The present watch is a very fine example of a complicated timepiece made by Louis Audemars for his faithful client, the renowned Horloger de la Marine Charles Oudin in Paris, one of his main clients since around 1860.
It features Louis Audemars' early pendant winding and hand-setting mechanism, developed by Hector Audemars in 1838 (see Louis-Benjamin Audemars - His Life and Work by Hartmut Zantke, p. 131), and his counterpoised lever, also called "Bishop's crook lever" (p. 192, pl.T92, op. cit).
The case is stamped with Louis Audemars' hallmarks consisting of a capital letter B in a shield for "Brassus", a lozenge-shaped cartouche with the double cross of Lorraine on a heart containing the capital letters "L.A." for Louis Audemars (p. 187, pl. T68, op. cit).
A similar watch, though minute repeating and not quarter repeating as the present lot, having a calendar with hanging moon phases to 12 o'clock, number 9'864, is described and illustrated on p. 246, op. cit. Amongst Audemars' earliest full calendar watches, the aperture for the moon phases is "hanging" as opposed to the more common layout of the moon showing "upwards".
The celebrated watch manufacture was founded in 1811 by Louis-Benjamin Audemars (1782-1833) and his sons in Le Brassus, Switzerland. Louis-Benjamin was one of Switzerland's most eminent watchmakers, a creative genius, perfectionist and immensely hard worker. Following his apprenticeship with Philippe Samuel Meylan he worked for about two years as a "master pupil" for Breguet before establishing his own company. After Louis-Benjamin's death in 1833 his sons continued the business until 1885 when the firm was liquidated.
The manufacture made high quality pocket watches and invented various systems, notably a crown winding and hand setting mechanism in 1838; between 1838 and 1845, around 41 movements fitted with this invention were delivered to Patek in Geneva. Some of Louis Audemars' watches are among the most complicated timepieces ever made and were awarded with the highest distinctions at several 19th Century World Exhibitions.