Marking the ninth edition of the charity auction, Only Watch 2021, will take place in Geneva on Saturday, 6 November 2021. Held every two years, Only Watch auctions unique timepieces to fund research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Naturally, Patek Philippe, a regular contributor to the auction since its first edition in 2005, will be donating a one-off piece to this year’s edition. In 2019, Patek Philippe’s one-of-a-kind Ref. 6300A-010 Grandmaster Chime in a steel case smashed all world records as the most expensive watch ever sold at auction, raising CHF 31 million for charity. For this year’s event, Patek Philippe will donate something completely different, the Complicated Desk Clock (Ref. 27001M-001) inspired by a desk clock delivered to James Ward Packard (rescapement.com has more details here), the American automobile magnate, in 1923.
James Ward Packard commissioned around 18 complicated watches from Patek Philippe in the first two decades of the 20th century. One of these commissions was Packard’s desk clock, an ornately decorated timepiece equipped with perpetual calendar functions, a moon phase display and a double-barrel 8-day power reserve. Patek Philippe’s desk clock for Only Watch 2021 also features a perpetual calendar and a moon phase but adds a peripheral week-number display and a leap year and power reserve indicator.
The cabinet housing the clock, which is inclined to provide a clear view of the dial, is a work of art in itself. Measuring 164.6mm x 125mm x 76.3mm, the case is made in sterling silver with American walnut inlays and vermeil decorative details. Gold vermeil refers to .925 sterling silver plated with a thick layer of gold and is used to craft the sphinx-like creatures and rosettes on the corners of the case and other decorative flourishes. The layout of the dial echoes Packard’s desk clock but, instead of a white background, has a rose-gilt opaline dial.
On the periphery of the dial are the week numbers highlighted with a red rectangular frame and a railway track for the seconds. The hours and minutes are off-centred in a sub-dial with black Roman numerals at 12 o’clock and two rectangular apertures for the day of the week and month are in the centre of the dial. The moon phase indication at 6 o’clock is framed by the date, and the two smaller apertures on either side are for the leap years. The 31-day power reserve indicator is placed between the day and month apertures.
Patek Philippe has specifically developed and manufactured a new hand-wound movement – calibre 86-135 PEND IRM Q SE – to power the desk clock ref. 27001M-001. With a precision rate of -1/+1 seconds per day, the calibre delivers a 31-day power reserve and is wound via a crank placed under the top cover of the clock.
Created in 2005, Only Watch is a biennial fundraiser for research on muscular dystrophy – Association Monégasque Contre les Myopathies (AMM). Organized under the patronage of HSH Albert II de Monaco, the watches of the 9th edition will be auctioned by Christie’s on Saturday, 6 November 2021. More details at www.onlywatch.com.