Today we have a very special story… A story that I’m both sad and happy to write. Sad, for the main reason that it is all due to one of the world’s worse ecological events, the current Australian bushfire crisis. Yet, I’m also happy to write these words as multiple actors within the watch community – watch manufacturers and watch media – have decided to join a cause and to act. For once, all together, we can let our love for watches go a long way further than our wrists. We can make our passion be a solution to raise funds to help a cause. This cause is “Watch & Act!”, an auction of 16 watches with 100% of proceeds to be distributed across charities to help fight Australia’s environmental nightmare.
The bushfire situation
If you’ve watched the news in recent weeks, you can’t have missed what’s happening in Australia. The “Bushfire Crisis” is now known as one of the most terrible ecological events of the past decade. We’re talking hundreds of fires, all around Australia. We’re facing a series of fires that have already destroyed over 10 million hectares – by comparison, the already terrible 2019 Amazon rainforest wildfires destroyed 900,000 hectares of nature. Even worse, it is now estimated that 1 billion animals have died and millions of others are suffering from these bushfires. A third (yes, 1 out of 3) of the koalas in New South Wales have died. We’ve all seen the images… and this situation is truly intolerable.
Like me, you might think that there’s not much we can do – especially for those of us who live in Europe or in America. But you’re wrong. For once, our love for watches can make a difference that goes far beyond adorning our wrists with cool timepieces.
Time+Tide launches the “Watch & Act!” auction
“Watch & Act!” is an initiative of our colleagues at Time+Tide Watches, one of Australia’s leading watch magazines. Its founder, Andrew McUtchen, is himself directly involved in this auction, as some of his immediate family members live in the south-east region of Victoria, which has been particularly hard hit. As an answer to what’s currently happening Down Under, Andrew had the idea, using his own area of competence, to raise funds… He knocked at the doors of manufactures and watch media, including us and many more of our long-time colleagues.
The result, the “Watch & Act!” auction, is a series of 16 watches offered by brands and media. The auction, launched today on the Invaluable online auction platform at 9am AEST (11pm CET), will run for 10 days, until the 30th January. The auction features 16 watches and includes three unique pieces. All of them have been generously offered, without anything in return. This means that 100% of the proceeds from the auction will be distributed.
Andrew says “Several brands reached out and asked if they could auction a watch or two on our platform. This compassionate response reached new levels when I met industry and watch media colleagues in person – no matter where they were based, in Europe, Asia or America, the two questions were the same: Are you ok? How can we help?” This auction is a great initiative that can bring much more sense to our love of watches… Not only can you enjoy having a great piece of horology, but this will help to raise funds for the bushfire crisis.
The funds will be distributed across five charities; two rural fire services groups, two wildlife rescue groups and one fund created specifically for the south-east region of Victoria.
- THE COUNTRY FIRE AUTHORITY @CFAVIC
- WILDLIFE VICTORIA @WILDLIFEVICTORIA
- GIPPSLAND EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND
- NEW SOUTH WALES RURAL FIRE SERVICE @NSWRFS
- WORLD WILDLIFE FUND
The 16 Watches of “Watch & Act!”
Here’s a list of all 16 lots, with direct links to bid.
Lot 1 – H. Moser & Cie – Unique Piece, Personal Watch of U2 Bass Player, Adam Clayton
The personal watch of Adam Clayton, bass player of U2, this Pioneer Centre Seconds Unique Piece is the only Pioneer in existence without a brand name on the dial. It has not been polished and is literally ‘off Adam’s wrist to the auction’ – light scratches and wear marks remain. This watch has been generously donated by H.Moser & Cie with the blessing of Adam Clayton.
Lot 2 – Oris Diver’s Sixty-Five Limited Edition for Hodinkee
A unique, hand-wound version of the Oris Diver’s Sixty Five, created in only 250 pieces for Hodinkee. The team generously offer one of their own brand new archive models of the highly sought Limited Edition to the ‘Watch & Act!’ Auction.
Lot 3 – Bvlgari Serpenti Tubogas, 18k Yellow Gold
One of the key pieces in Bvlgari’s recent resurgence, the Serpenti Tubogas represents the height of feminine elegance. Note the serpentine Tubogas bracelet that snakes sensuously around the wearer’s wrist. It is offered here in 18k yellow gold with a silver opaline dial. This watch has been generously donated by Bvlgari.
Lot 4 – Longines Heritage Diver 1967
One of Longines’ coolest heritage models, a bold automatic chronograph with burgundy bezel, inspired by one the brand’s most famous watches, combining a chrono complication with diving capacities. This watch is generously donated by Swatch Group Australia.
