Lot No. 646 (91st Auction)
Louis Audemars, Brassus & Gèneve, Case No. 13054, 60 mm, 190 g, circa 1881

A gentleman's impressive, large, heavy and almost as new minute repeating pocket watch with split seconds chronograph
Case: 18k gold, engine-turned, à goutte, numbered and signed gold dome, chronograph pusher via crown, pusher for split seconds chronograph at "1". Dial: enamel, radial Arabic numerals, signed, auxiliary seconds, 60 min. counter, blued spade hands. Movm.: bridge movement, frosted, gilt, signed, very finely matted and bevelled chronograph steel parts, ratchet wheel, ground and bevelled double hand tong with polished bevelling, separate ratchet wheel for split seconds chronograph, 2 hammers / 2 gongs, gold screw compensation balance, blued Breguet balance spring with 2 terminal curves by Phillips, counterpoised lever.

This watch is described and illustrated in: "Louis Benjamin Audemars - His Life and Work. The rise and fall of a watch making dynasty" by Hartmut Zantke, Leonberg 2003, p. 398.

Louis-Benjamin Audemars
Born in 1782 in the Vallée de Joux, he was apprenticed at the age of 16 to the already famous Philippe Meylan, who had specialized in making watch movements. Audemars' manual skills, keen perception and intelligence impressed Meylan so much, that a partnership was offered to him. In 1811 Meylan went to Geneva and made Audemars his successor. He left Audemars the workshop which produced movements for other companies. The new company Meylan formed with Piguet became beside Le Roy, Breguet, Jürgensen, Charles Oudin, LeCoultre, Piguet Frères, Bautte, Piguet & Meylan, Patek, Frodsham, Dent, and Benson important customers for Audemars. In 1832 Audemars decided to produce complete watches to sell under his own name. Louis died a year later leaving this challenge to his eight sons, who continued running and developing the Audemars company. Between 1832 and 1837 the company invented the keyless winding/setting system, which is known today as the Audemars system. Audemars catalogues list "Breguet" caliber watches, "Breguet style" repeaters with independent centre seconds, "demi Breguet" calibers and Breguet anti-shock devices (pare-chutes). The Audemars company was soon recognized as one of the best. At the London Exhibition of 1851 it showed 10 watches with different escapements and complications. The company became famous for its ultra-complicated watches. Among the honors Audemars received were: London 1851 First Class Medal, New York 1853 Bronze Medal, Paris 1855 First Class Medal, London 1862 First Class Medal, Academie Nationale de France 1856-1863 First Class Honor Medal, Vienne 1873 Medal of Progress, Philadelphia 1876, Paris 1878 1ère Medaille d'or, Croix de la Légion d'Honneur, Diplôme d'Honneur, Sidney 1879 First Class Medal, London 1880. Audemars was named Watchmaker to the Queen of England, which was a very rare honour to be bestowed upon a foreigner.
Estimate  17,000 - 30,000 €

Price Realised  22,400 €
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