Only Watch 2021: Tudor Black Bay GMT One

In aged gunmetal.

Tudor’s entry into Only Watch 2021 is typical – a reinterpretation of one of its current models – but at the same time strikingly unusual. The Black Bay GMT One is a dual time zone with a heavily aged finish on the case and bracelet, along with an open back showing off a movement similar to that found in the recent Black Bay Ceramic.

Initial thoughts

Tudor’s watches are ordinarily excellent quality and tremendous value, though most are styled within certain aesthetic confines. The brand gets to do things differently at Only Watch, and the Black Bay GMT One is probably the most interesting to date.

Most Tudor watches look shiny and new, and even those that acquire a patina remain pristine under the crystal. The GMT One is purposefully aged, even on the dial and movement, which gives it a lived-in look that’s appealing in a sports watch.

Granted, the aged bracelet seems a bit much – I’d wear it on a strap – but given that there’ll only be one of these and it’ll sell for about US$350,000 that’s a moot point.

Lastly, it’s notable that the GMT One is powered by a Master Chronometer movement, perhaps a reference to the strategic genius of the similar movement found in the Black Bay Ceramic.

Slightly worn

The GMT One has a case steel and bracelet that are identical to that found on the standard model, except for the surface treatment. Both are finished with a black coating that is then partially and randomly worn off via tumble polishing, creating an aged-gunmetal finish.

The rest of the watch is similarly treated for a faux-vintage appearance. The bezel insert is aged steel with engraving markings, while the dial is a matte black with a variegated surface finish.

Most surprising is the MT5652-1U within. It features bridges and a rotor identical to the movement in the Black Bay Ceramic, except that the components have been aged just like the case. The bridges and rotor are first coated black, and then tumble polished to create a worn finish.

Key facts and price

Tudor Black Bay GMT One
Ref. M7983/001U

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 14.6 mm
Material: Steel with aged coating
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 200 m

Movement: Cal. MT5652-1U
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, second time zone, and date
Additional features: METAS and COSC certification
: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet with aged coating

Limited edition: Piece unique
 To be sold at Only Watch on November 6, 2021
Estimate: 4,000-8,000 Swiss francs

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Only Watch 2021: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Ref. 15202XT

A farewell in exotic materials.

Audemars Piguet (AP) has made no secret of the fact that it’s retiring the Royal Oak Extra-Thin ref. 15202 at the end of 2021 – along with the slim cal. 2121 movement inside. Essentially a remake of the original Royal Oak ref. 5402 “Jumbo” launched in 1972, the ref. 15202 will be missed and its successor much anticipated.

But AP is saying farewell in style at Only Watch 2021 with the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin Only Watch ref. 15202XT in titanium and bulk metallic glass. Despite the modern materials, the watch is a dead ringer for an “A Series” Royal Oak ref. 5402 because the dial is a replica of the original, right down to the typography.

Note the typography, as well as “Swiss” at six under the indices – details identical to those on the ref. 5402

Initial thoughts

It’s hard to render the ref. 15202 unattractive. Close to the original in look and feel, the ref. 15202 has been iterated several times in the last few years, with each version slightly different in style but similarly attractive – examples include the “salmon” or smoked-green versions.

Dressed in shades of grey, the Only Watch edition differs from its predecessors in colour and texture, but remains equally handsome. The all-grey, tone-on-tone palette has an appealing industrial feel, which suits the angular style that’s slightly brutal but refined in construction.

The colours are not the only differentiating factor for the Only Watch “Jumbo”. The sandblasted titanium case and bracelet is a first for the ref. 15202 – the standard finish is a linear brushing – while the use of bulk metallic glass is a first for the brand as a whole.

And a more subtle detail that sets apart the Only Watch “Jumbo” is perhaps the most important: the revival of the dial found on the vintage original. This vintage touch might also be hint at what an upcoming Royal Oak might be.

Twin metals

Like AP’s contributions to previous Only Watch auctions, the “Jumbo” ref. 15202XT is a modified example of a regular-production model. With the overall structure fixed, it is left to the details to distinguish the Only Watch “Jumbo”.

