Lot 123: Louis Audemars, Savonette, Chronograph-Rattrapante Morte

Auctionata Paddle8 AG

December 9, 2016, 6:00 PM CET
Berlin, Germany
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Description: Louis Audemars gold hunter watch No. 7.352 with two number rings for time zones. Reaumur thermometer, simple calendar, two independent jumping centre seconds (secondes mortes independantes) with stop-work, “rattrapante”, 1/5 lightning second (seconde foudroyante), small second, lunar phases and age. Made for the 1855 Paris World Exhibition. Movement made in the years 1852 - 1855, later case.
Cf. Louis-Benjamin Audemars: His Life and Work; Hartmut Zantke; p. 228
Provenance: Collection Hartmut Zantke

Exceptionally heavy, six-body, engine-turned 18ct gold case, with inscription “Medal awarded at the London World Fair 1851”, “No. 7.352 Echappement à Ancre Balancier Compensateur”, “Louis Audemars au BRASSUS” on the dome. Glazed movement, reeded band. Push-piece for the centre second in the centre case section above the lunar phase, five-piece hinges. Diameter 60 mm.

Enamel dial attached to the movement by screws, two recessed subsidiary dials for days of the week and date. Small second hand with offset lightning 1/5 second, lunar phases (29½ days), thermometer display “Reaumur/Froid/Chaud”, 11 blued steel hands. Signed: “Louis Audemars au Brassus”.

Very complicated gilded bridge lever movement “Louis Audemars caliber” with two separate wheel trains for two time zones and lightning second as well as jumping centre second, “rattrapante” mechanism developed by Audemars under the dial with steel claw to halt the chronograph. By pressing the push-piece once, the centre lower second is arrested, pressing it twice stops the superposed centre second. By pressing it three times the lower hand is made to fly back to join the superposed hand. A zero position of this hand is not possible, similarly the small lightning second hand cannot be stopped. Fine polished steel levers, thermometer with bimetallic bow. Compensation balance with gold screws with special equalisation lever, blued Bréguet balance-spring. Movement signed “Louis Audemars BRASSUS”.
Functional, visually very good condition with minimal traces of wear, cleaning advised

Comment: This watch is the first prototype – although without the striking-mechanism and perpetual calendar - of the four “Grande Complication” watches made later by Audemars;“La Millésime”, “La Russe”, “L’Universelle”,and “La Royale”, in which Charles-Henri Audemars first built a “rattrapante” mechanism into an existing movement alongside an independent, jumping centre second. The centre second pin, which protrudes through the drive, carries the other second hand of the “rattrapante” at its upper end.

To stop the lower “rattrapante” hand a round disc with a tooth segment was fixed to the shaft. Winnerl set the two upper second hands to be able to be stopped with the independent jumping second hand as well as with the fly-back hand. One hand is used to begin stopping, the other to end it. During the same period of time Audemars tried as well to stop with two centre seconds one on top of the other without having to stop the movement. The first chronograph with a hand that was brought back automatically to zero was invented in 1861 by Henri-Féréol Piguet who worked for Nicole & Capt in Solliat. Its founder Adolphe Nicole had founded a subsidiary in London. He patented his invention and presented his first chronograph in London in 1862 at the world exhibition. Louis Audemars also presented their first chronograph at this exhibition: a minute repetition with perpetual calendar, lunar phases and independent centre second, making one jump a second that could be stopped and reactivated, however, without being able to set it back to zero, after an invention by Jean-Moyse Pouzait from 1776. The combination of a chronograph with independent second led to the invention of the chronograph withrattrapante. The watch was sold in 1855 at the world exhibition. It was bought back in 1883 and resold in 1891 in a heavy new pompous case (260 gram). Today, after an overhaul of the movement, it is in very good condition.

Functional, visually very good condition with minimal traces of wear, cleaning advised

Louis-Benjamin Audemars: His Life and Work; Hartmut Zantke; p. 228

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