find treatments.”

Our selection from Only Watch :
Tradition : LOT 4 – VOUTILAINEN

After the remarkable results of independent watchmakers in early season auctions, this watch again illustrates the excellent dynamics of independent watch brands and reveals the quintessence of independent watchmaking.

Lot 4 of the Only Watch sale is the VOUTILAINEN 28S, made of titanium, an exceptional piece equipped with a rare spiral system. This model is the first watch to feature two exhaust wheels in this configuration, a highly efficient system that requires less energy than traditional lever escapements, giving the watch a significant gain in longevity and stability. The wearer of the watch will be amazed by observing the synchronized movements and the escapement wheels.

Innovation : LOT 9 – RESSENCE

The designer of this watch, which has imposed its models on the market for independent watchmakers, is not Swiss, but Belgian. Lot 9 of the sale, a creation from the brand RESSENCE presented in collaboration with HODINKEE is a unique TYPE 12 with an open dial and a sintered case. This watch is a very particular innovation since it integrates, for the first time in the history of Haute Horlogerie, the sintering technique on the different layers of the case. Sintering is a process of compacting and forming a solid mass by laser heat. Green clues, symbol of hope for the fight against the disease. This watch was custom designed for the Only Watch sale and symbolizes DMD research; green clues, thus the symbols of hope in the fight against the disease, have been added to the numbering indexes.

Excellence : LOT 12 – PATEK PHILIPPE

Patek Philippe holds all the records of Only Watch since its first edition in 2003. A record-breaking brand, the brand has been shining brilliantly and generously in the heat of the auction since the first edition of Only Watch in 2003. In 2015, the reference Patek Philippe’s 5016A became the most expensive wristwatch ever during the Only Watch sale, sold in Geneva at Phillips for 7’300’000 CHF, more than ten times its low estimate. Great news for the charity fundraiser.

For this 2017 edition, Patek Philippe offers a rare wristwatch reference 5208 Grande Complication created specifically for Only Watch 2017. Consisting of 719 hand-finished pieces in the respect of the watchmaking tradition of Geneva, lot 12 of the sale highlights Patek Philippe’s mastery in the field of highly complicated watches.

This is one of the few ultra-complicated watches with a self-winding mechanism. It is the first and only version of this timepiece ever produced in titanium, a metal rarely used at Patek Philippe. This unique piece features a blue dial adorned with a hand-engraved carbon fiber pattern, highlighting the role of the Manufacture as a protector of rare artisanal objects.

The manufacture, anxious to serve the cause of Only Watch, will also offer two privileged guests the visit of the workshops and the museum, followed by a private lunch with Thierry Stern, president of Patek-Philippe. Great generosity to serve a noble cause.

Entrereneurship : LOT 35 – CZAPEK

Its founder Xavier de Rocquemaurel, a man of passion, wanted to revive in 2015 one of the most prestigious names in watchmaking in Geneva: François Czapeck, a Polish watchmaker who fled to Geneva in 1832, who was indeed the first partner of Patek. In 1845 he went on his own and created Czapek & Cie and achieved considerable success. He will become the official watchmaker of Napoleon III. Inspired by a Czapek watch from the 1850s, the flagship model of the first Czapek & Cie collection immediately won the Public Prize at Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève in November 2016. In 2017, Czapek & Cie created a piece unique for Only Watch with a very special dial. A really talented entrepreneur serving a noble cause.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all those men and women of the Swiss watch industry who have put their talents at the service of a noble cause. There is no better reward than giving your time or your money, to give back what you receive every day in the passion of making the most beautiful watches in the world.

One regret which is not to see appear on the list of watchmakers, the name of the brand to the crown, Rolex, which should be part of this selection Only Watch for the next edition, probably a dream that will become reality with recent events of the Rolex “Paul Nemwan”.

Philanthropy being the philosophical stone at Rolex headquarters through the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, named after its founder. We hope to see together the two giants for the “noble cause” Rolex and Patek Philippe in the next edition of Only Watch 2019.

A big thank you to Luc Pattevino for his energy, passion and enthusiasm that made this event the most important watch charity auction ever created.


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