A key feature of the Only Watch version is the use of twin materials for the case. One is familiar, titanium, and the other, novel – bulk metallic glass (BMG). The material is a metal alloy also known as amorphous metal, because it lacks the ordered-crystal structure of metal, but has an amorphous arrangement of atoms within glass.

According to AP, the specific material used is a palladium-based BMG, which allows for a “unique play of light” when finished by hand. It is finished with a mirror polish and used for the bezel, connecting links on the bracelet, and case back.

On top of the uncommon materials, the Only Watch “Jumbo” is finished differently. Most of the case and bracelet are sandblasted, creating a granular, muted look that suits the monochromatic palette. But in keeping with Royal Oak tradition, the sandblasted surfaces are framed by mirror-polished bevels that can be found along the edges of the case and bracelet. And of course the BMG bezel is entirely polished.

Finally, the Only Watch “Jumbo” is also a farewell to the cal. 2121 (or cal. 2120) within. Originally the cal. 920 developed by Jaeger-LeCoultre (JLC), the movement was acquired by AP in 2000 (when it sold its stake in JLC) and has been powering the Royal Oak Extra-Thin and Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar since.

The excellent and long-running cal. 2121

Key facts and price

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin Only Watch
Ref. 15202XT.GG.1240XT.01

Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 8.1 mm
Material: Titanium and bulk metallic glass
Crystal: Sapphire
Water-resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 2121
Functions: Hours, minutes, and date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 19,800 beats per hour (2.75 Hz)
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: Titanium bracelet with BMG connecting links

Limited edition: Piece unique
 To be sold at Only Watch on November 6, 2021
Estimate: 160,000-320,000 Swiss francs

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Only Watch 2021: Atelier de Chronométrie AdC21

Hand finished "pink on pink".

Founded to give new life to vintage chronometer movements and resurrect old-school designs, Atelier de Chronométrie (AdC) has completed only a few watches to date, but has quickly become known for wristwatches that are elegantly refined inside and out.

In its inaugural outing at Only Watch, the watchmaker put together the AdC21, a time-only watch that is simple but executed with lavish detail, and dressed in a nostalgic, “pink on pink” livery.

Like AdC’s other creations, the AdC21 is powered by a movement that started life as a vintage ébauche before being upgraded with parts fabricated by hand in-house. And the movement has been finished to level far beyond what the vintage calibre ever was.

Initial thoughts

AdC watches are intrinsically appealing to enthusiasts who favour old-school dress watches, which often have discreet, refined details that are uncommon in contemporary watches. One of the brand’s cofounders is a vintage watch dealer whose eye and experience explain the house style. At the same time, AdC elevates the design with the artisanal quality of the case and movement, most of which are made in house.

The AdC21 is arguably the best time-only watch the brand has created to date. Entirely classical yet novel, the dial has a two-tone finish matched with an unusual interpretation of the “scientific” dial. And the case is also more elaborately constructed than those found on AdC’s earlier works.

Beyond the design and craft, the shades of pink that define the watch are coherent. The tone-on-tone palette, often known as “pink on pink” in vintage watch circles, evokes a well-preserved vintage watch.

And of course the movement is beyond reproach. It’s essentially a heavily revamped vintage Omega cal. 283, a star chronometer-trial movement of the mid-20th century. Drastically reworked, the movement also shows off exquisite finishing, including several sharp, inward angles along the bevelling of the bridges.

Hand made

AdC produces just a handful of watches a year, dedicating a good amount of time to crafting and finishing parts the old-fashioned way.

The hour and minute hands, for example, have a three-dimensional, rounded profile – a telltale sign of being hand made. The hands are made one by one, first by cutting out the blank from a sheet of gold, then filing the blank by hand, followed by careful polishing to give it a lustrous sheen.

The case is also fabricated manually. Its defining feature are the stepped lugs that evoke a certain style of vintage Patek Philippe cases.

The lugs are individually soldered onto the convex case middle, a construction that guarantees a sharp, precise border between the two parts.

