An online watch auction organized by Time+Tide, a watch publication based in Australia, is raising money to support relief efforts in the wake of bush fires that have ravaged the country since September. Bidding closes Thursday, Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. EST.
Dubbed “Watch & Act!” the sale features 16 timepieces from 14 brands, all listed without a reserve, including two one-of-a-kind models created for the sale: the Zenith Pilot Rescue, “Australian Rescue” Edition Unique Piece and the Hublot Classic Fusion “Watch & Act” Edition Unique Piece.
Time+Tide founder Andrew McUtchen said he had the idea for the sale after attending LVMH Watch Week in Dubai earlier this month.
“Meeting with 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?’” McUtchen wrote in an editor’s note about the sale.
“Australia makes up roughly one percent of the total luxury Swiss watch imports, but it really feels like 100 percent of the industry’s hearts and minds are with us and supporting us in this crisis,” McUtchen tells Robb Report. “It wasn’t a case of having to win some of the donors over; every single one of the supporters you see on the auction site opted in without cajoling or convincing needed.”
The sale is highlighted by a number of noteworthy wristwatches, including nine limited editions (not counting the two unique pieces mentioned above). Among them are an H.Moser & Cie Pioneer Centre Seconds watch owned by U2 bass player Adam Clayton, offered by the brand with his blessing; the Oris Divers Sixty-Five Limited Edition for Hodinkee; and the Doxa SUB 200 130 Years Limited Edition.
The most valuable piece in the sale is a Bulgari Serpenti Tubogas watch in 18k yellow gold, estimated at $25,000-$35,000.
McUtchen also singled out the Rolex Datejust ref. 1601 signed by Tiffany & Co., donated by famed Rolex collector Eric Ku. “This watch is in exceptional condition and, for a 1974 model, it comes with exceptional buyer protection, including a two-year guarantee and a free service from Watchworks in Los Angeles,” he says. “In addition to the gesture, it was Eric’s words that really moved the world—he recorded a video for us to introduce the piece that says how hard it is for as an animal lover like him to ‘see the images of animals dying and people being displaced.’”
The money raised by the auction will go to two state-based firefighting organizations, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and the Country Fire Authority in Victoria, and two wildlife rescue organizations, Wildlife Victoria and the World Wildlife Fund, as well as one specific relief fund for an area that was hardest hit, the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, says McUtchen.
“Some members of my family live there and sent me some very frightening texts through the worst of the fires,” he adds. “They were literally waiting to jump into the river should conditions have worsened at one point. It was a very dire situation.”