Only Watch 2023: Postponed

The 2023 Only Watch has been postponed until 2024, for now at least.


If you’ve been following us here at WristReview recently, you’ll know we’ve been building up to the 5th of November when the bi-annual charity watch auction known as Only Watch was due to take place at Christie’s in Geneva. The auctions (of which there have been 9 so far) raise money for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), which affects mostly young boys and destroys their lives. It’s expected that due to the extreme muscle loss caused by the condition someone diagnosed with DMD will have a life expectancy of about 30-35 years, although this is significantly longer than it used to be.

It was announced in a press release last night on the Only Watch website that the auction will not be taking place this year and has been postponed until 2024. The Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies (AMM), the organising body of the Only Watch auctions (not Only Project, as I’ve previously written on WristReview; my apologies there), previously released some financial statements which “raised more questions, for some, than it answered” according to ABlogToWatch.

 The questions were around how AMM has been allocating the funds that were raised by the auctions, and why most of the money was still sitting in their accounts. The financial statements from the year showed that as of the 31st of December 2022, AMM has just under €74.4m in assets on its books, and they’ve claimed that they’ve raised over €100m since the Only Watch auctions began. The chairman of AMM, Luc Pettavino, has written in a signed statement from early October 2023 which was seen by WatchPro that only around half of the €100m estimated total has been donated towards DMD research so far, with the rest of it being kept in reserve for future use. 

So, why has this sprung up now? Well, from what we’ve seen in our time writing about Only Watch auctions these questions have been asked for some time. However, AMM hasn’t responded as it hasn’t needed to. According to the same WatchPro statement, entities such as AMM have only needed to make their financial statements available to the government and the administration powers in Monaco, where AMM is currently established. In September of 2023, that law changed meaning that AMM was now required to release its financial statements publically. Countries generally require entities to release their audited financials to the public to help combat the risk of financial crimes. Although there have been no indications of criminal wrongdoing on AMM’s part at this time, secretive reporting of important financial documents is often seen as morally wrong. AMM’s statement certainly indicates they’re looking to move onwards as quickly as possible.

What about the watchmakers? This is a big question but, as they’re companies and not individuals, they haven’t reacted quickly so far. Well, except for Audemars Piguet, which has removed itself from the Only Watch auction lineup and not given a reason as to why thus far. It’s become clear in recent years that the big watch brands are a lot less tolerant of poor business decisions now than they might’ve been fifteen years ago. The fact that nearly all of them pulled out of the Baselworld shows after the firm behind the scenes started messing around with their money should be lodged firmly in the minds of all of those running AMM. Although I don’t believe any fees are required to join the Only Watch auction list it could still be seen by them as bad press for their businesses. Patek Philippe hasn’t even revealed the watch it’s due to be submitting for the auction yet, and one must wonder if we’ll ever know.

For now, all we do know is that the Only Watch auction has been postponed until next year, supposedly, and that AMM has introduced more thorough reporting practices and an auditor to oversee this.