A very fine and rare yellow gold chronograph wristwatch

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  • Manufacturer: Audemars Piguet
    Year: 1942
    Movement No: 45'984
    Case No: 45'984
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 13 VZA, 21 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Gold-plated pin buckle
    Dimensions: 33mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Audemars Piguet letter confirming production of the present watch in 1942 and its subsequent sale in 1943

  • Catalogue Essay

    Audemars Piguet is among the most celebrated names in the industry, and the manufacturer of one of the most appreciated and renowned sport’s wristwatches of modern times, the Royal Oak. While it has today the structure of a modern watchmaking company, intriguingly the modernization and rationalization process happened only in the early 1990s. Before then, the company had a much more of a “boutique workshop” structure, with a very limited output.
    This is the reason why vintage Audemars Piguet chronographs (and complicated timepieces in general) are an extremely scarce resource.

    The present piece is a representative of wartime Audemars Piguet production. The elegant and simple lines of the case, combined with its highly readable and utilitarian dial, render the watch supremely elegant. In fact, it is obvious how the entire design of the piece follows its function (a Bauhaus principle which inspired the designs of more than one company at the time) and is engineered with maximum ease of operation and readability in mind. The tragic events of the 1940s further produced a noticeable shift in the watchmaking style of the time, amplifying the minimalist Bauhaus design aesthetics of pieces made during that time.

    Beyond its scarcity and appeal, the watch comes with a history fully documented by Audemars Piguet’s Archives: originally born with a champagne dial with “12” and “6” pink gold applied numerals, the watch was brought back to Audemars Piguet for a service in 1960, when it was given the present dial, diverging from the original for the silvered color and the yellow gold indexes. Another passage in Audemars Piguet workshop is documented in 1973, when the dial was expertly restored by the company. It is a safe assumption, judging by the dial quality, that the watch was since then very sparsely worn, and it arrives to us today in impeccable condition.

  • Maker Bio

    Audemars Piguet

    Swiss • 1881

    A specialist in the manufacture of complications since it was established in 1881, Audemars Piguet never ceases to impress with a rich history of creating bold, even audacious, timepieces underpinned by traditional watchmaking at its finest. This Le Brassus-based Swiss manufacturer is one of only two major manufacturers still owned by the founding family. Since its earliest days, AP is considered a leader in the field of minute repeaters and grande complication pocket and wristwatches. The brand is devoted to preserving the history of watchmaking in the Vallée de Joux, showcased at their superb museum in Le Brassus.

    Today, the brand is best known for its Royal Oak models, a revolutionary luxury sports watch launched in 1972. Other key models include early minute repeating wristwatches, vintage chronograph wristwatches, such as the oversized reference 5020, perpetual calendar watches and the Royal Oak Offshore, first introduced in 1993.

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A very fine and rare yellow gold chronograph wristwatch

1942
33mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF15,000 - 25,000 
€12,900-21,400
$15,900-26,500

sold for CHF30,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 81
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018