Laurent Ferrier x Urwerk Arpal One For Only Watch 2017: The Past, Present, And Future Of Horology In One Unique Watch (First Live Photos)
by Ian Skellern
Since its launch in 2005, Only Watch has been one of the most – if not the most – significant auctions in the watch world. A biennial charity auction founded by Luc Pettavino, Only Watch is organized by the Monegasque Association Against Muscular Dystrophy (MAAMD) under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Brands donate unique timepieces to be auctioned; with the proceeds used to help finance research against Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a debilitating and life-threatening genetic disorder that affects around one in 3,500 boys, including Pettavino’s son, who died of the disease in November 2016.
The Laurent Ferrier x Urwerk Arpal One is one of the 50 timepieces in this year’s edition of the Only Watch auction, which will be conducted by Christie’s in Geneva on November 11, 2017.
There are 50 unique timepieces being auctioned at Only Watch 2017 (OW17), each exceptional in some way. But three of these timepieces, which interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, are all collaborations, stand out as being more unique than the rest in that they are not simply unique variations of existing watches but the culmination of completely one-off projects from the ground up:
3. Laurent Ferrier x Urwerk Arpal One
What really makes this Laurent Ferrier x Urwerk Arpal One (named for the Arpal+ case alloy) so special to me isn’t the interesting wandering hour satellite indication (Urwerk), or sensually curved form case (Laurent Ferrier), but the fact that this incongruous partnership was able to make such a flawlessly coherent and utterly distinctive watch in the first place.
Urwerk is one of the earliest pioneers of and a leader in the contemporary watch movement − Felix Baumgartner is a third-generation watchmaker who has always made it clear that he had no interest in merely replicating horological complications and indications of the past − while Laurent Ferrier makes superlative timepieces that are as traditional as they come.
But in physics as in life, opposites attract. And as mutual respect grew, and as the idea of developing something together was cultivated, Only Watch became the obvious platform.
Urwerk developed the movement, which is based on the Caliber UR-501 used in the UR-105, with unique finishing and plates over the orbiting satellite complication.
Not only is Urwerk known for Baumgartner’s wild, avant-garde complications and indications – who else would even consider, let alone develop, dual-air turbine automatic winding regulation? – but also Urwerk designer Martin Frei’s case shapes, which are truly out of this world.
When you think of Urwerk timepieces, you think “wild” and “exciting,” and those are not adjectives usually used to describe Laurent Ferrier’s much more traditional complications and case designs.
Arpal One is Arpal+
It’s absolutely mind blowing that Urwerk’s partnership with Laurent Ferrier hasn’t resulted in a toned-down Urwerk, but rather if anything, something that is even more eye catching. And that’s thanks to a combination of two factors:
- A rectangular case shape that manages to incorporate pleasingly soft curves from every angle and wraps comfortably around the wrist.
- The case material Arpal+, which is a proprietary high-tech alloy of 18-karat white gold that is harder than steel, oxidation resistant, and polishes to a chrome-like level. The polish of the Arpal One makes any ordinary polished white gold case look dull: the brilliant white gleam off the case has to be seen to be believed.
There are unique pieces, and then there’s the Laurent Ferrier x Urwerk Arpal One. This watch will certainly be one of the highlights of Only Watch 2017.
For more information, please visit www.onlywatch.com/the-watches/laurent-ferrier-x-urwerk and/or www.onlywatch.com/the-watches/laurent-ferrier-x-urwerk.
Quick Facts Laurent Ferrier x Urwerk Arpal One for Only Watch 2017
Case: 60.8 x 40.1 x 20.7 mm, Arpal+, an alloy developed exclusively for this watch
Movement: automatic Caliber UR5.03 with dual turbine regulation, Geneva crosses in beryllium bronze; orbital structure in PEEK (Polyetheretherketone); carrousel and triple base plate in ARCAP
Functions: wandering hours also indicating the minutes
Strap: sand-colored leather, hand-stitched with matching thread
Limitation: one unique piece
Estimate: €46,000 – €65,000 / $52,000 – $72,000 / 50,000 – 70,000 Swiss francs
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Also published on Medium.