On July 5th, Christies released the timepieces that will make up their “Only Watch” charity auction for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) research. Amongst the 49 horological masterpieces on offer, there is a watch that truly is a piece of history. Owning it usually comes a very high price, and I’m not talking about money. The watch I’d be buying from the 2017 lot would be the The WOSTEP Watch Reference 100.
The Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program is located in Neuchâtel, Switzerland and is one of, if not the most, prestigious international watchmaking schools. If you’re one of the lucky few students who gets through the rigorous selection process, the 3,200-hour course, which spans 2 years, then they will train you from zero to master. Should you pass all your exams, you’ll be bestowed with a gift, the watch you created with your own blood, sweat, and tears. If you spot a WOSTEP school watch, running their base calibre W-01, you can be sure its owner is an alum of the prestigious school.
Well, you can be sure of that only up until November 11th when this WOSTEP Watch goes under the hammer. Not only will this be the first ever WOSTEP watch available for purchase by the public, it has an added bonus – it is signed by 16 elite watchmakers from around the world. To help highlight just how significant these signatures are, here are some of the more notable of the group: Greubel Forsey’s co-founder Stephen Forsey, Grönefeld Timepieces’ founders Bart and Tim Grönefeld, TAG Heuer’s complications specialist Marko Makinen, WOSTEP’s Director Maarten Pieters, Speake-Marin’s founder Peter Speake-Marin, and Voutilainen’s founder Kari Voutilainen. If these names don’t mean anything to you, google away and dive into the rabbit hole that is haute horology. In fact, you can find most of these masters’ watches in the Only Watch auction itself! If you’re thinking about what to bid for this watch, just keep in mind that only other way to get it is by paying just shy of $60,000 in tuition and board, and two years of extreme hard work!
On a final note, if you’re wondering why such esteemed watchmakers would give away their prized possessions for free, please take a moment to read about DMD and the 1 in 3500 people whose muscles irreversibly deteriorate and breakdown. If, like these watchmakers, you’re moved by the impact it has on the lives of those have DMD, you can donate locally to Muscular Dystrophy Australia (as the Only Watch auction profits only go towards funding research in Monaco).
You can follow Adam’s horological hypothesis’ on Instagram @watchrally.