Specialist collector site watchpro.com last week announced that watchmaker Audemars Piguet was withdrawing its watch from the forthcoming Only Watch auction in Geneva, due to take place on November 5, over concerns about the management of the funds raised over 10 years from previous auctions.

In response to the Audemers Piguet decision, the Monaco Association has decided to postpone the auction until next year, while at the same time denying any mismanagement.

In a statement issued earlier this week, the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies (AMM) said it has decided to postpone the 10th edition of the Only Watch (OW) auction to 2024, originally scheduled for November 5, 2023, in Geneva.

The AMM was created in 2001 by a group of parents following the diagnosis of their children, with one objective: to accelerate research into a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare genetic disease, the Association said.

“In 2005, the AMM organised the first edition of Only Watch: a fantastic project bringing together some of the biggest watch brands and new talent to raise substantial funds for research into muscular dystrophy by auctioning unique timepieces created for the occasion, the charity said.

“The last two years have seen a major turning point in this epic journey towards therapy, with the validation by the French and European health authorities of a “first in human” clinical trial financed entirely by funds raised through OW, launched in June 2023 at the Garches hospital, in the Paris region.

“This impact is the fruit of nearly 20 years’ work by a unified group bringing together watch brands, buyers/donors, researchers, clinicians, organizational and logistical partners, and the media. Thousands of hours of work by thousands of people have gone into creating the finest charity auction of unique timepieces in the world.

“A few days before the auction, questions were raised about the allocation of funds and the governance of the AMM, an association of patients’ families.

“Answers were provided regarding the funding strategies chosen, the structures and projects supported, and the association’s accounts and budget.However, the time for certification, changes in governance and the imminent auction do not coincide. We cannot bring ourselves to cast doubt on the sincerity of the commitment of all the parties involved in this project, nor can we allow this wonderful story to be rewritten.

“We want to continue to move forward in harmony with the community that has rallied around this unique and ambitious charitable and scientific project, and so we are today taking the decision to postpone the auction to 2024.

“Luc Pettavino, founder of OW and Chairman of AMM: “We will continue to move forward, providing even more information on the virtuous and extraordinary actions we have achieved thanks to this dynamic. The agility that characterizes us has enabled us to make exceptional progress. One of our greatest joys is knowing, as we write these lines, that a group of children and young adults have been included in a clinical trial made possible by the Only Watch funds. It’s tangible, concrete and gives hope of a cure. That’s what’s important.”

FILE PHOTO: Audemars Piguet