SINGAPORE (Feb 7): The often overlooked watch case gets its moment of glory with the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet

The award-winning Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet

There are many components in a watch’s anatomy. Skilled craftsmen also put a lot of thought (and patience) into the design, creation and assembly process. This is true for a watch case – an important part of any timepiece as it houses and protects the movement from dust and moisture. Cases also come in various shapes such as round, square, oval, tonneau and rectangle.

The award-winning Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet has a case that speaks of its beauty and technical craftsmanship. Part of the design challenge lies in the bringing together of the octagonal middle case with a round extra-thin bezel and stylised arched lugs. It is a thing of beauty and clearly, expert skills were needed for this multifaceted and curved design. But if you ask Michael Friedman, who is the head of complications at Audemars Piguet, he would tell you that it is all in the details. Speaking of the watch’s savoir faire that goes into the design, he adds: “Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet gives the polishers a canvas to create.”

Case packaging specifically conceived for Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet
How it is made
To accommodate the complex double curved glare proof sapphire crystal, an extra-thin bezel was designed. The glass’s internal surface is shaped like a dome while its external surface is vertically curved from 6 to 12 o’clock. Playing with depth, perspective and light, the crystal provides a unique visual experience while enhancing the detailed work on the dial.

The case features multiple geometries and an ergonomic curvature

To complement the case’s multifaceted design, the designers also fashioned a complicated open worked pattern for the lugs that is made with a complex curved geometry combining five different axes. Audemars Piguet engineers weld the lugs to the upper bezel in order to leave the octagonal middle case unobstructed from view and push further the hand finishing technique.

Dedicated tools are used to complete the case

This means that the upper lugs are soldered to the extra-thin bezel while the bottom lugs lean delicately against the caseback in perfect alignment. Each lug is individually soldered to the bezel with a soldering paste applied by hand. To conclude, their resistance to tear is tested in a machine specifically conceived for Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet.

Complex 3D case conception

Once the bezel’s diameter is adjusted by hand to correct the deformation caused by heating, the welded joint of the lug and bezel is hand polished to hide the soldering paste. The interweaving of polishing and satin brushing is one of Audemars Piguet’s trademarks.

Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet has impeccable finishing that requires a highly specialised team comprised of six polishers and five satin brushing specialists to complete.

The bezel and lugs are satin brushed by hand

Each component of the case has been pre-polished and pre satin brushed after machining before being decorated by hand. The polisher then delicately chamfers the angular surfaces of each component, not an easy task as they need to polish the smallest details without altering their forms and compromising the piece’s alignment.

Precision lies in the tiniest details. The polished chamfers adorning the lugs’ internal and external surfaces, as well as the hidden face leaning against the caseback, testify to the technical and aesthetic complexity of this timepiece. The screw openings on the lugs also present polished bevels barely visible to the eye.

Each case component is measured with extreme precision
 

When you strap on Audemars Piguet’s Code 11.59, make sure you take a closer look at the case and note the carefully finished case that is made with traits-tirés—a technique which requires dexterity, patience and perfect alignment.