With Audemars Piguet Certificate of Authenticity confirming that the present watch no. 46'540 was produced in 1941 and sold in 1942.
This watch is among the rarest and most desirable of all Audemars Piguet wristwatches. Produced between 1941 and 1943 in only 10 examples, of these 10, only two had dials with Arabic numerals – the present watch and one other example the whereabouts of which is currently unknown.
The classic case with its distinctive sloping bezel and navette chronograph pushers, complex yet harmonious dial with perfectly proportioned gold Arabic numerals, blue tachometer scale and fine enamel on gold moon phase all come together to form a highly exclusive timepiece of great elegance.
Before 1990, Audemars Piguet made a total of only 20 watches across all models that combined the complications of chronograph with triple calendar and moon phases. Consequently these exquisite “double complication” timepieces have come to be the ultimate prize in vintage Audemars Piguet.
Of the 10 examples made of the present model of “double complication” only three are publically known today:
No. 45589 - manufactured in 1941, sold in 1942, now on display in the prestigious Audemars Piguet Museum
No. 45979 - manufactured in 1942, sold in this saleroom on 12 May 2008, lot 375
No. 46540 - manufactured in 1941, sold in 1942, the present watch
It is interesting to reflect that these complicated and expensive watches were made and largely sold at the height of the Second World War showing that the demand for high grade luxury watches was still in evidence even during that troubled time in European history.
A similar watch is prominently illustrated and described in Audemars Piguet by Gisbert L. Brunner, Christian Pfeiffer-Belli, Martin K. Wehrli, second edition, p. 247, pl. 346.