Questions about Only Watch, Luc Pettavino, and all the answers provided so far
With less than three weeks to go before Only Watch 2023 puts a record 62 watches under the hammer for charity, the luxury watch auction event is facing scrutiny from the general public, leading to the possibility of withdrawals by brands. As of 18th October, Audemars Piguet’s entry Lot 6 has been taken down from the Only Watch website. No official statements were offered. It is the first brand to have done so, and Revolution understands that it may not be the last.
[Updated on 24th October] Only Watch has announced it will postpone the 10th edition of its auction to a later date in 2024.
Questions first arose 4th October regarding the organization’s distribution of its charity funds and precisely how it has contributed to the research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy — the cause for which this auction was created to support.
The inquiry began when the famed watch collector Santa Laura posed a series of comments on his Instagram account outlining the exchange he’d had with Only Watch, where a request for the organization’s annual financial report was politely declined. To his disappointment, Only Watch stated that its financial reports are filed with the Monaco government and that it is not required to publish them.
Next, he called for the need for greater transparency on the part of Only Watch, a sentiment shared openly by Zug_Gal who is also a renowned watch collector.
Nonetheless, Only Watch replied with a series of Instagram Stories providing details about the organization such as “Who launched Only Watch and Why” “What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy” “Does Only Watch benefit research for other genetic conditions” “Where is the charity based? What does it do?” and several others. It mentions an organization known as SQY Therapeutics, adding that it has since appointed an auditor from KPMG Monaco named Bettina Ragazzoni.
On 7th October, Santa Laura shared a post on Instagram and directed additional questions to Only Watch, asking for more clarification. The issues include who sits on the board of the charity, what their voting rights are, and full details about SQY Therapeutics. He also asked specifically about the ownership structure of SQY Therapeutics, and the company’s accounts for 2019, 2020 and 2022.
This prompted Only Watch to look more closely at the matter and the organization released a letter to the watch industry dated 8th October, sharing a financial overview, its accounting audit and legal obligations, and the corporate structure of SQY Therapeutics.
On 8th October as well, De Bethune posted a message on Instagram Stories saying it “deeply values the efforts of Only Watch and hopes for further clarity on their accounts as soon as possible.”
Then comes more questions from Santa Laura on 9th October. He posted on Instagram some basic findings about SQY Therapeutics and the fund allocation by Only Watch of 99% to research and 1% on running costs. He began to question the shareholding of Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies (AMM) the parent company behind Only Watch, the relationship between AMM and SQY Therapeutics, sources for financial details about SQY Therapeutics, the appointment of KPMG, and a cost incurred to date on running the charity.
Further, on 10th October, Santa Laura returned with more questions, this time on Synthena AG, a Swiss pharmaceutical company based in Bern. He requested for clarification on multiple overlapping details between Synthena AG and SQY Therapeutics, and more details on the lead researcher mentioned in Only Watch’s letter to the industry. He also asked for more details about Synthena AG such as the original ownership structure, board of directors, financial reporting, etc.
On 14th October, he pointed out that the mission of SQY Therapeutics changed in January this year to include also finding cures for other conditions such as infectious diseases, oncology and inflammatory diseases in addition to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
On 19th October, FP Journe wrote a post on its own Instagram account reiterating total confidence in Luc Pettavino, and stating that he remains steadfast to the cause and the Only Watch auction.
These have been the main developments to this ongoing story. Revolution has reached out to Santa Laura and Luc Pettavino for additional comment, and understands that Only Watch will proceed as planned despite repeated calls from the public to postpone until after the audit reports are out.
Only Watch is currently on tour around the world, beginning in Los Angeles on 6th September, New York 14thSeptember, Monaco 27th September, Hong Kong 5th October, Bangkok 11th October and is headed to Singapore on 20th October at Malmaison by The Hour Glass. Thereafter it will travel to Dubai 27th October and then Geneva 3rd November in time for the auction on 5th November.
[Edited on 22nd October] On 20th October, Luc Pettavino cancelled his trip to Singapore where he was scheduled for a press conference and fireside chat with local retailer, The Hour Glass.
Further developments will be added to this article in due course until this matter is finalized. Meanwhile here’s a guide to all the key people, organizations and topics surrounding Only Watch right now.
Founder of Only Watch. He started this initiative in 2005 after losing his son Paul to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disease for which there is no known cure.
Association Monegasque contre les Myopathies (AMM)
The organization behind Only Watch founded by patient families. Luc Pettavino is its co-founder and chairman, and his daughter Tess Pettavino is its CEO.
Duchenne Parent Project (DPP)
An organization committed to fighting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy founded by Pascal Ferré who is also its treasurer.
A biotech company funded by AMM and jointly owned by AMM (49%) and DPP (51%) where DPP comprises patients and parents of DMD sufferers which includes Luc Pettavino. Co-founder and president is Pascal Ferré, and scientific advisor Dr. Luis Garcia is the lead researcher quoted in Only Watch’s letter to the watch industry.
A subsidiary of SQY Therapeutics focusing on developing medication for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Its board members include Pascal Ferré and Dr. Luis Garcia.
Further notes about the Only Watch financial inquiry
Since its inception in 2005, Only Watch has grown exponentially particularly over the last two editions. In 2017 it started to heat up with some very cool lots such as the bronze Tudor Black Bay which sold for CHF350,000 and an FP Journe Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante Bleu for CHF1.15 million. In 2019 it made waves in the industry for selling a stainless steel Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime for CHF31 million, allowing the auction to catapult to a cool CHF38,593,000. Subsequently, the 2021 edition raked in CHF30 million with a total of 53 lots all sold.
Throughout this time, the charity auction has achieved something truly remarkable in that it has succeeded in galvanizing an industry which is otherwise quite segmented. Since the 2017 edition, some brands have seen this as a once-every-two-years opportunity to really push its watchmaking creativity and technicity to the limits. Collectors have also become truly excited by the lots on offer, donating generously for their desired watches — after all, it is for a good cause.
Founder of Only Watch Luc Pettavino has consistently been a great spokesperson and ambassador for the organization. He has been promoting the event very actively, getting the endorsement of HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco, and has done much to grow it from a small 35-lot auction to the present edition with over 60 lots including some of the biggest names in haute horlogerie. For comparison, its inaugural edition in 2005 raised USD2,327,000, the top lot being a Richard Mille by Philippe Starck that sold for USD347,000.
To date, Only Watch has raised nearly 100 million euros over nine editions and approximately half the amount has been disbursed to organizations such as SQY Therapeutics, Synthena AG and others (predominantly universities and research centers) in grants and fellowships.
With less than three weeks to go until the 2023 Only Watch auction, Pettavino and his team are obliged to manage this public inquiry professionally and without delay.
MORE FROM ONLY WATCH
|Movement||Self-winding caliber SW200-1b; 41-hour power reserve|
|Functions||Hours, minutes and seconds|
|Case||41.5mm; 316 steel with Cerulean blue stonewashed Cerakote coating, matte vintage navy aluminium bezel insert; water resistant to 300m|
|Dial||Matte vintage navy; hour markers outlined in Super-LumiNova|
|Strap||Vintage navy TPU-coated nylon; additional vintage navy nylon with fabric keepers|
|Limited Edition||Limited Edition of 200 pieces|