There are some watches that are defined by their makers, imbued with specific designs, functionality or styling which become iconic in their own right. Think of watches like the Longines 13ZN, the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso or Breitling's Reference 2005. In other instances, watches like the Heuer Autavia or Omega Speedmaster become associated with famous wearers, their technology and aesthetics coming second to the legends to which they are ever connected.
Enter a room full of watch people and ask about Audemars Piquet and you'll likely be met with scads of tales about the prolific and pioneering Gerald Genta. And for good reason; his legendary Royal Oak design catapulted AP to where it is today and rewrote the rulebook of watch design, production and wear.
But in the annals of Audemars Piguet rests another name: John Shaeffer.
According to Audemars Piguet, John Shaeffer was "the vice-chairman of the Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation, a major U.S. company founded in 1920 that operated in the chemicals, automotive, oil and gas sectors." We also know that at some point in the early 1930s, Audemars Piguet customized a watch for Mr. Shaeffer who aspired to have the 12 letters of his name used as hour markers. AP obliged and retrofitted his platinum and gold minute repeater as desired. But outside this specific piece, little is known about Mr. Shaeffer, horologically or otherwise.
So it's puzzling that in the 1990s, Audemars Piguet launched a whole collection under the John Shaeffer moniker. Successful in its own right and an excellent benchmark for the brand's haute horological pursuits, the John Shaeffer collection rested at the heart of AP's offerings. Most watch collectors and enthusiasts have heard of specific models designed and built for special individuals, but watches linked to individuals from their origin are rare. The Charles Lindberg Hour Angle produced by Longines for the historic aviator and the commemorative 1949 Triple Date Moonphase watch (Ref. 2726) built by Jaeger-LeCoultre to commemorate the last LeCoultre family member, Jacques-David LeCoultre, are the only two examples that we could find.
Regardless of the significance of the Shaeffer epithet, what is clear is that the name has come to denote a very specific design language paired with interesting or haute complications. And in this instance, the name holds up.
The Répétition Minutes Star Wheel John Shaeffer model, produced in 1996, is one of only three ever to made. Produced in a titanium cushion-shaped case very similar in style to the original Shaeffer watch, this piece, #2, exchanges the traditional centrally-mounted minute and hour hands for star wheel wandering hour complication viewable through the fan-shaped aperture arcing from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock.
As if the interesting design, rarity and unusual case material weren't enough to make the watch special, it is also driven by a 34-jewel, nickle-finished, dual-gong Caliber 2867 minute repeater movement.
It's uncommon that watches this rare are made available for sale, so we are very excited to be able to offer it here. In stunning original condition and in flawless working order, this rare piece is possibly the most interesting Audemars Piguet we've had the pleasure of offering.
Titanium case is approximately 33mm (excluding crown). Audemars Piguet Limited Edition #2 of 3 examples. Calibre 2867 Minute Repeater movement.
Overall Condition: Watch is in superb condition throughout, with only the faintest evidence of wear visible. Wandering hour star wheel display is free from marks or scratches. Minute repeater chimes are clear and bright. Glazed display back is free from scratches. AP-signed crown.
Comes on one 20mm Audemars Piguet brown alligator strap with AP-signed steel buckle.
Also includes generic AP box and certification folder.