“Sold!” On November 11, 2017 the auctioneer’s hammer at Christie’s, Geneva, sealed the fate of the Arpal 1 watch. This unique object, designed and developed by the LAURENT FERRIER and URWERK watchmaking firms, gained considerable press attention among the lots at the Only Watch 2017 charity auction. The results of almost a year of teamwork were thus dispersed and the profits allocated to research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy — a degenerative disease. “It’s a moment that we had been waiting for,” says Laurent Ferrier founder of the eponymous watch company, “because a truly great understanding grew out of our joint venture. Felix Baumgartner, Martin Frei and I spent a lot of time together talking about finishes, visions, and generally pushing the project forward. The day of the sale marked the end of the story, but we didn’t want it to end there. So after a quick discussion and exchange of views, we were all agreed for a lap of honour.”
The story therefore has an epilogue. LAURENT FERRIER and URWERK have developed and signed four watches, poles apart from Arpal 1 in colours and finishes. “We will be producing these four watches to be sold for the benefit of medical research, to be consistent with our contribution to Only Watch,” declare Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei. “This project is just as exciting as its predecessor. We worked from the same components, but the emotion had to be different. It was quite a challenge to make something just as beautiful but totally different. But that’s just how it turned out. We started with shades of anthracite grey with delicate matt finishes from sanding and shot-blasting.”
The four watches will be made in titanium cases and feature Urwerk’s trademark wandering hours indication. The 12 hours, in groups of three at the end of four rotating arms, pass in turn along a scale of 60 minutes, giving both an analog and a digital reading of the time. The clean lines of the case are taken from the streamlined bodies of Laurent Ferrier’s favourite cars. Nothing offends the eye in these smooth surfaces.
So what shall we call them? They won’t have a name, because they do not constitute a new collection. They merely represent the lap of honour of an outstanding team.