Audemars Piguet Star Wheel 25720BA
If Urwerk took a more classical approach to watchmaking, I think the result would be something like this marvelous AP Star Wheel. The Wandering Hours complication, a recent revival, has seen Urwerk shot to fame alongside a handful of smaller brands. But Urwerk’s real innovation is in presentation and design. The mechanical complication has been around for centuries. And, like most trends in watchmaking, AP was there first and did it better.
It is said that the very first wandering hours complication was a night clock designed for Pope Alexander XII in 1656. That open-worked display was the inspiration for this atypical design. This Star Wheel was the result, a product of more than two year’s development. The design uses three sapphire discs which rotate independently on a central wheel. The main rotating ring turns a full 360 degrees in an hour, while each of the discs point to the minutes over a 120-degree sector. Those discs point to the correct minute.
The dial maintains an austere classic design for such a complicated mechanism. The upper minutes track is contrasted against some beautiful hand-finished engraving work. The central wheel isn’t exactly open-worked, but parts of the mechanism are on display by necessity. It’s quite a harmonious contrast of modern mechanism and classic design. The automatic caliber 2224 is finished to a high standard with a 40 hr reserve.
This example is strong. The gold stepped case is unblemished, with very very slight marks of wear on the rear. This is a watch which has been stored for most of its life, if I had to guess. The piece comes from a well-known retailer in Switzerland.
Find this Star Wheel here from K2 Luxury for an undisclosed sum.