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.
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
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
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
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
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
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