Last week, I noticed a very special, unfamiliar watch on Ebay. A Tourbillon made by Audemars Piguet was offered at a starting rate of 1 euro. A first view at the photographs brought little enthusiasm. What a weird watch!
But, apart from the weirdness, there was curiosity. This watch seemed be something special. An AP Tourbillon isn’t just a normal watch in the first place, so this 80’s looking thing shouldn’t be simply put aside. As the bidding started climbing, I searched for the watch, and found out that Caliber 2870 is really something special. In fact, in 1986 AP made a remarkable technical achievement by introducing the world’s first production tourbillon with automatic winding, which was also the smallest ever created: a diameter of 7.2 millimeters and height of 2.5. For the first time, a tourbillon cage was made of titanium (by means of computer-controlled electroerosion), and an automatic winding hammer was produced of an extremely dense platinum-iridium alloy. It turned out that Reference 26543, with the Caliber 2870 was a highlight of innovation in the Audemars Piguet history.
The case is almost as remarkable as the inside. In fact, the case is the caliber. Many of the automatic winding and train pivots are visible on the back of the case The result is an automatic tourbillon barely 5.0 millimeters thick. The case measures 29 X 33 millimeters.
I found out that in 1986, the price of 26543 was a whopping 58000 DM. A bargain for a Audemars Tourbillon these days, but quite a sum back then. Today, buying a 26543 must be the cheapest and most unconventional entry in the AP Tourbillon league. The Ebay auction ended at 8770 euros, the price of a steel midsize Royal Oak. I would make the weird choice!
On my search on the internet, I found some very good reading on the watch: http://people.timezone.com/library/horologium/horologium631671413798911323
the (ended) auction can be found on http://tinyurl.com/b9qqpyr