After achieving a successful auction year in 2015 with the acquisition of a variety of rare complicated watches, Swiss watchmaking brand Audemars Piguet is getting ready for the May 2016 auctions in Geneva. The Audemars Piguet Museum’s additions from 2015 include exceptional pieces that are central to the exhibition and preservation of Audemars Piguet’s heritage.
At the May 11, 2015 auction at Christie’s Geneva, the Museum acquired an important, oversized 18-carat yellow gold 38mm minute repeating wristwatch, produced in 1951. According to the Audemars Piguet Archives, this model, reference 5528/1063, was produced in only one piece.
Minute repeating watches have been a specialty and focal point at Audemars Piguet since the company was founded in 1875. The watch was estimated at CHF 150,000 – 250,000, and after intense, competitive bidding, it achieved CHF 605,000 – a world record price for an Audemars Piguet wristwatch at auction.
During the Phillips Geneva auction on November 8, 2015, the Audemars Piguet Museum successfully acquired a unique and impeccably well-preserved chronograph wristwatch made in 1941.
The stylish case is made of a combination of stainless steel and pink gold, featuring teardrop lugs, olive-shaped pushers and fitted with a rose-champagne colored dial. The auction estimate was CHF 100,000 – 150,000, attracting numerous global bidders, before reaching the final result of CHF 305,000.
At the December 10, 2015 auction at Sotheby’s New York, the only known Audemars Piguet pocket watch with confirmed United States Presidential provenance hit the auction block and was successfully acquired by the Audemars Piguet Museum.
Produced in 1922, this unusual cushion-shaped perpetual calendar pocket watch made in a combination of platinum and yellow gold was eventually gifted to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States of America, in 1954.
The dial has distinct Art Deco aesthetics and the case back features an applied monogram with the Presidential presentation engraving dated 1954. Estimated at USD $20,000 – $30,000, the watch ultimately achieved USD $45,000.
Further to the new additions to the Audemars Piguet Museum, several other exceptional historic Audemars Piguet watches were acquired by private collectors.
One of the highlights of the auction year was Audemars Piguet reference 5516, offered on December 16, 2015 at Christie’s New York. Made in a total of only nine examples, this perpetual calendar wristwatch was the world’s first model to include the leap year indication on the dial. This masterpiece from 1957 far exceeded its pre-sale estimate of USD $150,000 – $300,000, achieving $545,000, a world record price for an Audemars Piguet calendar wristwatch.
The 2016 spring auction season is promising to be just as exciting, with some interesting Audemars Piguet lots to soon be exhibited by the most important auction houses.