Buying Time: Smoke & Swagger Edition

FPJourne Octa Sport Aluminum - Govberg for Perpetuelle

We’re going to have a little more fun than usual for this week’s episode of Buying Time, thanks to a stellar lineup of watches and a couple boxes of smokes which made for some fun camera work. Beyond the headlines, though, is a set of five pre-owned watches, all on offer at the same price but which run the spectrum when it comes to the “taste” category.  From those who prefer the term “gentleman” to those who carry themselves with a bit more swagger (and everywhere in between), I think this week’s lineup is a good representation of the diversity of choice available at the exact same price point.  As you will see, perceptions of taste and value can be quite different when it comes to big spending watches.

A Lange & Sohne Grande Lange 1 115.029 - for sale - Govberg via Perpetuelle

Let’s get into Buying Time:  Smoke and Swagger edition!

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Making the Leap: The Audemars Piguet Ref 5516 and A Look Into AP’s Full & Perpetual Calendar Wristwatches

Audemars Piguet Ref 5516 Perpetual Calendar

The first in a series of articles which take a look into the world of Audemars Piguet full calendar and perpetual calendar wristwatches of the 20th century, Making the Leap is a thrilling read (in a watch-geek kinda way!).

During the first half of the 20th century, very few companies were capable of producing perpetual calendar wristwatches.  The first perpetual calendar wristwatch is believed to have been made in 1925 by Patek Philippe.  In 1941, they introduced the first perpetual calendar wristwatch made in a series. However, as important and collectible as they are, these perpetual calendar wristwatches lacked the defining element of the perpetual calendar pocket watches that preceded them – the leap year indication.

Recent research has unveiled that at least three examples of perpetual calendar wristwatches were made at Audemars Piguet beginning in 1950; however these three watches also lacked the leap year indication.

In 1955, Audemars Piguet began production on the very first series of perpetual calendar wristwatches in the world to feature the astronomical leap year indication. This next evolution of reference 5516 was made in a total of only 9 examples. They feature meticulously finished 36.5 mm cases and beautifully detailed dials. To add even further to the rarity and desirability of this groundbreaking model, there are slight dial variations within the series, rendering certain examples as entirely unique…

The final variation of reference 5516 was produced in 6 examples, and the moonphase display returns to the traditional position at 6 o’clock. The leap-year cycle, now at 12 o’clock, is much easier to discern. All of the four watches known to the market give a prominent place to the four-year leap cycle. Only one watch retains the 48-month cycle, but the letters are so tiny that their function is little more than figurative.

The six outstanding examples of this version were put into production in 1957 and sold between 1963 and 1969. Two of the watches are in the hands of the Audemars Piguet Heritage department, one of which is signed by the retailer, Tiffany & Co. on the dial.

Making the Leap is a fascinating first article in a series in which the Audemars Piguet Heritage Department delves into the world of Audemars Piguet full calendar and perpetual calendar wristwatches of the 20th century.  It can be read in its entirety over at AP’s website (click here to go)>>>

Audemars Piguet Logo

Narco Bling: Top 6 Watches of Mexican Drug Lords

A redux of a topic I published on nearly six years ago (see: Narco Bling: The Watches of Mexican Drug Kingpins, July 10, 2009), self-proclaimed citizen investigative journalist website recently published a review of the reach of Swiss luxury brands among the Mexican drug lords by analyzing social network profiles of three high ranking members of the infamous Sinaoloa drug cartel:  Ivan and Alfredo Guzmán, two of the most influential sons of El Chapo Guzmán, and José Rodrigo Aréchiga-Gamboa, alias “El Chino Ántrax” (who was arrested in Netherlands at the request of the US authorities in late 2013). The Top 6 Watches of Mexican drug lords, according the’s analysis, are as follows:

      1. Richard Mille
      2. Hublot
      3. Rolex
      4. Audemars Piguet
      5. Urwerk
      6. Romain Jerome

While the top four brands are perhaps not surprisingly given the narco’s penchant for watches that are large, expensive and/or ostentatious, interesting occupants of the #5 and #6 slots were the more obscure independent brands Urwerk and Romain Jerome.  

There is disheartening commentary in the report as well.  The bellingcat author notes, “in times of economic hardship, the flamboyant lives of drug barons are appealing to millions of young and poor Mexicans abandoned by the state…”



I must note that the quality of bellingcat’s analysis may be subject to scrutiny, particularly as the author notes that the authenticity of the social media accounts could not be verified (though, perhaps for obvious reasons).  And also, we all know how easy it is to make oneself look richer than one really on social media simply by taking photos from other accounts and claiming them as one’s own. was launched via a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 and has been no stranger to controversial articles.  Even so, I think the analysis is worth a read.

Please click here to see the full story (including many more pics, commentary “Tracking Swiss Watches in Sinaloa: Top 6 Luxury Brands Among Mexican Drug Lords” over at Bellingcat>>>

Introducing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chrongraph “Italy” Limited Edition

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chrongraph Italy -  dial detail Perpetuelle

With only 500 pieces to be made, this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph is distinguished by a couple of very subtle details.  The Italian touch is found in the red, green and white indices on the 30 seconds subdial counter (3 o’clock), of course a nod to the Italian flag.  Another interesting detail: the rubber strap – believe it or not, in the past, it has be used only one other time on an official Royal Oak chronograph issue – the City of Sails model, created in 2002.  The watch will also include a hand-stitched “large square scale” blue alligator strap inside its presentation box.   Specially made, the box features a metal plate that reproduces the watch’s caseback with the colors of the Italian flag.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chrongraph “Italy” Limited Edition

Limited edition of 500 pieces
Reference: 26326ST.OO.D027CA.01

41mm x 10.95mm steel case, silvered dial with “grand tapisserie” pattern, automatic mechanical AP Cal 2385

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chrongraph Italy - Perpetuelle RO26326ST

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chrongraph Italy - Perpetuelle RO_26326STThe caseback bears the engraving “Swiss Made Limited Edition” which is also special to this edition (not pictured).