Grande Complication

Discussion in 'Complicated Watches' started by dshumans, May 4, 2019.

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  1. dshumans

    dshumans Registered User
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    This is a rather spectacular Mathey-Tissot Grande Complication with an Audemars Piguet movement. It has a minute repeater, split chronograph with minute register, perpetual calendar, moon phase, and age of the moon in an 18K gold case with 56 diamonds around the bezel and a white gold (or platinum?) dial. I just posted it for the interest of this forum. I no longer own this watch because I sold it for $26K some years ago. Mathy-Tissot didn't make many complicated watches and may have made this with the Audemars movement for entry in an international watch show.
    IMG_1313.JPG Tissot Dial.jpg IMG_1319bc.jpg
     
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  2. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    Thanks for sharing that watch it really is fantastic.

    ......and great video!


    Rob
     
  3. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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  4. Scott Tzorfas

    Scott Tzorfas Registered User
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    Great watch and video. A gorgeous watch. Thank you for showing this.
    Scott
     
  5. Philip Poniz

    Philip Poniz Moderator
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    Why do you think the movement was made by Audemars Piguet?
     
  6. Philip Poniz

    Philip Poniz Moderator
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    The movement does not show any characteristics of Audemars Piguet. The main chronograph activating lever is held in place unlike any other made by AP (there are a few exceptions known, which AP bought from a different source. There was a period of time when AP was more of a retailer than a manufacturer).

    The clutch lever is unlike AP clutch levers.

    But the most significantly, the minute register mechanism, with its zeroing lever pivoted far from the crown wheel, is definitely not of Audemars Piguet.

    In fact, it is a type of lever found in LeCoultre chronographs. It is from a system invented by LeCoultre and patented in 1892.

    Ed. Mathey-Tissot of Les Ponts-de-Martel was one of the best clients of LeCoultre, on par with Vacheron Constantine and Wittnauer. The company purchased many complicated movements from them. In the beginning of the 20th century Mathey-Tissot was spending over 10,000CHF per year with LeCoultre.

    Your movement, which is relatively late, circa 1950, LeCoultre sold to many clients. Below is a photo of a virtually identical watch, one of six, that LeCoultre sold to Vacheron Constantin in 1951.

    LC for VC 1951 min, split, PC.jpg

    Philip Poniz
     
  7. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Philip, I know nothing about Mathey-Tissot. I only have one Mathey-Tissot in my collection, a beautiful 18k hunter-cased chronograph probably made in the late 1930s. Did Mathey-Tissot make this movement or was it made by or based on an ebauche made by another firm, e.g., LeCoultre?

    ACBE80AA-D7D5-4ABE-9E4D-F58163C9BF1E.jpeg
     
  8. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    I do not think I have ever read the instructions on operation of a split second. I normally think of the "split" hand as the readout and the continuous sweep as the recorder. When I use one of these, I stop the split hand and note its position and then release it to rejoin the other hand so it can be operated again to record a second event or as many events as one likes.

    An inking chronograph is actually better for the purpose since it just leaves its mark on the dial for each event and does not require the manual dexterity to stop/record/restart.

    If you are trying to capture two times close enough together to defy your skills in operation then stopping the second hand is your only choice. Since we suppose most of these were used at sporting events, the finish timing would use both hands. In a horse race, when the quarter split is wanted, the recurring split can be used to get both the quarter mile and half mile marks and perhaps the 3/4 also.
     
  9. Philip Poniz

    Philip Poniz Moderator
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    Your watch, Ethan, has nothing to do with LeCoultre. Take a look at the clutch lever that is pivoted outside of the 4th wheel (the small-seconds wheel). A construction like this is simpler than the one with the lever pivoted concentrically, but the meshing between the seconds’ wheel and the clutch wheel is never constant during the drop. The assumption was that it does not make that much of a difference since the drop is small anyway. LeCoultre always used a clutch lever that was pivoted concentrically with the 4th wheel.

    Your watch has a very characteristic crown wheel set far inside the movement. The construction allowed to shorten the activating lever’s arm and made it a convenient arrangement for a pushbutton activation, as in your watch.

    The movement was made by Universal Genève and is a derivative of their Calibre 60 (Fig. below) which they launched in the 1930’s.

    UG 60 M.jpg

    The split ¾ plate in your watch was made, most likely, for a specific request from Mathey-Tissot. Clients were allowed to request different shapes of plates and/or bridges, if an order was big enough.

    Philip
     
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  10. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Thanks, Philip.
     
