March 23, 2019
Creating beauty to do good
Only Watch, the biennial watch auction that raises funds for research into treatment for neuromuscular diseases, in particular the Duchenne strain of muscular dystrophy, is back for its eighth edition this year. Once again, some 50 different brands, from watchmaking groups to independent firms, will donate a completely unique timepiece – rarities that cannot be found elsewhere – for auction this November. The Baselworld Daily News caught up with charismatic founder Luc Pettavino to find out more.
How much has the biennial auction raised so far?
Luc Pettavino: In seven editions we have raised more than CHF 40 million. But at Only Watch, the money is the means to the end. We’re not here to make money but to free creativity, not just in watches, but also in science. We look at the projects where people are stuck and need funds and, because we’re a small charity, we can be very reactive. Ten days later, the money can be there, it’s like Christmas. We don’t make this money to leave it in the bank! It’s there to do good and speed up the process.
The auction is always a big talking point for the industry...
From the watches’ release on 1 July up to the auction, this is going to be the main topic for the watch industry. The world tour before the auction allows us to communicate with everyone, from collectors to beauty lovers, to make sure we’re reaching a wide spectrum of people, as the auction prices will range from the tens of thousands right up to many millions. But the beauty of Only Watch is that there is only one approach. There’s a lot of empathy, a lot of trust – there’s no contract but we end up raising millions – and no ego. We have all this beautiful creativity and every single entity entering Only Watch gets it. It’s like bees pollinating a field of flowers – we see them all blooming together.
Are you concerned that the challenges facing the watch industry could prevent brands from taking part?
On the contrary, I don’t think we have to strive to get more brands as we’re at a moment where free spirits, beauty and creativity are welcome and, knowing there’s such a huge media impact, it’s an opportunity for brands to show why they’re here and what they do. The search for meaning in what we do is becoming increasingly important. Participating in Only Watch allows the brand and the whole team to think about what they can do for this good cause – people are happy and it’s a good moment for the teams.