Orange Is The New Black At Only Watch 2021: 5 Unique Watches With Sunny Dispositions And Orange Accents
by Martin Green
Orange is the official color of Only Watch 2021. This unique charity founded by Luc Pettavino supports the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy with a now-famous biennial watch auction. All of the unique timepieces up for auction are custom made and donated by their respective brands.
It can hardly come as a surprise that many of these brands took inspiration from the orange-colored livery of the 2021 auction and worked it into their watches. While all of the watches are very different, what they have in common is their highly creative approach, which will most certainly help to raise even more money to aid in the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch: flying to new heights
Bell & Ross was one of the pioneering brands in sapphire crystal-encased watches and has remained loyal to this concept ever since. For Only Watch 2021, the brand presents, in my opinion, its best sapphire crystal timepiece to date. The BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch combines Bell & Ross’s signature square case in transparent sapphire with a bold skull motif, whose jaws move when you turn the crown. The jaws serve as the power reserve indicator.
What makes this watch so exceptional is the way that Bell & Ross executed it: the sapphire crystal case is not the main attraction but acts as a high-tech, yet neutral, frame for the skull. Like a sunny Jolly Roger, this skull comes with crossbones, which double as the frame attaching the movement to the case. Thanks to the applied orange metallization on the back, the figure’s angular bone structure comes to life by adding depth and play of light.
Turn the watch around to see the care that Bell & Ross also put into designing the movement. The bridges follow the shape of the skull, yet in such a way that various parts are positioned to play visual as well as mechanical roles.
The balance spring “crowns” the skull, while the skeletonized spring barrel is visible through the jaws. These details make the watch all the more attractive, and it is very nice to see a sapphire crystal-cased watch that doesn’t use that as its main attraction per se but rather as a means to elevate the visual appeal of the entire creation.
For more information, please visit www.onlywatch.com/bellandross.
Quick Facts Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch
Case: 43.3 x 45 x 14.07 mm, sapphire crystal
Movement: manually wound Caliber BR-CAL.309, 48 hours power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes; power reserve automaton
Limitation: unique piece
Auction estimate: 90,000 – 110,000 Swiss francs
Hermès H08 Only Watch: it takes two to tango
Hermès offers not one but two watches as part of its donation to Only Watch. As may be expected, it selected its 2021 H08 model, serving it up in two slightly different flavors to constitute the lot. The brand also opted for the titanium model, using a material with which it has had extensive experience. The same can also be said of using orange as this is already Hermès’ signature color. These two factors combined result in delightful and refined watches, another hallmark of Hermès.
The boldest of the pair offered here is the H08 fitted with a titanium bracelet, where polished inner sections add a dash of contrast compared to the matte surfaces of the rest of the watch. The dial displays many orange features, but it is the numerals that draw the most attention.
On the other version of the H08 for Only Watch, it is the orange rubber strap that takes on that role. While sharing many details with its sibling, Hermès kept the Arabic numerals of this variation in white, maintaining a sportive touch and preventing orange overkill.
What is most exceptional about these watches is that they could very well be regular production models. This is quite a compliment as it shows how well Hermès is able to integrate unique pieces within its regular collection while maintaining pure “DNA.”
For more information, please visit www.onlywatch.com/hermes.
Quick Facts Hermès H08 Only Watch
Case: 39 x 39 mm, titanium
Movement: automatic Hermès Caliber H1837 with twin spring barrels; 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 50-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Limitation: unique set of two watches
Auction estimate: 14,000 – 18,000 Swiss francs
Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force Only Watch Unique Piece: coat it orange
Visual appeal and technical elegance go hand in hand at Armin Strom, who donated a unique piece to Only Watch this year. Gravity Equal Force Only Watch Unique Piece is an automatic watch that includes the brand’s triplet bridges supporting the barrel, micro rotor, and keyless works inspired by historical pocket watch movements. The movement also features a “stop-work declutch” mechanism deriving from older stop-works mechanisms found on manual winding pocket watches. These use a Geneva wheel as the counting and limiting feature to keep power delivery restricted to the most consistent torque portion of the mainspring. The Gravity Equal Force marks the first time that this mechanism has been combined with automatic winding in a production wristwatch.
