Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet pushes the boundaries of technical and aesthetic complexity.
SINGAPORE (Feb 18): Introduced at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2019, Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet ventures beyond the Le Brassus manufacture’s illustrious Royal Oak heritage and into completely uncharted territory. Sébastian Vivas, heritage and museum director of Audemars Piguet, deems it one of the most important and comprehensive launches in the manufacture’s 144-year-old history.
Main image: The Code 11.59 self-winding model’s case, markers and Arabic numerals come in pink gold to complement its white lacquered dial
“This collection demanded new tools, skills and techniques to reach an exceptional degree of technical and aesthetic complexity,” says François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet. The way he sees it, this collection tells the passionate stories of the manufacture’s dedicated watchmakers who have dared to follow their convictions, joined forces and persevered — all while always pushing their own limits.
New processes were developed by the Audemars Piguet team in order to solder the openworked lugs to extremely thin surfaces
Truly, Audemars Piguet has rewritten tradition with its new collection of 13 new models by embedding an octagonal middlecase within a round case — a bold combination that creates a uniquely recognisable aesthetic. Contrary to the norms of traditional watchmaking, openworked lugs have been soldered to extremely thin surfaces, with the upper part welded to an ultra-thin bezel and the lower end leaning against the caseback in perfect alignment.
On the dial of each model is a raised three-dimensional logo that is an artistic and engineering feat on its own. Each 24-carat gold letter is formed with micrometric precision using galvanic growth, a chemical process similar to 3D printing. These are subsequently connected with links about the size of a hair, before the resultant Audemars Piguet signature is applied by hand onto the smooth lacquered dial’s surface with tiny legs that are almost invisible to the naked eye.
Embodying the collection’s contemporary design is a complex double-curved, glare-proof sapphire crystal with a dome-shaped internal surface. Its external surface is vertically curved from six to 12 o’clock, the glass’s arched profile creating a stunning visual experience that enhances the detailed work on the dial. Its polished chamfer echoes the perfect finishing of the watch’s bezel, lugs and case.
The self-winding chronograph model’s caseback reveals a 22-carat pink-gold openworked oscillating weight
In all, the collection features curved ergonomics to accommodate different wrist sizes, making every design variation suitable for both men and women. It also offers a wide variety of six in-house calibres of the latest generation, including two entirely new ones: a self-winding calibre with a seconds and date indication, as well as an integrated column wheel chronograph with a flyback function. Both models come with hand-stitched “large square scale” alligator straps and 18-carat pink- or white-gold pin buckles to match their cases.
Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet
Powered by the calibre 4302, this self-winding model has a dedicated 22-carat gold oscillating weight, a large 32mm diameter and a frequency of 4 Hertz to ensure reliability and accuracy. A pink- or white-gold case frames the lacquered dial with curved gold indexes and Arabic numerals, creating a classic look designed for legibility. Choose between a deep blue lacquered dial enhanced by a white-gold case and blue strap; a white lacquered dial with a pink-gold case and brown strap; or a black lacquered dial with either a white- (main image) or pink-gold case and a black alligator leather strap.
Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet
The in-house calibre 4401 is endowed with an instant jump-start date indication, integrated column wheel chronograph and flyback function that allows the wearer to restart the chronograph without stopping and resetting it first. A dedicated 22-carat pink-gold openworked oscillating weight is visible through the caseback. Its chronograph counters are circled by gold threads and polished “V” angles — a difficult finish to achieve on lacquered dials. In this model, deep blue or black lacquered dials are complemented with either white- or pink-gold cases, as well as black or blue alligator straps to suit their respective coloured dials.
This article appeared in Issue 869 (Feb 18) of The Edge Singapore.