Interview: We Ask Audemars Piguet Historian Michael Friedman To Walk Us Through The Best Vintage AP's For Sale In Geneva
The Top Vintage AP's To Look At This Auction Season
By Michael Friedman
For gatherers and devotees of vintage watches, the May and November barters in Geneva are a period of concentrated submersion and incidental force not at all like some other minutes or occasions in the schedule year. Large numbers of the world’s most capable gatherers, guides and vendors unite for a few days and nights of centered examination, enthusiastic offering, and theoretical discussion.
The first Geneva barters I went to were in November of 1999, when I had quite recently taken the action from custodian of the National Watch & Clock Museum to the Department Head of Watches for Christie’s New York. This was a few years into a vocation that now traverses twenty years. I’ve had the uncommon chance to be important for the activity from the viewpoint of the bartering house, the viewpoint of a counsel and gatherer, and since November of 2013, as the Historian of Audemars Piguet .
Those HODINKEE perusers who follow barters, just as Ben’s energetic and itemized inclusion of vintage Audemars Piguet , are well aware of the extraordinary extraordinariness and natural quality of notable watches from the autonomous Le Brassus producer. Audemars Piguet has never left the hands of the establishing families and produced constantly watches, in any event, during worldwide emergencies, including WW I, the Great Depression and WW II, just as during industry disturbance like the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s and ’80s. The company zeroed in on complications since the establishing of the firm in 1875. During the late 19th and 20th hundreds of years, Audemars Piguet delivered fewer watches than by far most of other famous Swiss makers. This extraordinariness is reflected in the sale inventories, as most sell-offs have an aggregate of fewer than 15 Audemars Piguet watches, just a modest bunch of which were made preceding 1980. Consequently, uncommon vintage AP watches with complications that are in extraordinary condition have been known to electrify vintage and antique watch gatherers. Another reality that is charming to vintage Audemars Piguet gatherers is that reference numbers with severe model particulars were just presented by the company after 1950, delivering all watches made preceding that time as unique. You may discover two Audemars Piguet watches made preceding 1950 that share numerous subtleties, yet there will always be some variety on the off chance that and dial plan starting with one then onto the next.
May 2015 is an especially solid season for vintage Audemars Piguet watches. I have chosen a few examples from the upcoming deals that mirror the recorded roots, innate extraordinariness, uncompromising quality, and unique plan codes that educate and stimulate Audemars Piguet authorities and every so often create interest from gatherers of other brands.
May 10: Phillips “The Geneva Watch Auction: ONE”
Lot 174: 18K White Gold Wristwatch, Reference 5093
Dubbed the “Disco Volante,” or flying saucer, by Italian gatherers, reference 5093 is an ideal exhibition of the offbeat cases and dials that Audemars Piguet made during the 1950s. The amplified, motor turned bezel and profoundly adapted three-tone dial mirror the plan language of a company that had just wandered from its friends and competitors a very long time earlier. Until one has investigated vintage Audemars Piguet, there is frequently the discernment that the company’s pioneer and architectural-driven plans started with the notable Royal Oak in 1972, however, cutting edge propensities had for quite some time been reflected in the brand’s yield. This example is perhaps the most well-protected, unique condition reference 5093s that I have seen. The watch uses the great super slim type 2003 hand-wound development. Audemars Piguet presented type 2003 in November of 1953 with development number 60000. The development stayed underway for half of a century. I have given HODINKEE an archival photo of reference 5093 as it is an almost indistinguishable form to Phillips lot 174. There is a yellow-gold example on presentation at the Audemars Piguet Museum and another example has as of late been on display at the Espace Horloger de la Vallée de Joux.
Lot 176 & 177: 18K Yellow Gold Chronographs, 1942 And 1933
Between 1930 and 1950, Audemars Piguet created an extremely predetermined number of chronograph wristwatches – a sum of roughly 300 examples were made during this long term period and sold between 1934 and 1961, incorporating those with schedule and periods of the moon. They encapsulate Audemars Piguet’s huge innovative variety with shifting measurements, adapted case and drag plans, excellent dial completes, and outstanding segment wheel-chronograph developments. Phillips Auction House has not one, but rather two examples from this subtle class, including an early single-button-chronograph form.
