Hublot Introduces the MP-15 Takashi Murakami Only Watch Sapphire

Murakami's smiling flower in sapphire.

Hublot has once again partnered with its favourite contemporary artist for Only Watch 2023: the MP-15 Takashi Murakami Only Watch Sapphire is a one-of-a-kind creation for the biennial charity auction that is entirely unique from case to movement. Not only it is the brand’s first-ever central tourbillon, the watch has a sapphire crystal case in the shape of a flower with a bezel set with rainbow gemstones.

Initial thoughts

While Hublot is sometimes made fun of for its often repetitive limited editions that are colour facelifts, the creation for Only Watch is entirely new and entirely unique. Hublot and the Japanese artist have collaborated in the past, but on watches that were variants of standard models. In contrast, the Murakami Only Watch  pushes boundaries even by Hublot’s extravagant standards with a case entirely in sapphire, and flower-shaped no less.

The Murakami Only Watch is also interesting mechanically. The calibre inside has a 150-hour power reserve along with a large, central tourbillon on the front. And the movement is unique to the Murakami Only Watch, at least for now.

The aesthetic and mechanical novelty of the Murakami Only Watch are impressive and certainly makes this one of the highlights of Only Watch 2023. While Hublot will almost certainly create variations of this in the future, the effort expended in creating Murakami Only Watch is commendable.

The Murakami Only Watch has an estimate of CHF350,000 to CHF400,000, with the high estimate being a little more than the result for the fairly ordinary Big Bang Tourbillon made for Only Watch 2019. This will almost certainly sell for more, perhaps even over seven figures, which will still be relatively modest compared to the values of some of Murakami’s artwork.

Clear sapphire and rainbow stones

While the earlier Hublot and Murakami timepieces were iterations of the Classic Fusion, the Murakami Only Watch quite literally embodies the artist’s trademark “smiling flower” motif.

The watch case is a flower, with the tourbillon in the centre forming the smiling face. The 12-petal case is made of clear sapphire crystal with a steel bezel on the front that is set with 444 rainbow-hued gemstones. Measuring 42 mm in diameter and 13.4 mm high, the case is large, but perfectly sized the extravagant, contemporary aesthetic.

According to Hublot, the central-tourbillon movement was chosen by Mr Murakami himself. The movement construction required the cannon pinion and hour wheel to be relocated to the same axis as the tourbillon. As a result, the tourbillon seemingly rotates in mid-air, while hour and minute hands sit just under the periphery of the cage. The “face” of the flower is formed by the domed sapphire crystal over the tourbillon that has twin sapphire inserts for the eyes and an engraved mouth.

The Murakami Only Watch is equipped with the manually-wound HUB9015, a calibre found only in this watch, for now. In addition to the central flying tourbillon, the movement has a 150-hour power reserve thanks to twin barrels.

In addition to the watch, the winning bidder of the Murakami Only Watch will also receive Time of Rainbow, an ink calligraphy artwork painted by Mr Murakami. The artwork is a drawing of the watch on used coffee filter paper.

Key facts and price

Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Only Watch Sapphire
Ref. 915.JX.4802.RT.1198.OWM23 

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 13.4 mm
Material: Sapphire
Crystal: Sapphire crystal
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: HUB9015
Functions: Central flying tourbillon, hours, minutes
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hours (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 150 hours

Strap: Rubber strap with sapphire and titanium folding clasp

Limited edition: Piece unique
Availability: To be sold at Only Watch on November 5, 2023
Estimate: CHF350,000 – CHF400,000

For more information, visit


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Girard-Perregaux Introduces the Neo Constant Escapement for Only Watch

Revisiting a novel, high-tech escapement.

A regular participant at Only Watch, Girard-Perregaux’s latest contribution to the charity auction, the Neo Constant Escapement Only Watch 2023, revisits its innovation constant-force escapement. Girard-Perregaux (GP) first unveiled the Constant Escapement in 2013 as a wristwatch with a unique, dual-wheel escapement with an integral constant-force silicon buckling spring. Ten years on, the Neo Constant Escapement is a revamp of the original concept with incremental upgrades to the mechanism.

Initial thoughts

The Neo Constant Escapement (NCE) is not merely a rehash of the original. It is a technical evolution, which is at the very minimum an academically interesting take on an already exotic escapement. The Only Watch edition is dressed in predominantly monochromatic livery with a pink gold case and movement bridges – even the mainspring barrels are pink gold. The generous use of pink gold might be polarising, which arguably makes it perfectly suited as a one-off piece that will inevitably find an eager buyer at the auction.

In the grander scheme of things however, the NCE Only Watch edition marks the beginning of GP reviving the Constant Escapement. Even by today’s standards of advanced tech in watchmaking, the Constant Escapement is an integrated design comprised of a double-wheel escapement with a remontoir spring, making it an escapement unlike any other. It is admirable that the escapement has been updated for better reliability, while preserving its original identity.

Central hands

The overall presentation of the NCE Only Watch edition is monochromatic, with a pink gold case and matching pink gold bridges. This is subtly contrasted with a little colour – black nickel plating for the hands and indices to make them legible, while the silicon blade spring and movement jewels are purple.

The colour scheme thus make most of the dial elements stand out less, in contrast to the open-worked escapement located at six o’clock. For instance, subtly integrated into the movement bridge at nine o’clock is a linear power reserve indicator – a complication present since the overall design, but can easily be missed in this iteration.

While the original design was massive at 48 mm diameter, the NCE has a 45 mm case which is still wide, but unavoidable due to the space taken up by the escapement. Meanwhile, the overall thickness has instead increased to 14.8 mm – an addition of 0.4 mm over the original, due to the three watch hands being coaxially stacked at the centre of the dial.

Improved escapement

Of course, the highlight of the NCE is in the name – the modernised version of the Constant Escapement, first developed over a decade ago as the brainchild of the watchmaker, Nicolas Déhon.

Revived in the new movement, the NCE exhibits an overall similar movement architecture to the outgoing model. Fundamentally, it is a double-wheel escapement which has a built-in silicon blade spring that acts as a remontoir on every beat, supplying a constant force directly to the balance wheel for stable amplitude. The design is tightly integrated, and thus the double-wheel mechanism would not work independently without the silicon blade spring, and vice versa.

The new design of the NCE presents some upgrades from the original design. Most notably, it exhibits a modified arming rocker design that interacts with two escape wheels. Additionally, it has a locking mechanism of the arming rocker via the central lever, providing overall better reliability of the escapement.

Only Watch 2023 takes place on November 5, 2023 at Palexpo in Geneva.

Key facts and price

Girard-Perregaux Neo Constant Escapement “Only Watch”
Ref. 93510-52-3280-5GX

Diameter: 45 mm
Height: 14.8 mm
Material: Pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: GP09200-2196
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and power reserve
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 3 Hz
Power reserve: Seven days

Strap: Rubber strap with folding clasp

Limited edition: Piece unique
Availability: To be sold at Only Watch on November 5, 2023
Estimate: CHF140,000-220,000

For more information, visit

Correction October 12, 2023: The power reserve is seven days and not 56 hours as stated in an earlier version of the article.

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