Prestigious Wristwatches

Hotel Richemond, Geneva, Mar 31, 2001

LOT 508

Audemars Piguet, retailed by E. Gübelin, Lucerne, No. 16978, circa 1915.Very fine, rare and important, extra-flat and small, minute repeating, 18K white and yellow gold gentleman's wristwatch.

CHF 130,000 - 160,000

USD 80,000 - 100,000

Sold: CHF 157,500

C. three-body, bicolor, solid, polished and brushed, yellow gold diagonal lugs, repeater slide, band, case back center and screw bars, white gold bezel and case back edge. D. matte silver with applied yellow gold Breguet numerals. "Cathédrale" yellow gold hands.M. 10''', signed Audemars Piguet, rhodium-plated, "fausses côtes" decoration, 29 jewels, lever escapement, cut bimetallic balance, Breguet balance-spring, repeater on gongs by means of a slide on the band.Dial, case and movement signed.Diam. 34 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 3


Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3 - 5 - 01


This 10''' movement is the smallest and slimest movement ever made for a minute-repeating watch.What is a Minute Repeater?A minute repeating watch tells the time both visually and audibly. A slide on the side of the case, usually near the #9, will activate two hammers in the movement. These hammers strike two gongs curled within the case. First one hammer strikes a gong of lower tonality; it will count out the hours. Then both hammers will strike both gongs alternatively to count out the quarter hours after that hour, and then the second hammer alone striking a gong of higher tonality will count out the minutes aftr that quarter hour. The repeating mechanism was developed by Daniel Quare. In 1687, he had patented a mechanism that sounded the hours and the quarter hours. The early repeaters used bells. At theend of the 18th century, two bent-wire gings became the more popular mechanism. In 1892, the first minute repeater wristwatch was produced by Omega, a model with a round-shaped case.Audemars Piguet started making miniature minute repeating movements at the beginning of the 20th century. From 1906 to 1920, some 35 minute repeating movements were made in their workshop. 20 of them were to equip wristwatches.Two previous identical movements of minute repeating wristwatches are illustrated in "Audemars Piguet", by Gisbert L. Brunner, Christian Pfeiffer-Belli and Martin K. Wehrli, p. 256, The N° 16976 is retailed by Gübelin, and the N° 16977 is made for Cartier.