12/08/2023
 4 minutes

The Love We Share: From “Amour Fou” to Happily Ever After

By Thomas Hendricks
TLWS-Thomas-Hendricks-2-1

“Amour Fou” and an Audemars Piguet

Let’s set the scene: It’s Friday night in the middle of summer, the locals are enjoying (quite a few) beers at outdoor cafés, and I’m walking into a smoky speakeasy in Germany. The hostess tells my friend and me to take the bar seats next to two gentlemen, who we soon learn make a living buying and selling luxury cars.

The conversation turns to watches, and now we’re passing our watches back and forth with the guys. Not surprisingly, the used car salesmen love big Rolexes with diamonds on them. I keep it polite and pass them my small dress watch. The louder one goes quiet as a confused look passes over his face. “It’s an AP,” I tell him, trying to keep the conversation afloat. He replies unimpressed, “Yeah, but who even buys this…?”

The answer to that question is me. I bought it, and I absolutely love it.

Love Is Blind

I’ll admit that I still don’t know many details about this watch. It is yellow gold, 27 mm wide and 4 mm thick, has a manual movement, and was likely made by Audemars Piguet in the 1990s. A large part of my job is giving viewers advice on making smart watch-buying decisions. However, this remains the most expensive impulse buy of my life.

This purchase is a poor example of doing your research, but a great example of buying what you love. I had just started my dream job hosting the Chrono24 YouTube channel, and naturally, I was in the mood to celebrate with a new watch. I had originally been looking for a Cartier Tank and thought, “Why not see if other manufacturers have something similar?”

Inspired by a Cartier Tank, Thomas' started his search.
Thomas initially started searching for a Cartier Tank.

Like Sniffing Out Truffles in the Forest

One piece of advice that I can proudly give is to look where other people aren’t looking. The conventional wisdom would be to get a Cartier if you want a dress watch, and get a Royal Oak if you want an AP. The Cartiers in my budget were largely quartz and gold-plated. The Royal Oaks in my budget were, well, nonexistent. So, I had to get creative.

I knew what qualities I wanted in a watch, the specs I needed, and the sorts of little details that make me fall in love. I knew that I didn’t have a lot to spend, but I also didn’t want to settle for something ordinary or forgettable. With the left side of my brain in order, I was free to let the right side explore.

After scrolling through thousands of watches on Chrono24, I stumbled upon this little gem from a dealer in Belgium. This is the point where that illogical, irrational, all-consuming “amour fou” takes over. Suddenly, I was convinced that this piece would disappear in mere moments, like there were dozens, if not hundreds, of collectors around the world ready to snatch this away from me.

A little gem from a dealer in Belgium immediately caught his eye.
A little gem from a dealer in Belgium immediately caught his eye.

My computer mouse spent a lot of time that night hovering over the “buy” button. I thought it would be best to sleep on the decision, because even if I couldn’t wait a full 24 hours, I knew I should at least give it 12. The dealer was a joy to work with, and the famously complicated US import process was easier (and cheaper) than expected. Within a week or so, I had the watch in my hands and on my wrist.

So what is this thing?

Perhaps we’ll need a follow-up article, because as of now, I still know very little about what this watch is. After much searching, I’ve found a few APs with the same case and distinctive lugs. Only one example has been time-only, but the dial was not nearly as expressive. It’s actually easier to find perpetual calendar versions of this watch – which is a lot of engineering to squeeze into 27 mm! @goldberger seems to have one, and @i.s.thomson has two. Eventually, I’ll forfeit the 500 CHF to Audemars Piguet for their extract from the archives. In the meantime, I’m fine with a little mystery.

There is still a little mystery about his AP and he wouldn't sell it for the world.
There is still a little mystery about his AP, but he wouldn’t sell it for the world.

This watch has accompanied me on trips around the world, to friends’ weddings, to celebratory dinners, and you can often find it peeking out from under my sleeve in Chrono24’s YouTube videos. The piece fulfills its dress watch pedigree by looking dashing with more formal attire, and it also looks quite chic with a white T-shirt and faded jeans.

I will never sell this watch. What started as an impulse buy has become a lifelong companion – from love at first sight to happily ever after. And like any good marriage, the love has only grown with time. So, “who even buys this?” I do, I do, I do!


About the Author

Thomas Hendricks

I didn’t grow up a watch guy, but a few years after graduating from university, I landed a job at the online publication Watchonista as a writer and marketer. “Welcome to the watch world,” my colleagues told me half-jokingly, “no one ever leaves!” Now at Chrono24, I work as a private client advisor, helping people find the perfect watch for major life moments.

Read more

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