Audemars Piguet Quantième Perpétuel Automatique 5548Sold
Audemars Piguet Quantième Perpétuel Automatique 5548
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We are huge fans of Audemars Piguet’s automatic perpetual calendar line of dress watches that were introduced in the late 1970s. The ref. 5548 is the very first execution of this pioneering model.
As the watch industry was buckling under the weight of the quartz crisis, Audemars Piguet introduced the world’s thinnest automatic movement with a perpetual calendar complication. The resulting line of precious metal dress watches was in production from 1978 until the early 1990s and contained watches in different precious metals and with various dial options, often produced in small numbers.
The significance of the automatic perpetual calendar line is twofold. For one, it signaled Audemars Piguet’s return to its roots as a maker of high complications. Quite something at a time when the watch industry was experiencing a life-threatening crisis. Second, these watches, along with the recently introduced Royal Oak, allowed the company to grow rapidly while most of its competitors struggled or went under.
The ref. 5548 is the very first reference in the line-up. The watch is executed in a slim 18K yellow case, measuring a classic 36 mm. The case features a lovely stepped bezel, elegant downturned lugs, and a small crown.
This 5548 features a classic white dial with elegant applied 18K yellow gold stick indices and matching thin gold hands as well as three lovely recessed sub-dials that indicate the day, date, month, and phase of the moon. More importantly, this watch features the original dial that was only found on the earliest 5548s. These dials are made from porcelain and are characterized by fine hairlines that develop on the subdials over time, a feature referred to by collectors as a ‘spider dial’. Moreover, these early dials are signed “Swiss” only at the 6 o’clock position. As these dials were often replaced by later service dials with “Swiss Made”, a 5548 with an original dial is highly desirable.
The ‘Quantième Perpétuel line is powered by Audemars Piguet’s caliber 2120/2800 automatic movement, which is derived from Jaeger Lecoultre’s legendary ultra-thin caliber 920 base movement. This base movement was of course used, among others, in AP’s Royal Oak, Patek’s Nautilus, and Vacheron Constantin’s 222. For the QP line, Audemars Piguet reworked the 920 to include a perpetual calendar complication as well as a 21K yellow gold rotor.
This 5548 dates back to the early 1980s and comes on a brown alligator leather Audemars Piguet strap. The watch has just returned from a full service at our trusted Audemars Piguet service center and comes with the corresponding service papers and an extract of the Audemars Piguet archives.
Audemars PiguetAudemars Piguet is among the holy trinity Swiss maisons d’horlogerie alongside Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin. Audemars Piguet has a storied history of producing high-complication watches. It all started in 1875, when Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet founded the company in the heart of the Vallée de Joux, Le Brassus, Switzerland. This pure, rough and wild landscape, with deep, dark forests, ice-cold waters and the omnipresence of rocks and hills, provided inspiration and raw materials for the Swiss watch manufacture to develop the finest watches. Since its inception, Audemars Piguet has specialized in rare, valuable and highly-complicated watches like perpetual calendars, chronographs and chiming watches. Nowadays, the emphasis of Audemars Piguet lies on the iconic Royal Oak line.