Lot 332
  • 332

Audemars Piguet

80,000 - 120,000 CHF
203,000 CHF
bidding is closed


    MVT 27819 CASE 27819 MADE IN 1921
• cal. 10HPVM manual winding nickel lever movement with gold wheels, 18 jewels, cut bi-metallic compensation balance • silvered dial, painted Arabic numerals, outer minute track, blue steel Breguet hands, subsidiary dials for date, day, month and moon-phases • 18k white gold polished case, engraved snap-on back • case, dial and movement signed, movement signed Gübelin

Catalogue Note

This magnificent wristwatch is historically important in the development of the calendar wristwatch. The archives of Audemars Piguet show that this wristwatch was the first of its type made by this illustrious watchmaker. Manufactured in 1921, Audemars Piguet delivered the watch to Gübelin in 1924 at a cost of CHF 1,025. Beneath the original owner’s name: “L.Stewart Barr, U.S.A. 1924”, the watch carries a highly significant inscription by Gübelin: “this is the first calendar wristwatch ever made by us and I believe it to be the only one in existence, E. Gübelin, Lucerne, 1924, Switzerland.”

Audemars Piguet have confirmed that this wristwatch was the first and only example of this calendar model delivered to Gübelin in 1924. Therefore, although Gübelin took possession of further examples of these calendar watches in the period up to 1929, it was the only watch that would have been known to Gübelin at the time their inscription was made.

This important wristwatch was sold for US$155’500 at Sotheby’s, New York, in 1987 against a pre-sale estimate of 30’000-40’000 USD. The cataloguing at that time stated that Gübelin confirmed the inscription to the case back.

Made during the early period of wristwatch production, this is a highly significant timepiece in the history and development of the wristwatch. The style of its rectangular case is one of the earliest ‘shaped’ designs to be produced. Rectangular wristwatch cases became increasingly popular during the 1920s and 1930s as the design possibilities lent by this new form of wrist timekeeping became more widely adopted. Such early incorporation of a full calendar with moon-phases within a rectangular case is extraordinary. Seen within this context, one can appreciate something of its "avant garde" nature. When Stewart Barr first owned this wristwatch, it would have been a sensation and one cannot help but imagine him proudly showing the inscription upon its case back to his admiring friends.

A similar example sold by Audemars Piguet to Gübelin, Lucerne in 1928 is illustrated in Audemars Piguet. Le maître de l’horlogerie depuis 1875, Flammarion 2011, p 154.