Christie’s New York, December 16 2015
Sold for: $341,000
While Patek Philippe continues to dominate the high-end auction sales, moneyed buyers are shifting towards other blue-chip makes in search of quality and rarity – and there are few dial names where the two go hand-in-hand so readily as with Audemars Piguet’s watches of the early 20th century.
Marcus Margulies, owner of the Marcus boutique on London’s Bond Street, has long regarded vintage Audemars Piguet wristwatches as undervalued and has built-up an impressive collection – certainly the best in private hands – as a result. So it is not surprising that he was the successful bidder for this superb steel-cased chronograph from 1937.
The watch was covetable for many reasons – not least the fact that between 1930 and 1950, Audemars Piguet made only 300 or so chronographs, a mere fraction of the quantity produced, for example, by Patek Philippe.
But what made this watch truly special was that fabulous (and original) enamel dial with its dual scales – a tachometer around the edge marked in miles per hour and a central, spiral telemeter. Buff-coloured radium numbers and radium hands complete the picture of a superb, unusual and original watch of a design not usually associated with Audemars Piguet.
As a watch for modern-day wear, perhaps its only drawback was the 32.5mm diameter of the case. But according to Christie’s catalogue note, it wears exceptionally well thanks to the wide spacing of the lugs which lend the case a more substantial presence.
In summary: A truly rare watch in remarkable, original, condition from a dial name which is finally achieving the recognition it deserves in the vintage market.