Audemars Piguet
Star Wheel | 25720BA | Yellow Gold

Wandering Hours

Regular price

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Audemars Piguet
Star Wheel | 25720BA | Yellow Gold

Wandering Hours

Regular price

This yellow gold Audemars Piguet Star Wheel features an unconventional, yet visually appealing, way of displaying the time. Audemars Piguet took inspiration from the wandering hours complication, which dates all the way back to the mid-17th century, and integrated it into a wristwatch for the first time. The revival of this concept has had a strong influence on other watchmakers since, notably on independents producing alternative-time pieces.

The wandering hours complication

It is believed that the wandering hours complication was first used on a night clock designed for Pope Alexander XII in 1656 by the Campani brothers, a well-known family of clockmakers in Rome. The insomniac pope requested the ability to read time in the dark, so an oil lamp was placed inside the clock case, illuminating the dial and allowing him to read the time through the open-worked numerals. The concept was briefly translated to pocket watches but was supplanted by the two-hand method of displaying the time.

In August 1989, Audemars Piguet watchmakers came across an article in an old Swiss watchmaking journal featuring an atypical clock, which indicated the time by means of three visible discs, themselves revolving around another disk. Audemars Piguet used this wandering hours clock as the inspiration for the Star Wheel. A year and a half of research went into the finished prototype, with the manufacture registering its own patent in the process. The Star Wheel was subsequently released in 1991.

An unconventional design

The Star Wheel displays time via three sapphire disks with printed hours, which rotate on a centre wheel, where the hour and minute hands are usually attached. The name of the watch is derived from the star-shaped wheels which connect the sapphire disks to this rotating centre ring. The hours on the disks point to the minutes on a 120-degree sector, gliding over them over the course of an hour. The rotating ring turns 360 degrees, one full turn, in 3 hours. Whilst not quite a jump-hour watch, a satisfying mechanical feature of the Star Wheel is the moment the sapphire disks jump into position, right before sliding over the minutes track.

The dial layout of the Star Wheel is aesthetically satisfying in its richness, with ample details to get lost in. The contrast between the traditional guilloché on the lower portion of the dial, the smooth finish of the minute indicator and the exposed mechanics in the centre - which are beautifully hand-finished with angling and polishing - offers a rich interplay of textures. Meanwhile, the numerals on the sapphire disks, which are executed in a playful font, seem to gracefully float above the rest of the dial.

The yellow gold case features a stepped bezel and short, down-turned lugs, which work proportionately well together. At 36mm in diameter, and with a remarkably thin profile, the Star Wheel sits comfortably on the wrist. The stepped bezel lends a classic aesthetic to an otherwise distinctive and unusual dial layout.

The movement  

This Audemars Piguet 25720BA Star Wheel is powered by the self-winding calibre 2224, based on a Jaeger LeCoultre ébauche, having been modified to integrate the wandering hours function. It features 33 working jewels, has been adjusted to five positions, and also integrates an oscillating weight mounted on an unlubricated ceramic ball bearing, with one segment of the weight made out of 21-carat gold.

The Set

The watch is accompanied by an Audemars Piguet green watch holder and an Extract from the Archives. The watch comes on our Luxembourg light grey Saffiano strap, with its original Audemars Piguet yellow gold buckle.

Brand: Audemars Piguet
Model: Star Wheel reference 25720BA
Movement: mechanical automatic AP Calibre 2224
Functions: hours, minutes
Features: wandering hours, display back
Case: 36 mm yellow gold
Crystal: sapphire front and back
Strap: Luxembourg light grey Saffiano strap, Audemars Piguet yellow gold buckle.
Lug/buckle width: 20/16mm
Year: c. 1991
Box & papers: Audemars Piguet green watch holder, Extract from the Archives
This yellow gold Star Wheel 25720BA from Audemars Piguet remains in very good condition overall, with some surface marks throughout, consistent with typical wear (with a few deeper marks on the bezel, notably at 12 o'clock and between 5 and 6 o'clock). The hallmarks, found between the lugs at 6 o'clock, are crisp and clearly defined. It is accompanied by an Extract from the Archives, confirming the case material and corresponding references numbers. It is guaranteed for authenticity and comes with a two-year warranty from A Collected Man

All of our pre-owned watches have undergone thorough mechanical inspections, including being ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and resealed if appropriate and tested for at least four days, to ensure they meet our highest timekeeping standards. Our pre-owned and vintage watches, unless stated otherwise, are covered by a full or a limited twenty-four month warranty. For example, due to their age, some vintage watches should not be subjected to the same conditions as when they were new. Please see our Terms & Conditions for further information. 

All of our new watches are covered by the warranty from the original manufacturer. Please contact us for further information.

We offer complimentary worldwide delivery on our watches. If ordering from overseas, delivery will depend on the value of the timepiece and the destination. All import taxes and duties are the responsibility of the buyer.

If ordering from the UK before 1 PM, your watch will be sent the same working day. The courier will depend on the value of the watch, with all watches delivered the next working day.

Please note that pre-owned goods (in the United Kingdom) are subject to a marginal rate of VAT, which can not be reclaimed. For further information, please see here

You can cancel your order without giving any reason, within 14 days from the day the watch has been delivered to you.

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