The craziest watches going on sale at Only Watch 2019

Includes butterfly wings, meteorites, selfies and a snake

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Only Watch 2019

We've written about the interesting entries from the likes of Tudor, Voutilainen and MB&F. We've been through the list with our own imaginary credit card, picking out the watches we'd most like to walk away with. But Only Watch is always, to a certain extent, about the watches that embrace the flamboyant, effervescent and extrovert side of watchmaking. So, shrinking violets be damned, here are the maddest watches from this year's auction.

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Only Watch 2019
Andersen Geneve Montre a Tact

Straight off the bat we're looking at a watch with no hands whatsoever. Nearly everything Andersen Geneve makes is technically a one-off, as the few dozen watches produced by the atelier are all customised to a degree. But this is something else: by shifting the timekeeping indications to the caseband (you can just about see it between the lugs), Andersen Geneve has made space on the 42mm dial for an enamel painting of Lake Geneva. It's not actually a genuine 'montre a tact'; a watch that you could read by touch, but it's close enough.

Estimate: CHF 50,000-55,000

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Only Watch 2019
ArtyA Son of Earth Precious Butterfly

It's not the first time we've seen a dial decorated with the wing of an actual butterfly (Harry Winston made a whole series of them in 2014, among others) but there is still something utterly ridiculous and extravagant about both the technique and the end result. ArtyA's dial is created by Dominique Arpa-Cirpka, wife of watchmaker Yvan Arpa.

Estimate: CHF 15,000-35,000

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Only Watch 2019
Ateliers de Monaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297

We had been wondering what would become of Ateliers de Monaco after Citizen Group's acquisition of Frederique Constant, Alpina and AdM. Now it emerges that master watchmaker Pim Koeslag has been made CEO of the brand, and clearly knows the meaning of the phrase "no holding back": this high-precision tourbillon cased in forged carbon interlaced with 18k gold is, well, the kind of thing we would expect to see in Monaco for certain.

Estimate: CHF 50,000-70,000

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Only Watch 2019
Bovet Recital 23 "Hope"
Bovet was always going to deliver a highly artistic piece for Only Watch, and the Recital 23 "Hope" (named in tribute to those who will be helped by its sale) is certainly that. Sitting squarely at the overlap on the Venn diagram between fans of haute horlogerie and Disney movies, it features an enamelled painting of a fairy atop an aventurine sky dial, with two hands that, in what we believe is a horological first, are shaped such that when they meet once an hour, they form the outline of a heart. Above the main dial is a large, finely decorated moonphase indicator.

Estimate: TBC.

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Only Watch 2019
Christophe Claret Maestro Corail
The Christophe Claret Maestro contains a clever double-stacked conical date display at five o'clock, and a simple mechanical reminder system - the Memo - between 3 and 4, in the form of an orange sapphire that disappears when you press the pusher at 2 o'clock to signify you've completed your task. But let's be honest, the thing we're all going to be looking at here is the decorative coral snake that has wormed its way throughout the movement in shocking blue and orange. Fun fact: coral snakes are some of the most powerfully venomous in the world.

Estimate: CHF 86,000-106,000

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Only Watch 2019
De Witt Academia Slide
As you can probably infer from the picture opposite, the Academia Slide's party trick is to have each of its hour indicators mounted on a small radial sliding mechanism, enabling the relevant one to move into the centre. The two hands are for the minutes and seconds. Given the Only Watch light blue colour scheme, paired with some relatively subtle red accents on the minute hand and dial, it manages to be high-concept and accessible at the same time.

Estimate: CHF 60,000-80,000

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Only Watch 2019
Frederique Constant Meteorite Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture

I know. Finding a Frederique Constant on a list of "craziest watches" is a bit like running into your grandmother at an Iron Maiden concert. And yes, everyone has a different definition of crazy - this watch doesn't do anything weird, or look particularly avant-garde, but for FC to embrace meteorite (and with a pretty cool blue treatment) as well as openworked dials on its in-house perpetual calendar, well, that counts as letting your hair down in Plan-les-Ouates.

Estimate: CHF 32,000-36,000

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Only Watch 2019
Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Sapphire Orlinski
I nearly didn't include this watch on my list; in total contrast to Frederique Constant, being 'out there' is Hublot's bread-and-butter. But then I thought, what world are we living in where a fully sapphire-cased, gem-set, baby-blue skeletonised tourbillon styled by street-art sculptor Richard Orlinski and set to sell for six figures doesn't count as even a little bit crazy?

Estimate: CHF 160,000-180,000

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Only Watch 2019
Jacob & Co Epic X Chrono Messi "Only Watch" Special Edition

Jacob & Co exists entirely in a world of superlatives, so it is unremarkable that the "Epic" X Chrono should be bigger (47mm), bolder, more angular and more bejewelled than any other watch in the 50-strong auction. What is worthy of note is that along with the sale of this watch, Jacob & Co is putting up a meet-and-greet with Lionel Messi himself. In their words: "the winning bidder will meet Lionel Messi in person, having the opportunity to take pictures with this football legend, having him sign some things and pose for an official portrait ... while both are wearing their Epic X Chronograph “Messi” watches."

Estimate: CHF 70,000-100,000

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Only Watch 2019
Konstantin Chaykin Joker Selfie
Konstantin Chaykin's Joker was already one of the maddest watches on the planet; now, he has tweaked it some more. The eyes have been remodelled based on Chakyin's own eyes, hence the "selfie" name. The right eye has been constructed such that if you turn the watch horizontally it will appear to close. At 12 o'clock is an "emoji indicator", with a different emoji for every day of the week - another horological first - and if you turn the watch vertically, this will disappear. No, we're not sure why either. Still, given that the man recently made a watch capable of keeping time on Mars, this is practically straightforward.

Estimate: CHF 18,000-24,000
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Only Watch 2019
RJ Arraw 6919

RJ - the watchmaker formerly known as Romain Jerome - has made a rather unusual version of its unpronounceable Arraw. Commemorating the Apollo 11 moon landings (a job we can't help feeling should be left to Omega) it features an acrylic bezel and a tiny representation of the CSM (command and support module) from the Apollo 11 craft at the centre of the dial. Almost by-the-by, from the listing, is the fact that this watch apparently contains RJ's first ever in-house movement.

Estimate: CHF 19,900-21,900

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