As the Nordic region’s leading auction house for quality auctions of watches, Bukowskis are very proud to present and exceptional and extremely rare watch from one of the world’s leading watchmakers, Audemars Piguet. A chronograph in steel with the reference 5518 from 1960 will be sold at the internationally recognized watch auction, Important Timepieces, on 12th November.
Audemars Piguet’s early chronographs are a rarity and very sought after by collectors. According to the archives of Audemars Piguet, a total of 307 wristwatches with chronograph were produced during their first achieve century, and only 52 of these were cased in steel – which is a very small amount if you compare to other important vintage watch manufacturers during that period.
”We know that Audemars Piguet chronographs from this time period rarely appear for sale, and one in steel is rarely seen at all. To our best knowledge the presented watch is the fourth Audemars Piguet chronograph in steel to appear on the market in recent years, and the first ever from reference 5518”, says Carl Palmegren, Head Specialist in Watches at Bukowskis", says Carl Palmegren, Head Specialist in Watches at Bukowskis.
This Audemars Piguet chronograph is from the exceedingly rare reference 5518 that were only produced in nine examples between 1951 and 1962. The first one was produced in gold and delivered to the United States of America, however, the rest of the eight ones in steel have never been sold on the open market. Instead they were handed out by Audemars Piguet to the winners of the skiing competition ”Epreuves Internationales de Ski” in Le Brassus between 1957 and 1962.
This previously unknown treasure was given to the Swedish skier and ski jumper Bengt "Silver-Bengt" Eriksson after his victory in Le Brassus in 1960. Four years earlier, Bengt Eriksson had sensationally won a silver medal in Nordic Combined at the 1956 Olympic Winter Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo. Initially, he was not supposed to compete, but Sweden needed someone to represent them in the discipline. Once there, he surprised the world and managed to take second place and since then he was called "Silver-Bengt". He is still considered the most successful Swedish athlete in Nordic combined of all time.
With the help of Audemars Piguet's archive, it is confirmed that this watch is the one which was given to Bengt "Silver-Bengt" Eriksson. The archive also confirms that the watch was delivered in the same configuration as it is today, with a calibre 13VZA, case in steel and push pieces in gold, a white dial with XII and VI roman number applied and triangles in pink gold applied, and finally a tachymeter in miles.
Bengt "Silver-Bengt" Eriksson (image from Sveriges Olympiska Kommitté)
Reference 5518 from Audemar Piguets archive
In this fall's upcoming hammer auction of Important Timepieces – the leading watch auction for quality watches in the Nordic countries – this masterpieces can be yours. The hammer auction takes place on 12 November at Bukowksis in Stockholm.
Viewing: 7–11 November at Berzelii Park in Stockholm, Sweden
Auction: 12 November at Arsenalsgatan 2 in Stockholm, Sweden