If you’re remotely into watches and have the means and bandwidth to book a last-minute ticket to Switzerland, consider heading to Only Watch, a biennial charity auction taking place in Geneva this weekend. You’ll find 50 genuinely unique — and pricey — timepieces, all up for grabs to the highest bidder in the name of Duchenne muscular dystrophy research.
All the major players in the watch world, from Hublot to F.P. Journe to Tag Heuer, are bringing their rarest works of art for deep-pocketed collectors to fawn and fight over. You can browse the entire list of one-off marvels here, which are all expected to fetch well into five figures this weekend. But I’d like to call your attention to one particular timepiece: the one with a pinball machine inside.
Granted, I’m hardly a watch expert or even a novice, as the only thing I’ve consistently worn on my wrist for the last decade is a scar from a dog bite and a FitBit for about six weeks. But even I know that you don’t just happen upon a watch with a pinball machine in it every day, so Hautulence’s “BALL-e” — a one-of-a-kind spin on its Pinball model — is worth celebrating (and paying gobs of money for).
For the right price, you’ll get a grade-5 titanium case with a satin and polish finish; a laser-cut, sand-blasted, sapphire crystal dial (also grade-5 titanium); and a hand-stitched alligator strap bracelet. Of course, the main attraction is the functional pinball machine that lies within. The watch’s built-in minute repeater acts as the pinball movement, and a lever on the lower right side of the case serves as your flipper, which also triggers a wheel to spin while your balls bounce around the dial, all to divert you from keeping tabs on the slow death march of time.
The final wrinkle: Turn the light out, and the dial flashes a robot’s face — kinda like WALL-E — which makes a ridiculously cool accessory even cooler. The wristpiece is expected to draw bids between $24,000 and $39,000, so be prepared to pony up. Can’t make it to the auction? Bid online through Christie’s.