  11. dshumans

    dshumans Registered User
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    #11 dshumans, May 12, 2019
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
    Philip,
    Here's an identical signed Audemars Piguet grande complication. See att'd photo of signed AP watch's movement and the Mathey Tissot movement. Also see the identical dial layout of signed AP grande complication watch. Very few companies had the ability to make a thin grande complication such as this and certainly Audemars Piguet was one of them and LeCoultre was another. Although, Audemars could have bought the movement from LeCoultre.
    Best Regards,
    Doug

    IMG_1319bc.jpg Audiemars Movement.jpg Audiemars Dial.jpg

     
  12. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    The movements are similar but not identical.
     
  13. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    This answers , in part, a question I have often asked myself but never found an answer. I was just thinking about starting a thread. Modern watches with lunar displays never show the lunar calendar so aren't a lot of use to my mind, just a gimmick.

    This is the first time I have seen a proper lunar calendar in conjunction with a lunar display on a watch. I had been wondering if they existed on pocket watches as they never appear on wrist watches. I had assumed they perhaps did on early pocket watches, I'm really pleased to see one with a proper lunar dial, and as you say using the second subsidiary like that is really clever.
     
  14. dshumans

    dshumans Registered User
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    Tom,
    An old timer told me that the main use was to time 2 different horses running the same distance, but separately, not racing together on the track. They'd start the chrono and time the first horse and use the split to mark and keep that time. Then zero the primary hand and time the 2nd horse. Therefore, each horse just took a click at the start and a click when they crossed the line. Then they could compare the two times accurately to see which horse was faster. I guess we'd need a time machine to go back to see if he was right.
    Regards,
    Doug
     
  15. Philip Poniz

    Philip Poniz Moderator
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    Contrary to popular belief, Doug, Switzerland had a considerable number of ebauche makers capable of making complicated watches. The reason that Louis Audemars, LeCoultre, and Audemars Piguet are so well known is due to the fact that, in time, they became etablisseurs that had their names on the dials, cases, and movements.
    The other, mostly anonymous to the public, ebauche makers are far less known. Here is a partial list of the ones who made complicated ebauches and were able to make your triple complicated ebauche:

    Aubert frères,
    Goy-Baud, Sentier (with an office in Lausanne)
    Jeanneret-Brehm & Cie, Sentier
    Henri Golay de la Forge,
    William Lecoultre, Golisse (close to Le Sentier),
    Meylan et Guignard,
    Meylan-Piguet, Le Sentier,
    Ulysse Montadon-Robert, Ste. Croix (with an office in Geneva),
    Nicole & Audemars,
    Piguet freres, l’Orient-de-l’Orbe,
    Victorin-Emile Piguet,
    Charles Piguet, Le Sentier,
    David Piguet de Gustave,
    Piguet et Lecoultre, Brassus
    Louis-Elisee Piguet (took over the above),
    Charles F. Tissot,
    Charles-Auguste Baud,
    Paul Nicole,
    E.M.T. & Cie.

    The small differences between the two movements are typical for two reasons; in time often its maker changed the ebauche and improved it. One of the most famous (or infamous) is Patek Philippe Cal. 350 which was changed probably a dozen times, and because each etablisseur had its specific way of finishing. This is why the same LeCoultre ebauches look a bit different. Please compare the ebauche and the finished movement in the introduction to the Complicated Watches Forum

    Philip
     
  16. dshumans

    dshumans Registered User
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    #16 dshumans, May 25, 2019
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
    Philip,
    Wow! Thanks much for the detailed info. Amazing that these all could make such a thin grande complication. Maybe Nicole-Nielsen also? I have a very different style minute-split junker movement by them.
    So AP bought this movement from LeCoultre like Mathey-Tissot did. I wonder how many were made.
    Best Regards,
    Doug
     
  17. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I have never ventured into watches much. I have my father's lever action Waltham that we found in his tool box at work. The mainspring was broken and it lacked a minute hand, so I repaired it and it is running again. I have no idea where he got it or what it's history is. However, the pictures and videos I'm seeing in this new forum have intrigued me enough I just might have to consider adding some of these to my growing list of interests. I'm going to have to tackle a simpler watch to see how to repair them .... then we'll see where it goes. Thanks to all for piquing my interest.
     
  18. Philip Poniz

    Philip Poniz Moderator
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    Yes, Doug, in this case it is easy; Audemars Piguet ordered a movement from LeCoultre. Interestingly, some of the most complicated watches AP ever sold were made by others, like by Louis-Elisèe Piguet, for example. In turn, they were sold by AP to a German company and, in the end, it was a German name left on the dial and movement.

    Generally, the relationships among the Swiss ebauche companies were convoluted.
    For instance, there are clockwatches made by Louis Audemars which, later, were sold by Louis-Elisèe Piguet to many companies, among others, to Louis Audemars II.

    Nicole Nilsen, I am sure, could have also made a movement like this. Yet, they also, used sometimes Swiss ebauches, like, for example, by Victorin Piguet.
     

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