The separate lugs and case

Soldering the lugs onto the case

The careful execution continues with the movement. Because the vintage cal. 283 has a subsidiary seconds in its stock form, AdC had to install additional gears under a bridge to migrate the seconds hand from six o’clock to the centre. Designed and made from scratch by AdC, the indirect-seconds bridges has an elaborate profile and decorative flourishes like the acute angles in the bevelling around the centre jewel.

But the cal. 283 is also found in other AdC watches, so the calibre within the Only Watch example has been slightly tweaked to distinguish it. The difference is subtle in a manner that only enthusiasts would appreciate: the bridge for the pallet lever forms a circle, instead of being a C-shaped as in the standard movement.

Key facts and price

Atelier de Chronométrie AdC21 Only Watch

Diameter: 37 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: 18k pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water-resistance: Unavailable

Movement: Cal. 21 (Omega cal. 283 ébauche)
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Hand-wind
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 43 hours

Strap: Brown and black leather

Limited edition: Piece unique
To be sold at Only Watch on November 6, 2021
Estimate: 35,000-55,000 Swiss francs

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Only Watch: Akrivia Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain II

A sketch is indeed worth a thousand words.

What can one infer from a drawing of a new timepiece?

As it turns out, a fair bit. The below sketch is the only bit of information revealed by Akrivia for its contribution to Only Watch 2021, the Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain II (RRCCII). Despite the paucity of information, much can still be deduced from the single image.

Initial impressions

The most apparent fact that can be gleaned the sketch is a deadbeat seconds – a seconds hand that jumps discretely once a second.

We can infer this from the star and flirt mechanism. The star is mounted on the escape wheel, which is located at six o’clock and completes a revolution once every five seconds. The star blocks the rotation of a flirt, a long lever that presses against the face of the star’s teeth.

After each second, the star rotates far enough that the tooth provides enough clearance to release the flirt, allowing the star to rotate until the flirt contacts the next tooth of the star. This sudden release of the flirt is what controls the burst of rotational energy that drives the deadbeat second geartrain.

Further inferences can be made from our May 2020 chat with Rexhep, where he hinted the RRCCII will have twin barrels powering separate going trains. In retrospect, that now makes sense in the context of the deadbeat seconds.

One barrel drives the going train for timekeeping, including the escape wheel and the star. The other barrel drives a secondary gear train for the deadbeat seconds hand and the flirt. Both geartrains are mechanically synchronised only via the star and flirt.

The details of the movement will only be known closer to Only Watch. Ultimately, as with Akrivia’s previous work, the movement finishing will likely be the star of the show, with the technicalities of the movement being secondary.


One intriguing detail that stands out in the sketch is the cross section of the dial. It can be seen that the cannon pinion is relatively tall, extending far above the base of the dial, which is shaded in yellow. Furthermore, a faint, chalk line is discernible above the base of the dial, even above the “Rexhep Rexhepi” logo at 12 o’clock.

This implies that the dial – just like that in the Chronomètre Contemporain for Only Watch 2019 – will be translucent enamel, made up of a textured base with enamel on top.

The enamel dial of the Chronomètre Contemporain for Only Watch 2019

Given that the Chronomètre Contemporain Only Watch 2019 was widely lauded for its excellent enamel dial, the upcoming RRCCII will be something to look forward too, especially since Rexhep has promised not to do similar dials for his standard watches.

And last but not least, the sketch also reveals a bit about the case. Its profile and cross-section are similar to the first-generation Chronomètre Contemporain, an elegant and refined design with deceptively complex sections in a mix of concave and convex surfaces.

The platinum case of the Chronomètre Contemporain for Only Watch 2019

And the sketch clearly shows the “JHP” hallmark of Jean-Pierre Hagmann, the renowned case maker who joined Akrivia in 2019, meaning the octogenarian will once again be responsible for the one-off case, which will be platinum if history is any guide.

The RRCCII “Only Watch” has an estimate of 70,000-100,000 Swiss francs. For more, visit


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Only Watch 2021: F.P. Journe FFC Blue “Francis Ford Coppola”

An automaton in the form of a hand.

