Introduction to complications The history of watch complications is a fascinating view of the horological past and some of the most interesting watches ever produced. The “Grande Complication” watch is the ultimate embodiment of the best watchmaking craftsmanship. They are mechanical works of art that bring together three exquisite complications: minute repeater, perpetual calendar and split-second chronograph. Although collectors today see them in the form of watches, their lineage can be traced back more than a century.
Since its founding in 1875, Swiss Haute Horlogerie Audemars Piguet (Audemars Piguet) has created extraordinary complications in its own name, while also providing movements for others. Since 1882, even in times of crisis, the watch factory has been committed to keeping Grande Complication at the forefront of production and passing on this ancient craft from generation to generation. In 2016, Philips was fortunate to auction an extremely rare and unheard of Audemars Piguet Grande Complication Clock Watch, which originated in 1892 and has no less than 11 complications.
In the early 2000s, fake Audemars Piguet made a bold decision to create a series of rare open complication watches. They chose the Royal Oak model to accommodate this spectacular movement. The Royal Oak was released during the Quartz Crisis in 1972, bringing a new direction to the watchmaking industry. As the world’s first stainless steel high-end sports watch, the Royal Oak designed by the famous watchmaker Gérald Genta has completely changed the overall case of high-end watches. The octagonal bezel is fixed by eight hexagonal platinum screws.
Phillips is very pleased to launch these four unique watches, intertwining ancestral craftsmanship with avant-garde design. The four skeleton models are numbered “1/1” and are made of 18-carat white gold, rose gold and yellow gold, as well as stainless steel, and are equipped with self-produced automatic winding movement 2885. As Audemars Piguet put it, calibre combines “three major horological complications represented by short-time measurement, timekeeping mechanism and astronomical display”, “handcrafted by a master watchmaker in Audemars Piguet Advanced Complications Workshop”. These Grandes Complications watches were recently repaired by Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus and sold to benefit The One Drop Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing safe water to all communities. Each comes with the original date warranty of the Audemars Piguet boutique in New York City, Audemars Piguet’s original wooden display box, a custom blue One Drop display box and an Audemars Piguet resonance box in the form of a piano. These unique boxes are designed to amplify the sound of the minute repeater and are carefully crafted by the talented cabinet maker and mosaic expert Stéphane Lassueur.
Audemars Piguet’s Grande Complications are real gems, not only because of their modernity and wear resistance, but also because of the watchmaking tradition they adhere to. These very rare timepieces are a unique opportunity to own these well-preserved examples of Audemars Piguet’s iconic masterpieces.
Through Guy Laliberté, the founder of One Drop, and his passion for watches, he established a long-term partnership with Audemars Piguet, which resulted in a meaningful collaboration.
From 2012 to 2014, the Audemars Piguet Foundation has been a funder of the One Drop project in El Salvador. Thanks to this collaboration, One Drop is able to include eco-energy stoves to significantly reduce the use of wood for food preparation and, therefore, protect the forests in the areas where One Drop implements its water, sanitation and personal hygiene projects. Audemars Piguet also donated exquisite watches, which will be auctioned in Las Vegas at One Drop’s flagship fundraising event “One Drop One Night”. The funds raised through these auctions enable One Drop to improve the living conditions of thousands of people in Latin America, Africa, and India.