It’s bad news for Audemars Piguet fans who fancied their chances of owning the one-of-a-kind Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked Only Watch Edition. Only Watch has been postponed to 2024, following controversy and a withdrawal from AP.
A couple of weeks ago it was announced that Only Watch, which was due to take place on 5th November 2023, will be postponed to 2024. There really is nothing like a last-minute curveball to throw the whole industry into disarray.
The postponement follows the news that Audemars Piguet has decided to withdraw from the auction, due to an apparent lack of transparency about where funds are allocated. Reports say the watchmaker has suspicions that Only Watch founder, Luc Pettavino, has been mishandling the approx. €100 million raised so far. Some claims say only around half of the money has gone to researchers working on treatments for DMD.
Shortly after the news broke, Only Watch’s Instagram account was bombarded with questions about transparency.
Only Watch issued a statement outlining the charity’s wins over the previous 9 editions of the auction. The organisation said it had provided answers regarding funding strategies, the structures and projects supported, and the association’s accounts, which you can see here. It also went on to say it was too late for the 2023 auction to go ahead as planned:
The time for certification, changes in governance and the imminent auction do not coincide. We cannot bring ourselves to cast doubt on the sincerity of the commitment of all the parties involved in this project, nor can we allow this wonderful story to be rewritten.
We want to continue to move forward in harmony with the community that has rallied around this unique and ambitious charitable and scientific project, and so we are today taking the decision to postpone the auction to 2024.
Only Watch, Press Release 23 October 2023
Before fund allocation concerns were raised, 62 watchmakers, from TAG to Tudor, were set to participate in the 10th edition of Only Watch in Geneva.
Audemars Piguet’s comment on the matter was brief, with a representative simply stating that AP has "cancelled its participation and watch donation to the 2023 edition of Only Watch. There will be no further comment provided."
Only time will tell whether Only Watch has done enough in terms of transparency, or whether other brands will follow in the footsteps of AP.
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