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Parthian Watch Company

Audemars Piguet Extremely Rare and Very Special Manual Wind Cal. VZSS, Serial Number 51960, Early 1940s

Audemars Piguet Extremely Rare and Very Special Manual Wind Cal. VZSS, Serial Number 51960, Early 1940s

Regular price $25,850.00
Regular price Sale price $25,850.00
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This is an extremely rare and collectible Audemars Piguet (AP) wristwatch in remarkable condition. It represents an early execution of the rare Valjoux VZ series movement in a time-only AP watch. At the time of its production 80 years ago, this was a very exclusive and expensive watch that captured all the elements of a classic dress timepiece in precious metal. It is 33 mm in diameter, which is small by today’s standards, but measuring 43 mm lug-to-lug with stepped flared lugs, the watch has a much larger presence on the wrist than the diameter implies. This remarkable watch is only 7.6 mm thick.

A Rare and Early Use of the VZSS Movement

What elevates this watch to a rare and collectible status is the exceptionally large, robust, and accurate chronometer-grade movement housed within. To connoisseurs of vintage watches, the movement is instantly recognizable by its ¾ plate design, distinctive curved shape of the openings between the bridges, and large balance wheel. Introduced in the 1920s, the Valjoux VZ series is a13 lignes caliber measuring 29.5mm in diameter. AP used this ebauche (albeit sparingly) in complicated watches into the 1980s.

The VZ series movement was used primarily as the base for chronographs and complicated calendar watches including ones at the very highest tier of the Swiss watchmaking. For example, Patek Philippe used this base movement in their landmark Ref 1518 perpetual calendar chronograph Grand Complication.

This caliber has a large balance wheel, adjusted to 8 positions rather than the customary 3 or 5 for time-only production watches. Because of the powerful mainspring (designed to drive calendar and chronograph complications) and its robust ¾ plate design, this VZSS movement is exceptionally accurate. AP used this caliber in several of their highly valued observatory chronometers. These observatory watches were developed specifically for the Swiss Observatory scientific competition at Neuchatel and were typically not for retail.

The finer details of the movement are evident in the photos. The balance is fitted with a blued overcoil Breguet hairspring. The supremely polished pallet bridge is anchored at one end with a ruby. The bridges show amazing metalwork and beautiful execution of “black polish” on steel. The movement is meticulously decorated with Côtes de Genève stripes.

Condition Report

The watch is in remarkable condition considering it is 80 years old. The case shows minor signs of wear, but in our opinion remains unpolished. Two strong undisturbed hallmarks are evident on the case: one under a lug and the other on the side of the case. The faceted stepped lugs are well defined and sharp, and retain their original symmetric proportions. The serial number appears as clear as the day it was engraved behind the case.

The dial is original and unrestored. The enamel on the signature and the minute track is raised and totally intact. The Roman numerals show patina, but they remain untouched.

Technical Data

Movement: VZSS 13’’’ Manual Wind, Adjusted to 8 Positions

Jewels: 17

Frequency: 18,000 VpH

Power Reserve: 48 hrs

The ABP Concept Custom Strap

We installed a beautiful custom-made brown lizard strap from our friends and partner ABP Concept in Paris. Use our coupon code PWC15 for a 15% discount off their watch straps.


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