In a surprising turn of events, the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies (AMM), the driving force behind Only Watch, has decided to postpone the 10th edition of the auction until 2024. The event was originally scheduled for November 5, 2023, in Geneva, a city renowned for its association with high-end watchmaking.
Founded in 2001 by parents faced with the harsh reality of a diagnosis of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the AMM has pursued a single goal: accelerating the pace of research to find a cure for this rare genetic disease. Fast forward to 2005, and the AMM orchestrated the inaugural Only Watch event, a grand initiative that brought together prestigious watch brands and emerging talent. Its mission? To raise significant funds for muscular dystrophy research by auctioning off bespoke timepieces created specifically for the occasion.
This collective effort, spanning nearly two decades, has culminated in a landmark achievement: the launch of a “first-in-human” clinical trial in June 2023 at the Garches Hospital near Paris. This trial, funded entirely by proceeds from Only Watch auctions, is a testament to the unwavering commitment of countless individuals, including watch brands, philanthropists, researchers, clinicians, logistical partners, and media representatives. Together, they’ve created the world’s most prestigious charity auction of unique timepieces.
Just days before the auction, however, concerns arose about the allocation of funds and the governance of the AMM. Clarity was quickly provided on the funding strategies, the structures and projects supported, and the association’s finances. But the urgency of certifying these changes and the proximity of the auction created an impasse.
Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, Luc Pettavino, founder of Only Watch and president of the AMM, expressed his commitment to transparency and progress in a press release: “We will continue to move forward and provide even more information on the virtuous and extraordinary actions we have achieved thanks to this dynamic. The agility that characterizes us has allowed us to make extraordinary progress. One of our greatest joys is knowing that a group of children and young adults are now part of a clinical trial made possible by the Only Watch funds. It’s tangible, concrete and brings hope for a cure.”
The postponement of Only Watch 2023 follows significant developments, including Audemars Piguet’s early withdrawal and increasing demands for financial transparency. These events prompted Only Watch to release documents affirming its commitment to openness, including financial statements for the past five years, a list of projects funded over the past decade, and financial reports from two supported biotech companies dating back to 2017. They have also promised an audit of their 2023 financial statements by a certified auditor, with the results to be shared in the first quarter of 2024.
In the face of these challenges, Only Watch remains steadfast in its mission. Founded by Luc Pettavino in Monaco in 2005, the biennial charity auction has raised nearly €100 million, with €70 million coming from the last three events alone. These funds are critical to advancing research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a cause deeply personal to Pettavino, who lost his son Paul to the disease in 2016.
As we face this surprising moment of change, we’ll update as more information becomes available.
Click on this link to read this article in French version