Lot 176 was made in 1942 and highlights a perfectly oxidized 18K yellow-gold case and unique, unrestored dial. The oval-molded pushers, alluded to as navettes inside (olive-formed), are a characterizing characteristic of numerous vintage Audemars Piguet chronograph wristwatches. The tachymeter scale is in blue, which is how they were frequently planned during this 20-year run. Note the applied-gold, curiously large Arabic 12 o’clock numeral and motor turned auxiliary dials. Audemars Piguet chronograph wristwatches made during this period used profoundly completed Valjoux 13 ligne type developments. The hand completing of these developments is totally amazing – when the loupe reaches your eye and the development comes into center, you will go down the bunny opening. Examples with three auxiliary dials were given the 13VZAH assignment.
Lot 177 was made in 1933 and is the 10th chronograph wristwatch at any point created by Audemars Piguet, as per the Archives. It is one of not many single-button-chronograph wristwatches with lacquer dial to have showed up at sell off in the course of recent many years and the veneer stays unblemished with no hairlines 82 years after it was delivered. This example, which has never showed up at closeout, is likewise powered by an especially well-completed Valjoux 13 ligne type and incorporates the exemplary Audemars Piguet oval-formed pusher. An example in hardened steel is on display at the Audemars Piguet Museum.
May 11: Christie’s “Significant Watches” In Geneva
Christie’s lot 204 is a totally staggering, curiously large 38 mm minute-rehashing wristwatch delivered in 1951. This is the sort of model that enriches the historical backdrop of a whole class, much like the 40 mm Audemars Piguet chronograph, reference 5522, that Christie’s Geneva sold in November of 2010 . As per our progressing research in the Archives, Audemars Piguet delivered three examples of reference 5528. One of the three examples had been recently reestablished at Audemars Piguet, however it included a more modest type development and bigger bezel compared to Christie’s Lot 204. This is another intriguing reality in regards to early Audemars Piguet reference numbers – even after they were presented in the mid 1950s, models would regularly keep on having minor varieties in the event that and additionally dial subtleties.
The beginnings of this current Christie’s lot 204 stretch right back to the year 1885, just a short time after Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet established the company. The two complications and scaling down were a point of convergence for the originators. The 14 ligne development is one of the 82 smaller than expected moment rehashing developments made preceding 1900 and it was initially cased as a women’s moment rehashing pendant watch (47 developments were between 8 ligne and 12 ligne and 35 developments were 13 ligne or 14 ligne). It got back to the workshop in 1904 and was sold in its subsequent structure, an Art Deco case in 1921, preceding reaching its last structure in 1951 – the larger than usual and well adjusted 38 mm 18K yellow-gold case. The Archives detail each progression of the excursion that this watch took and Christie’s distributed the whole history in the inventory, including photos from the Archives. It is essential to feature that in 1900, as indicated by Audemars Piguet records, the scaled down moment rehashing pendant watch with 8 ligne development was so work serious that it cost in excess of a standard size fantastic complication pocket watch.
This especially enormous moment rehashing wristwatch has been on our radar at Audemars Piguet for around 18 months, as the watch was totally and fastidiously adjusted by Angelo Manzoni at our Restoration Workshop, which is under the leadership of Francisco Pasandin. Angelo and Francisco are not just among the extraordinary living restorers and conservators of vintage and antique watches, yet they are additionally wonderful, enthusiastic people who illuminate and rouse associates and the general population consistently.