F.P. Journe’s creation for Only Watch 2021 is an interesting one – the FFC Blue, characterised by a hand on the dial that displays the hours.

Like F.P. Journe’s past contributions to Only Watch, the FFC Blue is powered by a prototype movement – rough around the edges and lots of character – and features a case of tantalum, the grey-blue metal synonymous with the bestselling Chronometre Bleu.

Named after the initials of Francis Ford Coppola, the film director best known for The Godfather, the FFC Blue originated in a 2012 visit to Mr Coppola’s residence. The director asked Mr Journe a seemingly innocuous question over dinner, wondering whether it was possible to tell the time with a human hand.

Mr Journe mulled it over and over several years devised a mechanism with the help of Mr Coppola, who sent sketches of the desired finger positions for each hour.

The unveiling of the FFC Blue also marks the 20th anniversary of the F.P. Journe Octa and its automatic cal. 1300 (it’s the second watch to mark the occasion in fact), which is the base movement of the FFC Blue.

Initial Impressions

At first glance, the FFC Blue is bizarre for F.P. Journe. The hand sculpture on the dial is unlike most of the brand’s other designs, which are mostly conservative and often Breguet-inspired.

Upon closer examination, indeed a bizarre watch it is – in a good way.

The mechanism is an impressive example of an automaton, a complex answer to a simple question: how can the human hand indicate 12 hours of time with individual fingers instantaneously extending or retracting?

The hand indication system for the hours proposed by Mr Coppola

The creativity behind Mr Coppola’s hand signs to tell the dial is undeniable, but equally notable is Mr Journe’s execution of the idea. The complication fits on the standard cal. 1300 and fits within a 42 mm case that’s just 10.70 mm high – a remarkable mechanical achievement quite unlike any other F.P. Journe watch.

Deciphering the mechanism

We only have a simple dial and case back photo to go on for now – we’ll have “live” photos once the watch goes on its world tour – but we can infer the workings of the automaton since most of the mechanism is exposed on the dial.

The highlight is the blue hand that was inspired by a mechanical hand designed by Ambroise Paré (1509-1590), a physician regarded as a pioneer of modern surgery. It consists of five individual fingers that can extend or retract, each controlled by a series of levers, cams, wheels that discreetly connect to the left side of the movement.

Since the hand occupies the centre of the dial, a peripheral disc indicates the minutes. A blue arrow at 12 o’clock points to the minutes as the disc turns in a counter-clockwise direction.

There are plenty of intriguing mechanical details in the FFC Blue that deserve attention, and a more detailed review will be done in the future after a hands-on – pun unintended.

F.P. Journe FFC Blue
Ref. FFC

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 10.70 mm
Material: Tantalum
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Cal. 1300.3
Functions: Hours, minute
Additional features: Bridges and base plate in rose gold
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: Unavailable

Strap: Alligator strap

Limited edition: Unique piece
To be sold at Only Watch on November 6, 2021
Estimate: 300,000-400,000 Swiss francs

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Only Watch 2021: Patek Philippe Complicated Desk Clock Ref. 27001M-001

A truly unique creation.

Departing from its Only Watch tradition of unique versions of current-production wristwatches, Patek Philippe’s contribution to Only Watch 2021 is a desk clock with perpetual calendar modelled on a 1923 original now in the Patek Philippe Museum.

The Complicated Desk Clock Ref. 27001M-001 is inspired by a desk clock owned by James Ward Packard, the American automobile tycoon who was one of Patek Philippe’s leading clients in the 1920s. Made of sterling silver and vermeil with inlays of American walnut, the clock contains a 31-day movement featuring a perpetual calendar.

Initial thoughts

Topping the mega, CHF31 million result for the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime ref. 6300A at Only Watch 2019 would be hard to imagine since the Grandmaster Chime is the most complicated and expensive watch in the brand’s catalogue. Resetting the counter with a desk clock is a shrewd move since its avoids comparisons with the wristwatch of 2019.

