Audemars Piguet Star Wheel
Today the DNA of Audemars Piguet lies within its most successful collection, originally, launched in 1972, the Royal Oak proved to be a shining star for the brand. Prior to Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei’s, Urwerk, lay the Audemars Piguet Star Wheel, originally, introduced in 1991. The then newly introduced ref. 25720 managed to respect traditions of old and also offer an avant-garde mystic.
Star Wheel Origins
The origins of the Star Wheel date back to 1655, upon the request of Pope Alexander VII, who was thought to have complained about the futile tick-tock sounds of the clocks in his sleeping quarters, requested for a silent solution. The Campani brothers were approached by Cardinal Barberini and tasked with the ‘honour’ of solving this rather farcical dilemma. The Campani family was one of innovators and at the forefront of the renaissance era. In doing away with the verge escarpment, Pietro Tommaso Campani, invented the silent escapement, by using a pendulum that could turn continuously without interruption. The nature of the business was different back in 1980-1990, watchmakers, were permitted a certain degree of freedom nowadays this would be hard to come by. It is rumoured that the watchmakers at Audemars Piguet drew inspiration from the Campani brothers and it is difficult to argue otherwise.
The 18-carat yellow case of the reference 25720 remains true to Audemars Piguet’s heritage, the use of a step bezel accentuates the hand-engraved dial. The modestly sized 36mm case featured downward sloping lugs allowing for unparalleled comfort on the wrist. The contrasting use of both brushed and polished facets found on the case is reminiscent of older circular Audemars Piguet references. As much as the case embodies the classical side of Audemars Piguet the dial is a completely different story.
The Star Wheel’s timekeeping requirements are denoted by three sapphire discs, each disc features four printed hour markers. The 8 sided star found on the axis of each disc is responsible for the gilding hours, the discs move gradually until the 60-minute mark is reached, thereafter the next disc restarts the entire procedure. The sober typography allows for a rather undisturbed view of the impressive hand-engraved 18-carat gold dial. Most examples found within reference 25720 feature traditional guilloché, this particular example highlights the artisanal craft of Audemars Piguet. The carefully hand-engraved dial adds another twist and dimension to an already fascinating reference.
The reference 25720 is powered by the calibre 2124 is based on the Jaeger LeCoultre ébauche 888. The movement is finished to a high standard and features an open case back highlighting the Côtes de Genève. The movement boasts a 48-hour power reserve and adjusted to five positions.
Brand: Audemars Piguet
Movement: Calibre 2224
Case Diameter: 36mm, Yellow Gold
Box & Papers: Original Box and Extract (Upon Request)