L.S. Audemars Repeater

John Pavlik

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Would anyone know the significance of the wording on this movement? It is marked Extra & Superior Adjustments ..
 

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Dr. Jon

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I am guessing here, but this is a a very high grade watch higher than usual even for this maker. At least one maker used "extra" to describe their top grade when they had a lower grade they called 1st quality. It has also been used to state the watch has a high degree of adjustment often meaning it went for a chronometer certificate.

Superior adjustment as an added mark is why I thing the term "extra" apples to the grade of this particulaar watch.

Louis Audemars had a problem in that his location did not permit the firm to compete but at least one Neuchatel records states that a the firm would have won an award had they been in the allowed region.
 

tick talk

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John, your photo is too small to get a good look at it, can you upload larger? I have some Louis Audemars info and the serial number may reveal more details. A descendant still has many of the company records and I can put you in touch with him if it would help. IIRC, Extra and Superior were terms targeting the American market. Extra at least referred to extra adjustment by their most competent regleur; it may even have been entered in the complications category at Observatory trials. Anyone else?
 

John Pavlik

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Thanks Jon.. I've been buying a couple of These older Audemars watchs numbered under 22,000, and must say they appear to be finished extremely well.. I do have the Audemars book, but have not seen one marked with these markings. This one also has a marking on the dust cover, under the name , of an S centered between two Fluer di Lise mark ....

I will ad a few photos, but it will not be until Monday
 

Audemars

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older Audemars watches numbered under 22,000
John,

I know I have often said there seems to be little rhyme or reason to the Audemars numbering system.
BUT if I had to make a guess, I don't think it had a lot to do with age or sequence.

I have a feeling that in the latter half of the 19thC they were assigning numbers starting "1****" to their "superior" products. Certainly the "register of superior watches" appears to support that view.

A lot of the stuff took years from inception to final shipment - indeed much was left over at the 1885 bankruptcy.

I would hesitate to judge age by serial number alone.

Looking forward to the shots.

P
www.audemars.co.uk
 

John Pavlik

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Thanks Paul ! Would you believe that the "S" mark on the dust cover would indicate a Superior Watch ? Where would one find the the " Register of Superior Watches " ?
 

Audemars

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The register is described in appendix "G" of the English edition which deals with the "Lost Ledgers" - numbered book No 2.
The numbers in that book are highlighted bold in the accompanying serial number booklet.
Can't comment on the "S" but it's possible.
Is this the same watch we corresponded about recently?
P
 

John Pavlik

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Hi Paul, I did sent you an email a couple of weeks ago but have not heard back.. I have attached photos of the watch and markings.. the case marking is F.A F. The case has a very nice bezel and crystal over the movement, in addition to the regular dust cover and rear cover..
 

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Audemars

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John,

I appear to have replied on 9[SUP]th[/SUP] December and I have just re-sent you the original text. This is a slightly edited version.

That number does not appear in our archive but it looks like a LA number and the click and the "Brassus & Geneve" are also confirmations - if any be required.

The number indicates that the movement was probably made between 1879 and 1882 but as I said, their numbers are not necessarily a guide to dating.

We have lists of outworkers and minor suppliers (incorporated in the more recent - and greatly expanded - French edition) but nothing corresponding to the initials "FAF" - but see below.

I trawled through ledger No 2 to see if any case-makers had those initials but most of the "superior" watch cases at that time were made by Meylan Frères whose production unit was actually at the Cret Meylan and I think in one of the Audemars' buildings. Others were noted simply as made in Geneva or London. (This watch was clearly made for the English-speaking markets)

Then I had a thought. We know that a number of movements were "taken over" and finished by two of the grandsons who later established successor companies after the 1885 bankruptcy. One of them traded later as Francois Audemars Fils and this could be a movement finished and cased by him. But we'll never really know.

I can't shed any light on the S + two arrows, neither does Zantke as far as I can see.

In case this is my last post before Christmas, happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year to everyone, together with my sincere thanks for all the tolerance and enlightenment during 2014

Paul
www.audemars.co.uk
 
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Audemars

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They had three quality designations - 2nd, 1st and "superior".

In my stupidity I was looking in all the wrong places for the "S" and the "arrows" - and I was actually looking for arrowheads.
Finally found them.

The "arrows" are clearly just decoration and, yes, in that position and that context I would say the "S" almost certainly implies their "superior" grade.

P
 

John Pavlik

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An interesting feature, the hairspring stud is one I can't seem to find on any of the phots of Audemars watches in the Audemars His Life and Work, Book..
 

Dr. Jon

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I noticed that too. From my limited sampling of top grade Louis Audemars pieces ,I think these guys were from another universe! These watches are so good it almost hurts to look at them.

My theory is that on these, they assigned the watch to their best workers and let them do what they pleased. At this grade level they are all unique items and these loved to strut their stuff.
 