The majority of the movement, or at least the most tantalizing parts, are visible on the front, flanking the smaller dials that display the hours, minutes, and seconds, all against the stunning backdrop of a guilloche plate made by Kari Voutilainen.
These elements make the orange coating of the three bridges and hands speak out all the more. It is a vibrant touch that gives the watch unique character, exactly the purpose of the Only Watch submissions. While the auction is essentially about funding the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a happy side effect has been that the donated watches add more flair and spice to the watch world as a whole.
With this Gravity Equal Force, Armin Strom shows how playing with color can have a bold effect on its watches, also serving as inspiration for future collections and/or bespoke pieces, which the brand generally happily offers.
For more information, please visit www.onlywatch.com/armin-strom.
Quick Facts Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force Only Watch Unique Piece
Case: 41 x 12.65 mm, stainless steel
Movement: in-house automatic Caliber ASB19 with micro rotor on dial side and Geneva-drive constant force barrel, 25,200 vph, frequency, 72-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; power reserve
Limitation: unique piece
Auction estimate: 16,900 – 25,000 Swiss francs
The Louis Vuitton Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon Only Watch 2021 is a personal favorite of mine. The name is a mouthful for a very avant-garde creation introducing us to a more modern interpretation of Louis Vuitton’s famed Tambour.
While certainly extroverted, it is still the details that do the talking and make a difference. The combination of titanium and pink gold in the case gives a sporty yet luxurious look to the watch. It also works very well with the gradient look that shows through the perforated grid on the dial, adding a sense of dynamic warmth giving the impression of looking at a beautiful sunset.
From a technical point of view, this Louis Vuitton is equally imposing with its Caliber LV 82, which combines a flying tourbillon with a GMT function. The latter can be easily adjusted thanks to the pushers on the side of the case, thereby making for what can easily be the ultimate travel watch for those who prefer modern design yet still insist on a high-end mechanical movement.
The focus of Louis Vuitton is also very much on details like the hour markers in baguette-cut orange sapphires. The strap is also a work of art, combining rubber with alligator in a style befitting the rest of the watch. The finishing touch is the case that the Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon Only Watch 2021 comes in: it is shaped like a miniature version of Louis Vuitton’s travel trunks with stripes in gradient Only Watch 2021 orange.
For more information, please visit www.onlywatch.com/louis-vuitton.
Quick Facts Louis Vuitton Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon Only Watch 2021
Case: 46 x 13.15 mm, titanium and pink gold with rubber crown
Dial: 22 baguette-cut sapphires (~0.54 ct)
Movement: automatic Caliber LV 82 with one-minute flying tourbillon, 65-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes; second time zone
Limitation: unique piece
Estimate: 80,000 – 100,000 Swiss francs
Romain Gauthier Continuum Titanium Edition Only Watch: innovation and tradition in titanium
Romain Gauthier also goes gradient, utilizing the numerals, hour markers, and subsidiary second dial of its Continuum Titanium Edition Only Watch to achieve the colorful effect. It gives the 41 mm watch a rather sportive appearance, enhanced by Gauthier playing with the visual possibilities of titanium, applying both polished and brushed finishes.
The watch also gets a twist of non-conformism with its modest crown placed at the 2 o’clock position in conjunction with the colorful dial, giving the watch a refined character. You recognize it as something special, but nothing shouts out. Gauthier’s aim was also to create something extraordinary yet for daily use – and he succeeded very well in that.
This timepiece will be the only one of the new Continuum collection with a titanium case and a titanium movement. For this caliber, Gauthier was inspired by the historic “finger bridge” design, giving the movement a very appealing look. The exceptional hand-finishing Romain Gauthier is renowned for provides the icing on the cake.
Like that of the Logical One, the Continuum movement also features a stop balance with snail cam design, which can be admired through the sapphire crystal case back.
For more information, please visit www.onlywatch.com/romain-gauthier.
Quick Facts Romain Gauthier Continuum Titanium Edition Only Watch
Case: 41 x 9.55 mm, titanium
Dial: sandblasted natural titanium
Movement: manually wound Continuum caliber, 60-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, components in steel, titanium, and German silver
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Limitation: unique piece
Auction estimate: 40,000 – 70,000 Swiss francs