Lot 5 – Hublot Unique Piece – Classic Fusion ‘Watch & Act!’ Edition
Another watch conceived from scratch for the ‘Watch & Act!’ Auction, the Classic Fusion ‘Watch & Act!’ Unique Piece features a ceramic case, carbon fibre bezel and a shimmering blue dial. The caseback is engraved with the words ‘Unique Piece’. This piece has been generously donated by Hublot and created especially for the auction.
Lot 6 – Nick Hacko Mark 1, Limited Edition, 1 of 200
The first of a run of 200 ‘Mark 1’ models that are keenly being awaited by their future owners, it was actually a present from Sydney watchmaker Nicholas Hacko to his wife… But is now being offered for the auction. The watch is in mint condition with a new kangaroo strap.
Lot 7 – Zenith Unique Piece, Pilot Rescue ‘Australian Rescue’ Edition
This Unique Piece with a custom Australian-themed caseback and unique dial and case combination has been conceived and created from scratch by Zenith. It marries the slate grey dial of the brand new ‘Rescue’ series of Pilots with a bronze case. It is engraved with the words ‘Australian Rescue Edition – Unique Piece’ on the caseback. This watch is generously donated by Zenith.
Lot 9 – Oris James Morrison Academy of Music Limited Edition
This Oris jazz watch is a homage to the Australian jazz musician James Morrison. It features a gradient ‘dégradé’ blue dial and a caseback engraved with the Academy of Music logo, with contrasting Arabic numerals marking the hours. This watch is generously donated by Oris, with the enthusiastic support of the man himself, James Morrison. It is number 2 of 1234 pieces.
Lot 10 – Seiko Prospex SPB101J
A stainless steel sports watch that’s not only water-resistant to 200 metres but also has a workhorse automatic movement and an impressive build quality for the price point. The black bezel and dial create a high contrast canvas against the bright white hands and hour markers, which are also filled with glowing Lumibrite for low-light environments. The Seiko Prospex SPB101J1 is fitted to a comfortable stainless steel bracelet.
Lot 11 – Bausele Pilot All Black
The Bausele Pilot Automatic All Black features an unusual and eye-catching dial layout. The dial has been rotated, moving the 12 from where it normally sits to what is traditionally the two o’clock position. Built with the modern aviator in mind, it is a functional choice allowing the time to be easily read without removing the hand from the controls. This watch is generously donated by the founder of Bausele Christophe Hoppe.
Lot 12 – Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic
This classic three-handed model from Frederique Constant with gloss black dial is a dress watch par excellence. It is presented here with high-polished baton indices, razor-sharp sword hands and an elegant crocodile strap. It is generously donated by Wamada Jewellers in Sydney, Watchfest and the Sydney Chinese Community.
Lot 13 – Doxa SUB 200 130 Years Limited Edition, 17 of 130
Released at Baselworld 2019, this SUB 200 130th Anniversary Limited Edition diver’s watch was profoundly popular, and the run of 130 pieces sold out almost before it was released. Time+Tide’s own stock of this model, 30 pieces, was sold in just under two hours. They are offering their own archive piece for sale here.
Lot 14 – Alpina Full Black 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph
With its striking appearance, the ‘Full Black’ Alpina 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph demonstrates an aggressive and distinctive personality. The model features an intense black PVD-coated case made out of stainless steel. It is powered by the Al-760 movement, comprising 233 components with a 38-hour power reserve. This watch is generously donated by the team at MONOCHROME.
Lot 15 – Frederique Constant Manufacture Moonphase Fratello Exclusive
The Frederique Constant Classic Moonphase Manufacture Fratello Exclusive is produced in a limited run of 29 pieces, and are all individually numbered on the caseback. The 42mm three-part-case holds a convex sapphire crystal and clear caseback revealing the inner workings of the FC-712 calibre. This watch is generously donated by our colleagues at Fratello Watches.
Lot 16 – Rado HyperChrome Ashleigh Barty Limited Edition
Ash Barty has collaborated with Rado to release a watch this year, bringing us the Rado HyperChrome Ashleigh Barty Limited Edition, a white-hot polished ceramic watch that perfectly matches the uniform of Wimbledon, which was her first junior Grand Slam win – ahead of her career-defining Grand Slam win at the French Open in 2019.
Lot 17 – Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Green Arabic Steel Seddiqi & Sons
This eye-catching special edition launched at the Bi-Annual Dubai Watch Week 2019, features a satin-finished steel case and lush starburst dial inspired by the green in the UAE flag – a colour chosen to inspire hope, growth and prosperity – and four Hindi Arabic numerals painted in Super-LumiNova. This is the first Bell & Ross model to ever feature Hindi Arabic numerals. This watch has been generously donated by Seddiqi Holdings.