The Only Watch Auction Aims to Fight Muscular Dystrophy

Luis García, director of the laboratory team at the University of Versailles St.-Quentin-en-Yvelines in Versailles, France, where the chemistry behind SQY51 was developed, is equally optimistic. “If it works — in one year, maybe sooner, we will know if it works — this could be a toolbox translatable to many diseases. Maybe even cancer,” he said.

Monaco’s authorities have oversight of the charitable organizations based in the principality, but there are no requirements for the groups to submit or to publish audited financial reports. In the case of the association, Ms. Pettavino said, all of the basic financial information can be found on its website,

According to, the charity’s running costs are around 1 percent of the auctions’ proceeds, a proportion that Ms. Pettavino said was possible because there are only two full-time employees: herself and Alice Dupont, an event manager in Monaco. And they both work from home, with Ms. Pettavino dividing her time between Monaco and Paris.

The Pettavinos say their strategy has always been to be conservative with spending. “It is our responsibility to make sure that means is not a problem,” Ms. Pettavino said, noting funds are needed for continuing projects as well as new and future research.

As plans proceed for the 10th edition of Only Watch in Geneva in November, the timepieces are being sent on a world tour, which started in Los Angeles last week and continues Sept. 14-17 at Christie’s at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, followed by stops in Monaco, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Geneva and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The participating brands range alphabetically from Andersen Genève to Zenith — and the mechanical level of the timepieces ranges from time-only to super-complex minute repeaters that, thanks to miniature gongs, chime the time on demand. Visually, most are heavily adorned with métiers d’art techniques including guilloché or machine-aided engraving; miniature painting; mosaics; gem setting and marquetry.

“Each edition seems to surprise all of us with the level of the game that is rising — not by steps, but by floors in one go,” Mr. Pettavino said.