First launched in 1978, the Quantième Perpétuel by Audemars Piguet was the world’s thinnest automatic perpetual calendar. The reference 5548 was the first reference of this newly released perpetual calendar, birthing a category of watches which has taken on many different forms. Sources note that total production was documented at 2,183 pieces, and of those, yellow-gold cases were the most widely produced at 2,066 units.
However, this early example stands out for its rare dial configuration. Whilst most examples of the reference 5548 feature applied indices, this example features printed Roman numerals, which imbue this piece with an even more classic aesthetic. Though the change is subtle, it does give the watch a different aesthetic and persona. This early dial also features other traits which single it out as being part of the brand’s early production, such as the small “Audemars Piguet” signature of the “Swiss” only signature at the bottom.
The lines of the Quantième Perpétuel were penned by Jacqueline Dimier, who is considered by some as the protégé of the legendary Gérald Genta. The perpetual calendar indications are laid out in an intuitive manner. The date and day are shown at 3 and 9 o’clock respectively, with the months displayed at 12 o’clock. A moonphase indication is placed at 6 o’clock, with graduations for the moon position just above.
As this is one of the earlier examples, the sub-dials are not recessed, enclosed between two thin black strokes, with the 6 o’clock sub-dial in a semicircle. Meanwhile, the gold stick hands provide excellent legibility against the white background. The case is a double-stepped bezel, with three pushers only very visible when the watch is turned over. At 36mm in diameter and less than 8mm thick, this 5548BA sits comfortably on the wrist. On the reverse of the yellow-gold case, the watch features finely engraved markings, confirming the watch’s individual case number, which is below 800.
The reference 5548 is the first watch to be fitted with the ultra-thin, automatic calibre 2120/2800, derived from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s celebrated ultra-thin JLC 920 movement. The calibre 2120 was an initial project of Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1967, funded and contributed by Audemars Piguet, and famous for its adoption by Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin.
Audemars Piguet Quantième Perpétuel Automatique 5548BA will be subject to 20% VAT.