Only Watch, the world’s most high-profile charity watch auction, returns in 2019 in its eighth edition to continue raising awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and pursuing a cure for this genetic disorder primarily affecting male children. MB&F is participating in the Only Watch charity auction for the fifth time, donating one of its creations, Tom & T-Rex, to be sold in support of the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies.
All previous MB&F Machines created for Only Watch were unique pieces from existing collections that incorporated visual elements related to the auction. For this 2019 edition of Only Watch, MB&F and L’Epée have made the unprecedented choice to contribute a previously unreleased piece, highlighting the special nature of the auction.
‘Tom & T-Rex’ will be the first – and a unique – example of the T-Rex clock co-created by MB&F and L’Epée 1839, which is planned for general release at the end of August 2019.
What sets ‘Tom & T-Rex’ apart from the main T-Rex collection to follow? A sculpture mounted atop the body of the hybrid beast, shaped like the figure of a young child. The rider of T-Rex – who MB&F and L’Epée have named Tom – is both companion and ward of his redoubtable steed.
Tom specifically represents the children living with the degenerative disease that is Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes the gradual loss of basic motor functions, including the ability to walk. Tom, who spends his waking days tethered to an unfavourable reality, has found in T-Rex a friend who can take him on adventures beyond his wildest dreams. Measuring only 4.3cm high, the sitting rider is less than a fifth as tall as the 26.5cm T-Rex; in real-life proportions, it could easily look right into the second floor of an average apartment block. Cross-legged in a particularly youthful, tranquil yet vulnerable pose, Tom stares down into a transparent blue marble of Murano glass nestled in his cupped hands, perhaps imagining a different world…
Children are capable of great imaginative feats, and especially so in the case of those limited by illness or disability. T-Rex offers an escape for elastic minds, carrying its little companions away into fantastical realms with the earth-shaking strides of the mightiest of dinosaurs, under the fierce protection of an all-seeing cyborg eye. Made of hand-blown Murano glass, the “eyeball” also functions as a clock dial, indicating hours and minutes via two curved hands driven from the centre of the hemitoroidal component.
T-Rex is a metaphor for the factors that sustain the daily existence of a sick child: the flights of imagination that nourish the spirit and the scientific advancements that will one day effect a long-awaited cure. These symbolic elements are without a doubt what strike at first – but they are substantiated by the mechanical nature of the clock, crafted according to highest-quality clock making tradition. Beating within the 201 finely finished components is a hand-wound mechanical movement conceived and manufactured entirely in-house by L’Epée 1839: hours and minutes are regulated by the balance wheel beating at 2.5Hz (18,000vph), powered by a single barrel offering no less than 8 days of power reserve. Time is set with a key, fitted through the centre of the Murano glass dial, while the power reserve is separately maintained with the same key at the rear of the movement.
T-Rex is crafted primarily from palladium-plated brass, bronze, stainless steel and Murano glass, the contrasting strength and fragility of the materials providing a challenge to balance when executing the bold design. Despite being completely fixed in position, the jointed legs of T-Rex are deliberately posed to suggest energy and a sense of motion. A combination of sandblasted and polished surfaces directs the way that light interacts with the body of T-Rex, so that the clock seems light and agile, ready to run off with its diminutive passenger to a land where disease has ceased to exist.
More about Tom & T-Rex
Tom & T-Rex is a unique piece created for Only Watch, the first example — albeit with design modifications — to debut from the main T-Rex collection that is set to launch in autumn 2019.
As with all the MB&F clocks, T-Rex is a collaboration with Switzerland’s premier clockmaker, L’Epée 1839. Out of the 10 previous clocks made jointly by MB&F and L’Epée, T-Rex bears the closest design kinship to the clocks inspired by the animal kingdom such as Octopod or Arachnophobia. In the use of materials such as coloured Murano glass, it is closest to Medusa. Conceptually, the sentient cyborg panopticon “eyeball” that forms the main body of T-Rex shifts the clock closer to the robotic brethren of Balthazar, Melchior and Sherman.
The legs of T-Rex were modelled directly on actual Tyrannosaurus Rex bones, using 3D scans of fossilised dinosaur skeletons as references to create verisimilitude in the final design.
In line with the other Only Watch editions from MB&F, the Tom & T-Rex has a special design addition that is deeply connected to the charity and its cause — a palladium-plated bronze rider, sculpted to take the form of a young boy, holding a mystical light blue marble of Murano glass.
Also made of hand-blown Murano glass is the hemitoroidal dial of the clock that forms the “eyeball” of T-Rex. The “Only Watch” unique piece uses a light-blue tinted Murano glass; the subsequent collection will feature Murano glass components in red, deep blue and green.
Beating at the heart of T-Rex is a movement of 138 components, including the 2.5Hz (18,000vph) balance. Time is set with a key, fitted through the centre of the Murano glass dial, while the eight-day power reserve is separately maintained with the same key at the rear of the movement.
Established in 2005 and organised by the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Only Watch is a biennial auction specialising in one-of-a-kind timepieces. The funds raised go towards research in treating and curing neuromuscular diseases, in particular Duchenne muscular dystrophy. To date, the auction has raised over EUR 40 million, over seven editions.
The 2019 Only Watch auction will be held in Geneva, the third year that the city is hosting the auction. Prior to the sale, the collection of watches up for auction will embark on a world tour, beginning with a showcase at the Monaco Yacht Show (25–28 September 2019) before travelling through Asia, the Middle East, the United States and finally back to Europe.
Only Watch 2019 will take place on Saturday 9 November and welcomes for the second time the experience and expertise of auction house Christie’s in presenting the world’s premier watchmaking charity event.
Tom & T-Rex: technical specifications
‘Tom & T-Rex’ is a unique piece created for the 2019 Only Watch charity auction. A collection of T-Rex limited editions will follow in late August 2019.
Hours and minutes
Dimensions: 308 mm tall x 258 mm x 178 mm
Total components (movement + body): 201
Weight: approximately 2kg
Dial and marble: Murano hand-blown glass
Materials: stainless steel, palladium-plated brass and bronze
Finishing: polishing, satin-finishing and sandblasting
Body components: 63
L’Epée 1839 movement, designed and manufactured in-house
Balance frequency: 2.5 Hz / 18,000 vph
Power reserve: 8 days
Movement components: 138
Time setting: winding key to both set the time (in the centre of the dial) and wind the movement (on the barrel axis at the back)