Only Watch is in Dubai from 9-11 October. Don’t miss this opportunity to see one-of-a-kind-watches that will be auctioned in Geneva on November 11 in aid of Muscular Dystrophy. Ahead of the auction, Revolution Magazine caught up with Only Watch founder Luc Pettavino to find out more.
Only Watch is growing every year in prestige and participation despite the ongoing slow economy for luxury timepieces. What do you think this tells us about (a) the industry’s commitment to charitable causes but also (b) their pragmatic business reasons for doing so?
Like for every interaction in life, it’s all about how you connect with people. This is not my project, but an altruistic community project (brands, partners, press/media, donors…) for a great cause. I strive to be an honest, empathetic conductor, allowing each musician to play their part, and the orchestra to deliver the best possible performance! People are ready to and want to help. They understand the Only Watch project, the concept, the purpose and they feel at ease with the type of energy in it. They like it.
Luc Pettavino with Prince Albert of Monaco
The auction has come a long way since its first edition in 2005. How have the challenges in organising this important charity watchmaking event evolved over the last 12 years?
Only Watch is a very small, and at the same time, very big. Very small: me and an assistant only at the “head” of OW; this is the first year I hired someone to assist me in the coordination! Very big: auctioneer, watch brands, press & media, logistics, hosts and partners of the world tour… and so many more. Please remember, almost all of those dozens of companies and individuals work for free or at cost price on Only Watch.
How did the collaboration between Only Watch and Christie’s come together?
Every two years on Only Watch, watch brands come and go, around a 20% turnover. Sometimes they come back. Well, it’s the same for the partners/sponsors in general and the auctioneers in particular. They come, make a very consistent effort (more than what one can imagine) for one or many editions, then, in coordination with me, pass on the baton in a friendly way to the next auctioneer: Antiquorum, Patrizzi & Co, Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo, and now Christie’s. I seize the opportunity of your question to thank all of them whole heartedly for their past, present and future contributions.
Some of the unique pieces which are on show in Dubai until October 11.
We expect a strong performance from all the watches, but from what you’ve seen so far, which are the lots that you think will be especially exciting for us to look out for?
I’m not a specialist in watches and my position as a “conductor” leads me to appreciate each and every piece and experience offered. I honestly find some interest and excitement in each of the 50 different lots of Only Watch 2017.
As the Only Watch 2017 lots prepare to go on tour, how do you hope to increase outreach in each of the cities visited? Will there be different approaches to suit the different tastes and appeal of each market?
For this edition, when I met the brands during SIHH or Baselworld, I suggested to add a unique experience to their unique piece, or propose a collaboration with another brand, a media or an Ambassador. Half of them answered favorably. By doing so, the Only Watch charity auction enlarges its window of interest towards non-collectors: the lifestyle donors. And it’s fantastic. As for the world tour, we made sure the stopovers were balanced between Christie’s offices, great retailers (The Hour Glass Singapore, Westime LA, Seddiqi Dubai), and important events (Monaco Yacht Show, November Geneva Watch Week.
Of course the most important thing to remember is the cause behind all this — awareness of and research for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. How has Only Watch helped to advance its goal, from the beginning until now? And what is the next step you hope to achieve?
Each participant should be proud of their contribution. Since its creation in 2001, the Monaco Association against Myopathies has dedicated almost all of its resources’ to fund research. We united experts and researchers in many round table meetings in Monaco, and it is thanks to OW that we have become recognized by the scientific community.