Times change, and in 1929 the audemars 15300 blue world looked completely different as it does now. While today Cartier is a fully integrated manufacture, in the 1920’s they just entered what would be a very successful partnership with Edmond Jaeger and also obtained high-end movements from other manufactures like the one in this watch, from Audemars Piguet.
A very subtle and discreet watch, it actually houses an impressive complication, especially for the 1920’s. The lever on the side already shows a hint of this, because it is, in fact, a minute repeater, of which even Audemars Piguet only made movements between 1906 and 1929.
It looks exquisite in the tonneau (dare we say Tortue) case of this Cartier. While the Arabic numerals are different from what we have come to expect from Cartier, it still looks very much like a audemars piguet royal oak offshore rose gold 44mm from La Maison. This is interesting as Audemars Piguet has also made nearly the same watch with their own signature on the dial, so we should see Cartier as a retailer, not the manufacturer. This was quite common in those days, as also other prestigious brands such as Tiffany’s, sold watches from other Swiss brands in their boutiques. The case is crafted from platinum, which was also the material of choice for the stunning bracelet.
Rather than becoming more and more affordable, almost the opposite trend can be seen in repeaters – they are becoming, increasingly, places where brand names showcase their highest expertise, and at correspondingly high prices also. Certainly one of the most recent watches to fall into this category is Audemars Piguet’s “Supersonnerie” – a minute repeater eight many years while in the making, intended to offer a slew of technical improvements that AP thinks will make it nothing less than the best-sounding repeater while in the world. (The term “sonnerie” is most often seen in reference to grande sonnerie watches, which strike the time in passing rather than on demand; however, the term taken alone may also refer to a repeater, which strikes on demand. The use of “sonnerie” here might be confusing, so we should clarify that the Supersonnerie is often a minute repeater, rather than a grande sonnerie.)
There is even quite a bit of pedigree to this audemars piguet 15300st as the original owner was Henry Haven Windsor Jr., who was the son of the founder of Popular Mechanics magazine, and who was able to grow its circulation to 2 million. It is also his name, as well as his Chicago address that can be found on the back of the watch.
The movement has been designed to create a deep, three-dimensional effect. The construction exposes the freesprung balance at 3 o’clock, and AP has thoughtfully inverted the escapement to improve the view from your dial side. The manufacture caliber 4101 capabilities a solid 22k gold winding rotor spinning on ceramic bearings. Each part in the movement is decorated by hand. These time-consuming operations by highly trained specialists contribute significantly to the cost from the observe. The mainplate wears horizontal C?tes de Genève on the front and perlage, or circular graining, on the back. The bevels and countersinks are polished.
No wonder that this watch is a coveted part of the history of both Cartier, as well as Audemars Piguet, and not to forget of watchmaking as a whole.