Audemars

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they assigned the watch to their best workers and let them do what they pleased.
Well, we have a bit under 500 names of people who worked for the company in some capacity or other between 1844 and around 1880.

I have LOTS of Audemars (not all closely associated with the partners), Meylans (including CH), Favres, Benoits, infinite Piguets, Golays, &c &C - so I guess Jon is right.
No doubt many of them went on to work elsewhere either for themselves or for others - with what consequences for the Audemars one can only guess at.

P
www.audemars.co.uk
 

John Pavlik

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Jon and Paul, I agree with your thoughts.. The finish the attention to even the smallest detail on the Audemars examples I have are the best I have seen.. Thanks for everyone's input and opinions, they are truly appreciated..
 

Audemars

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The finish the attention to even the smallest detail...............are the best I have seen.
There was a family anecdote - possibly apochryphal - that the founder, Louis Audemars, insisted that all screws be polished to a mirror finish, including those which wouldn't be seen.
That I believe; but I am really not sure about the assertion that all the slots in the screw heads had to line up with the circumference of the movement.....................
P
 

Audemars

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John,
For your interest I have just now been asked to identify a very beautiful watch with the same decorative engraving and the "S". It is a minute repeater, with lunar phases, chronograph and perpetual calendar - dated 1883 and with a four digit number starting with a zero!
I give up.
P
 

Dr. Jon

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What blew me away on mine was that the bottom of the detachable safety finger on the lever was black polished. Just the presence of this feature means top grade but on the examples I have by another famous maker of similar name the file marks are visible on this part.

You have to take out the balance to see this, so unless you know what you are doing, "Don't try this at home".

This is why I believe the anecdote about the screws.
 

John Pavlik

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Paul, while the polished screw heads are a visually reality, the alignment of slots does not appear on my 3 examples :), but I have not put a screwdriver on them to see if they all have the same torque tightness !
The watch you you presently are looking at sounds wonderful, all the complications... I can only hope to view and hold one of those. If possible, post a photo for all of us to enjoy...
 

kurtnz

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What an absolutely wonderful watch. I can only dream about seeing one like this in the flesh.
Could the numbering be just for complicated movements like this? Separate numbering sequences for different complications?

Just speculations I'm afraid.


Wishing you all a Happy New Year.

Kurt
 

Audemars

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Could the numbering be just for complicated movements like this? Separate numbering sequences for different complications?
Well it's possible I suppose, but it would need a LOT of minute analysis to get there and at 76 I'm not sure I have enough time......
The number for one of the most complicated things (the "La Royale") they ever made was 12112.

P
 

John Pavlik

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After looking thru the "Book' it does not appear that complicated movements were numbered oddly or for any apparent reason that I can observe.. I'm sure there must of been some reasoning to the "numbering madness", as the quality of the work would lend itself to some type of organization.. Paul, being a descendant, I would think thru the gene pool, your ideas may have the most merit to sequencing and numbering..
 

Audemars

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Well it's nice of you to say so but I'm not sure the DNA is still that undiluted.
As I have said before, I'm just a poor bloody retired shoemaker with an odd heritage.
The nearest thing we have to a key is the "Register of Superior Watches", all of which are numbered 1++++ and which cover all sorts of variations.
But then an anomaly like this surfaces which makes a nonsense of the whole thing.
Velly solly
P
 

Omexa

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"but I am really not sure about the assertion that all the slots in the screw heads had to line up with the circumference of the movement". This is to my mind would be very poor engineering policy with varying torques around the circumference of the movement. For example a cylinder head has to have the same foot pounds of torque for the head to be flat. Regards Ray
 

John Pavlik

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Ray, I think Paul was referring to how meticulous L.S. was in detail.. Although very difficult to do, I am sure thru exact machining one could conceivably accomplish this with equal torque on each screw head. It would, in my opinion, be a colossal waste of effort.. :) I have often wondered why the English punched, with dots, on the screw heads to match the corresponding place on the movement that it was "assigned" too..
 

John Pavlik

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An interesting point about numbering.... When looking at all the photos, the pendants and crowns do not seem to have date sequence.. As it relates to serial numbers and style time frame..
 

Omexa

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Hi John, The dot system was a very efficient way of making sure the screws went in the same hole and eliminated the problem of differing lengths of screws, which can be disastrous if in the wrong hole. These early Watchmakers had a lot of built up knowledge over the years. I wish that there was a general handbook that had these tips in it. Regards Ray
 

Audemars

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.............one could conceivably accomplish this with equal torque on each screw head. It would, in my opinion, be a colossal waste of effort.
Well, like I said, that bit was only an apochryphal family anecdote. I agree with John, you couldn't do it without variable torques and however good they were we are still talking about the 19thC.
Paul
 

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