With Audemars Piguet Certificate d'Origine dated 25 July 2014 and Restoration Booklet including detailed description and documentation of the watch and the work executed. Furthermore delivered with a copy of Audemars Piguet invoice dated 21 July 2014 for the restoration of the watch.
Vintage minute repeating wristwatches are amongst the rarest and most desirable trophies in today's collectors market. Due to the extreme cost of production, only an exceedingly small number of such horological masterpieces were made, all manufacturers combined. The present minute repeater however is doubtlessly one of the finest examples of this ultra-rare category, outstanding for a variety of details, most notably its very large diameter of 38 mm., the stylish visual appeal, the excellent condition and its superb repeating sound.
Purchased by the father of the present owner in New York as a present for the latter's wedding in the 1970s, it has remained in his possession ever since, used only for special occasions. Following the servicing and restoration in Audemars Piguet's workshops in Le Brassus completed in July 2014, it is overall in excellent, like new condition. It impresses by the clear and melodious sound generated by the 14''' movement of highest craftsmanship, the full body and sharp lines of the substantial case, sophisticatedly incorporating the repeating slide and the superb, perfectly proportioned dial, displaying a great shine.
Its uninterrupted provenance is likewise impressive: its 14''' movement came into the world around 1885 under the number 2844, mistakenly engraved as 3844. It was sold in 1889 as pendent watch and become number 8712 following its return to the workshops of Audemars Piguet in 1904. Around March 1921 it left the factory again, now in an Art Deco style case. In 1951 it found its final destination when being transformed into the present wristwatch number 8712, reference 5528, sold to Audemars Piguet New York on 23 October 1951.
According to the archives of Audemars Piguet, only two other examples of a ref. 5528 are believed to exist. Both are however only known from archival images, their whereabouts unknown, consequently rendering this watch the first and so far only reference 5528 to appear in public. To bring its rarity further in context it is interesting to note that Audemars Piguet produced only 47 of such small minute repeating movements between 1882 and 1900, including two of only 8 lines which are among the smallest in the world made by any firm.
Given the complex and costly manufacture of minute repeating movements, it is common practice for a watch manufacturer to upgrade and reuse existing calibres - a custom regularly employed also for tourbillon regulators and perpetual calendar chronograph watches, with or without repeating mechanisms.
Of exceptional rarity and quality, in outstanding condition and flawlessly documented, the present minute repeating reference 5528 is the perfect example of finest 20th century watchmaking, the ultimate trophy for the collector of unique timepieces.