Angelo and Francisco keep a profoundly coordinated stock of vintage parts at the Restoration Workshop, furnishing them with the motivation and particulars expected to reestablish even the most complicated and uncommon developments. When a component is destroyed, a new part is produced using raw materials using conventional strategies and regularly unique apparatuses. Additional parts are made and added to the vintage stock archive for use by people in the future of watchmakers. Regard for the inventiveness and uprightness of all watches overhauled at the Restoration Workshop is always kept up and is reflected in the broad protection and conservation endeavors, as exhibited by the outcome of the 1951 38 mm minute repeater, reference 5528 – lot 204 at the upcoming Christie’s May 11th sale.
Christie’s lot 240 is additionally one that should be referenced . It is a reference 5402 A Series, regularly alluded to as the Jumbo. So much has been written and distributed on this genuinely notorious model that I won’t reiterate the tradition of the Royal Oak, yet so, it was planned by the incomparable Gerald Genta and presented in 1972, making a completely new classification of extravagance tempered steel sport watches. It showcased flawless and complex case completing to a new age, it uses the praised 2121 type development – which is as yet underway – and it presented the alpha-numeric case numbering framework that actually exists at Audemars Piguet.
Lot 240 is reference 5402ST, A 674. The watch is in generally very well safeguarded condition with the first dial and wristband. The wristband is stamped Gay Frères – the observed Geneva jewelry producer that created the early examples, and is stamped I.72. The watch has been insignificantly cleaned as lines and edges are very well held. It ought to be noticed that the first crown and hands were supplanted eventually in the watch’s history.
On an individual and very HODINKEE-related aside, it was Ben Clymer who at first roused me to acquire An arrangement 5402 back in 2011. At that point, I had a few Audemars Piguet watches, however none that were delivered later than 1960. After four years, and A 90 gets more predictable wrist-time than everything else in my own assortment. As Ben featured a few years back , it isn’t just an outwardly effective and notorious wristwatch, yet it additionally wears so damn well on the wrist.
May 13: Sotheby’s “Significant Watches” In Geneva
The 1920s was a mind boggling decade for Audemars Piguet. Minute-rehashing wristwatches, high jewelry women’s watches, our most punctual moon-stage wristwatches, our first hop hour wristwatches, and our soonest skeletonized watches were all being created. What’s more, dazzling complicated pocket watches with contemporary style for the time span were likewise being made. Sotheby’s Lot 186 is a totally delightful example of the last classification: it is a 18K white-gold, open-confronted, minute-rehashing never-ending schedule pocket watch that was retailed by A L’Emeraude in 1928 and offered to the renowned piano player Alfred Cortot. Sotheby’s has a wonderfully well-researched index note on the immense accomplishments of Cortot and his commitments to melodic execution, instruction, and preservation.
The Archives affirm that the development is type 18SMQV, and the dial is made of gold with applied white-gold Arabic numerals. While pocket watches from different leading companies from the late 19th century frequently share comparative plan codes, Audemars Piguet watches from the 1910s on start to veer from the conventional approaches regularly taken by our friends. While old style and conventional watches always have and will probably always keep on being made, the strings of capriciousness and separation that Audemars Piguet is known for now in much of the current assortment were at that point coming into concentrate almost a century prior as shown by the different case styles, pendants, bows, bezel sizes, dial textual styles, and numerals that were used. Indeed, even without the name Audemars Piguet on the dial, experienced pocket watch gatherers and aficionados would take a gander at Sotheby’s lot 186 and instinctively know that it is likely an Audemars Piguet watch.
I’d prefer to say thanks to Ben and the whole HODINKEE group for welcoming me to share some point of view, understanding, and assessments on a few of the Audemars Piguet watches that are hitting the sale block in Geneva very soon. In the event that any of you have questions or research inquiries relating to Audemars Piguet watches in your assortment, kindly don’t spare a moment to get in touch with us .
We energize all Audemars Piguet and watch history fans to make the visit to our production line and Museum in Le Brassus – an encounter that HODINKEE has shrouded in detail . For those of you that go to Audemars Piguet occasions around the planet, you may have seen Museum watches showing up. Along with Audemars Piguet Museum Director Sebastian Vivas, we are doing everything we can to share features from the Museum assortment at our worldwide occasions.