That said, the desk clock is actually more unique than anything else Patek Philippe has made in recent memory – it is literally the timepiece of this form that exists. Even the unique Dome Clocks and desk clocks that Patek Philippe offer in its annual Rare Handcrafts line up are based on standard templates.

It’s worth noting that the desk clock has a “rose-gold opaline” dial similar to that of the Grandmaster Chime ref. 6300A, so it might make a nice pair for the buyer of the 2019 watch.

Packard’s clock

The inspiration for this clock is a similar timepiece, with case number “601’324” and movement number “197’707”, delivered to James Ward Packard on June 7, 1923.

Also equipped with a perpetual calendar, the original was made of silver with solid-gold feet and inlays, while the movement inside had an eight-day power reserve. Interestingly, Packard’s ostensible rival, banker Henry Graves Jr, owned a very similar desk clock.

The 1923 original

The Complicated Desk Clock is a compact but no doubt weighty timepiece. Slightly larger than the original, it measures 16.46 cm by 12.5 cm and stands 7.63 cm high. It has a hinged lid on the front that has an aperture revealing the face when closed.

Lift the lid and the control panel is visible below the face, with buttons for selecting the function of the key that goes into a socket near the base. The key can be used to wind the 31-day movement or set the calendar, depending on the button selected.

The Art Deco styling of the clock is similar to that found on Packard’s original, with accents of vermeil and American walnut

Key facts and price

Patek Philippe Complicated Desk Clock
Ref. 27001M-001

Diameter: 16.46 cm by 12.5 cm
Height: 7.63 cm
Material: Silver with fittings of vermeil American walnut inlays

Movement: 86-135 PEND IRM Q SE
Time, perpetual calendar, moon phases, week-number display and power-reserve display
Power reserve: 31 days

Limited edition: Piece unique
To be sold at Only Watch on November 6, 2021
Estimate: 400,000-500,000 Swiss francs

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Auctions: Only Watch 2021 – November 6, Geneva

Unique and special timepieces.

A biennial charity watch auction that raises money for medical research, Only Watch has just announced the 2021 event takes place in Geneva on November 6, along with most of the 53 unique timepieces that will go under the hammer.

Attended by the great and the good of Swiss watchmaking, Only Watch auctions have long enjoyed the support of leading watchmakers who exercise their best efforts to create one-off timepieces that are sold to support research into a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Only Watch was founded by Luc Pettavino, whose late son Paul was stricken by the illness. Mr Pettavino’s unfailing dedication to both Only Watch and his son’s memory has raised over €70 million to date.

Luc Pettavino at Only Watch 2019

Many of the unique timepieces created for the event are landmarks in themselves, explaining why Only Watch has traditionally been a venue for record-setting prices, most notably the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime ref. 6300A in steel that sold for CHF31 million in 2019.

Highlights this year include a Tudor Black Bay GMT in an aged-gunmetal finish, possibly the very last Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ref. 15202 (a model that will be discontinued at year’s end), and the imaginative F.P. Journe “Francis Ford Coppola”.

And what will likely be the most valuable lot in the auction is not a wristwatch, but instead the Patek Philippe desk clock ref. 27001M-001 inspired by a timekeeper made for automobile tycoon James Ward Packard in 1923.

We will cover each of the notable lots individually, so check out our other stories.

The Patek Philippe desk clock ref. 27001M-001

The F.P. Journe FFC Blue

Auction details

The 2021 auction is scheduled for 2:00 pm, November 6, at the Christie’s salesroom in the Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues. Bidding can be done in room or online, but registration with Christie’s will be required.

Prior to the auction, all 53 timepieces of Only Watch 2021 will embark on a five-city tour starting September in Monaco.

Tour schedule

Monaco – September 22-25, Monaco Yacht Show
Dubai – September 30-October 3, Christie’s
Tokyo – October 8-10, Christie’s
Singapore – October 15-20, Malmaison by The Hour Glass
Hong Kong – October 25-28, Christie’s
Geneva – November 4-6, Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues

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