SIHH 2019 was a hotbed for several high-profile launches, but few held the press’ attention like Audemars Piguet did. Yes, the Royal Oak has that effect on people, but this time it was a different collection altogether. Meet the Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59.
Launched by the venerated Le Brassus firm as a defiant departure from the faceted Royal Oak-esque silhouette that’s being increasingly copied throughout the industry, the CODE 11.59 is a six-model collection with 13 references that revisit the icon’s controversial origins, starting from its neo-classical style.
Yet in true AP style, they’re not just simply round watches. Instead, expect a masterclass in the art of subtle disruption, where the recognisable octagonal case is now embedded within a round case with alternately satin and polished surfaces. Other notable firsts include the dual-curvature of the sapphire case, which is curved on two radiuses. The result is a glare-proof glass which enhances the dial’s detailed work with a noticeable sharpness.
The CODE 11.59 will also be characterised by an extra-thin bezel, open-worked lugs and an open case back. Despite the varied mix of complications, all watches will measure at 41mm without distinguishing between “men’s” and “women’s”. The dials will feature Arabic numerals from an archival 1940s minute repeater, with lots of clean, negative spaces throughout for uniformity.
Design experiment aside, the entire collection is one of the most important launches in the firm’s history because it’ll introduce three new calibers, and unsurprisingly, they made it to our favourites. Here are some of the Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 timepieces to watch.
(All images: Audemars Piguet)
Housed within an elegant 18-carat pink gold case is the series’ biggest star: The new in-house caliber 4401. The self-winding chronograph not only has an instant jumping date function, but also a flyback function that enables the restarting of the chronograph without stopping and resetting it first. A beautifully finished open-worked gold rotor frames the mechanism at work, especially when its chronograph function is actuated.
This sophisticated mechanism is paired with an equally elegant deep blue lacquered dial, its mirrored finish standing out against the polished curved indexes and singular numeral at 12 o’clock. The timepiece is a handsome take on a utilitarian timepiece, and will undoubtedly provide plenty of mileage with both your off and on-duty ensemble.
Another new calibre presented within the collection is the calibre 2950: An automatic flying tourbillon. While Audemars Piguet has utilised an open worked rotor for easy bragging rights of the complex movement, it’s easy to see why you’d rather be staring at its front instead.
Set against a trendy smoked blue Grand Feu enamel dial with impeccable finishing is a tourbillon that swivels gracefully through a window. An 18-carat white gold case exudes quiet sophistication without taking away from the dial, as does the hand-stitched blue alligator strap with a matching clasp.
Price available upon request
The romanticism of a starry night sky has been reinterpreted many times over, but Audemars Piguet really nails its astronomical beauty with a dark blue aventurine dial here.
In resonating with the celestial theme, a moon phase indication at six o’clock sees a realistic laser-engraved moon sit subtly within the window, with a remarkable accuracy that only requires adjustment once every 122 years and 108 days.
Inside, the calibre 5134 powers the watch for 40 hours at a go while providing details such as the week indication, day, date, month, and leap years. The self-winding movement is optimised with the collection’s signature openworked weight in 22-carat gold, reaffirming the brand’s commitment to quality and luxury.
As the purest expression of Audemars Piguet’s new design language, the self-winding three-hander emphasises the brand’s commitment to craftsmanship and quality.
Here, the case’s elaborate construction properly shines through without the distraction of fancy dial details, as does the lacquered black dial and its 18-carat white gold hour-markers and hands.
However, the best part of this watch has to be the little easter egg the manufacturer has placed within. The calibre 4302 inside joins the collection as a new automatic time-and-date movement, accompanied by a dedicated 22-carat gold oscillating weight that’s beautifully visible through the case back.
Of course, Audemars Piguet wouldn’t let a full collection slide without demonstrating some serious mechanical technicalities. This new model houses a unique hand-wound tourbillon openworked movement that proudly bares all of its calibre 2948, save for a lacquered black inner bezel within the 18-carat pink gold case. The concept of depth is explored via the darkened bridges and plate within.
Price available upon request