If anything, the last six months have reinforced our appreciation for all the hard yards that our frontline healthcare workers put in every day. As charities around the world do their bit to raise funds for healthcare professionals and research workers, the watch industry too has done its bit. We present five watches that launched this year that raises funds for medical charities and research institutions around the world.
Shinola Detrola Champ
The Detrola Champ, with its multi-colored striped dial was originally designed to commemorate the 2020 Summer Olympics but now the Detroit-based company is using this watch as a fund-raising tool for healthcare workers in the city.
From being a watch that was designed to honor the champions of sport, this is now a watch that is being billed as something to honor the real champions of the Summer of 2020, the frontline health workers. Every cent from the sale of the watch is being donated to the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan – specifically, their Healthcare Worker Fund.
The watch has a 43 mm wide case with a steel core and a glossy cream TR90 resin outer shell. The striped matte dial features a the Shinola Detroit and Detrola collection logos and is accented with white Arabic numerals and Super-LumiNova hands. It is powered by a Swiss quartz movement (the Argonite 705 movement is sourced from Ronda) and is paired with a black silicone rubber strap. The watch is available on the brand’s website and is priced at $395.
Nomos Glashuette Ahoi for Doctors Without Borders
Nomos has had a longstanding relationship with charity organization Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). This year they launched two steel models in the Ahoi range – a 36.3 mm Ahoi Neomatik and a 40.3 mm Ahoi Datum model.
While the first model is powered by the self-winding DUW3001 Neomatik caliber, the Ahoi Datum runs the DUW5101 movement. Both watches have a galvanized white silver dial with the 12 hour marking in red, a characteristic of all Nomos-MSF watches. The bottom of the dial has the subtle print “Ärzte ohne Grenzen” which is German for Doctors without Borders.
Both watches are limited editions of 250 pieces and have the engraving “Sondermodell Ahoi für Ärzte ohne Grenzen Deutschland” which is German for “Special model Ahoi made for the German division of Doctors without Borders”. For every watch sold, €250 goes directly towards funding the MSF. While the Ahoi Neomatik is priced $4,350, the Ahoi Datum retails for $4,780. Both watches can be bought from the brand’s website now.
Breitling Suprocean Heritage ’57 Limited Edition II
The Superocean Heritage ’57 Rainbow limited edition was the highlight of the vintage-inspired Superocean Heritage ’57 capsule collection unveiled in April. A second limited edition, the new Superocean Heritage Automatic 42 ’57 Limited Edition II, was unveiled in May to benefit medical charities fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Breitling has identified charities in France, Italy, England, Japan, Spain, and the United States as beneficiaries; it's no coincidence that these are also Breitling's six most important markets. The brand is also donating an additional CHF1,000 to these charities for each of the first 100 Superocean Heritage ’57 Limited Edition II watches sold via their website. In total, the company will donate CHF500,000, which will be split equally among six charities. Price? $4520 on the leather strap and $5,025 on the steel mesh bracelet.
Ressence Type 1 Slim #WatchAgainstCovid
Indie brand Ressence will produce a one-off timepiece based on its popular Type 1 Slim model that features a design unearthed via a competition that featured entries from watch enthusiasts around the world.
The unique watch’s design was chosen from 466 entries from around the globe who submitted their #WatchAgainstCovid19 designs. The winning design is a pastel blue watch signed by 58-year-old Englishman Raymond Ramsden, a father of two who lives in Yorkshire. The watch is currently being brought to life at Ressence’s manufacture in Switzerland.
It will be auctioned off during the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Important Watches sale on July 11. Proceeds from the sale will support the Covid-19 Research Programme run by KU Leuven University in Belgium. While there’s no way to ascertain how much this one-off watch will eventually fetch at the July auction, a regular production Type 1 Slim retails for around $20,600. Read more about the watch here.
Urwerk UR-100 “Fight C-19”
A Star Wars-inspired gold version of the radical Urwerk UR-100 timepiece was launched this year with a limited run of 25 pieces. The first watch in the 25-run limited edition was auctioned off for charity on May 8 for a whopping CHF96,500 (that’s about $99,590). Out of this amount, CHF40,000 ($41,500) was allotted to fund research to help in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Though the watch was a numbered limited edition of 25 pieces, the first watch in the series would not carry a limited edition number plaque on the case, but just the engraving "Fight C-19".
An Iranian national based in Liverpool, England ended up with the winning bid. It was also going to be up to the winning bidder to decide the charity they wanted Urwerk to donate the funds towards and the winning bidder chose the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) association. Read more about the watch here.