At SIHH 2019, people were expecting that Audemars Piguet would launch the new variations and novelties to their current collection, how wrong were we? Completely off.
It has been officially announced that Audemars Piguet has launched an entirely new collection. A completely new dimension of design nobody had anticipated before – the CODE 11.59, this was the hottest topic discussed at SIHH2019. It has been over 20 years since Audemars Piguet has made such an impact of this scale to the watch industry with their Royal Oak model. This year mark their next step forward, establishing the new pillar for the brand.
Since 1972, the Royal Oak and Millenary collections have been their strongest pillars, supporting the brand. The Royal Oak is such an iconic model that makes people question whether Audemars Piguet would ever launch something that could challenge the Royal Oak itself, and here we are today.
François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet, foresee that Audemars Piguet needs to make some changes, his intention was to demonstrate that the brand is not just proficient with the Royal Oak or Millenary only. It was not an easy task.
We think that this was a wise decision pulled off by the CEO. From watch collector’s perspective, we are never tired of seeing new Royal Oak collections launching every year, and they are truly fascinating. But somehow, deep inside, we all wanted to see something new. Furthermore, people taste is different; I have met some who genuinely love Royal Oak (like I do) and those who think it is not their cup of tea. With the launch of new collections line, these may reach those who have never look into Audemars Piguet before.
Meet The CODE 11.59
The CODE 11.59 has a meaning hidden inside the name; each acronym carries the brand messages to represent the concept put behind the design of the watch itself.
Challenge – To challenge the limits of craftsmanship
Own – To inherit the legacy
Dare -To be dared to follow the firm conviction
Evolve – To never stop moving forward
11.59 – The last minute before the new day, to always stay 1 step ahead
You will see next as to why the name is the most befitting for this collection.
The New Design Dimension
The CODE 11.59
There is a big difference between seeing the watch in pictures and on hands. When I first saw the photos back in SIHH2019, my mind was filled with questions “What are you doing? Why the plain round dial?” But, seeing the watch closely in all angles made me realised this is more than just your typical round dial watch.
Hidden Royal Oak’s DNA, and the distinctive design lugs
The first feature to be noticed is the new unique distinct case design. At the middle of the case reside the well-known familiar octagon shape, with satin and brushed finishing, representing an inheritance of DNA from the predecessor, the Royal Oak. The upper-case is welded to the curved lugs, whereas the bottom lugs are not; they sit tightly to the lower-case (not even the thin paper could slide in).
The reason behind this design is to keep the watch slim while maintaining the robustness. It also enables the watchmaker to easily remove the back case, prevent unnecessary damage during the repair.
The Double Curved Sapphire Crystal from the side view
The second unique feature is the Double Curved Sapphire Crystal; this is where Audemars Piguet smartly play with the light and illusion. At first, when I look at the watch from the sideway, it appears as the two curves are located at the top surface of the upper glass, perpendicularly. But when I reach out my finger to touch the surface, it was but just a normal dome-shaped. The Marketing Manager laughed and said that this was her first thought as well. She kindly explained that the other curve is actually at the opposite surface of the crystal (a.k.a. convex-shaped glass), this is where the light refracts and create the illusion to the eyes. I have never seen such design before.
The 3D Logo: Each alphabet is connected through small fine line
Last but not least, coming to the challenge of the craftsmanship. The very first time Audemars Piguet has utilised the unique chemical process called Galvanic Growth (similar concept as the widely known 3D Printing), where layers and layers of gold are slowly formed up to create the Audemars Piguet 3D Logo. The process may sound simple, but it is highly sophisticated that it took Audemars Piguet 3 full year of research before the execution.
While many might think that this is already large for men, how would it even rest on the lady’s wrist? It happened to be, somehow.
The collections come in 13 variants, a total of 6 calibres where 3 of which are new, uniquely to the CODE 11.59. All collection comes in 41mm in diameter; design to be worn by all genders, which will likely fist most wrist but with the big looks due to its large dial design. Unfortunately, to all the steel fans, the collections come in precious metal only (White Gold and Pink Gold), at least for now.
The CODE 11.59 Self-Winding
Coming up as the first line of the collection, the Self-Winding Code 11.59, coming in 4 variations, equipped with the first new calibre, the Calibre 4302. This calibre is an upgrade to its original, 3120 Calibre, with the improvement on the precision and 70-hour of power reserve. With the update, the date window was moved to the position between 4 and 5, instead of 3 O’clock.
The CODE 11.59 Self-Winding Chronograph
Also coming in 4 variations, the new Self-Winding Chronograph is equipped with the new calibre 4401, which is the calibre 4302 with the first in-house fully integrated chronograph function. It’s operated with the column wheel, featuring a vertical clutch with the lever proudly lined up at the top of the movement. The rotor is different here; it features an open worked with the AP logo, enabling the full view of the mechanism. Besides, it’s fly-back, truly worth the wait.
Unfortunately, we could not get our hands on the other four models, simply because of the limited number of prototype and has not yet reached the boutique in Thailand. But we will get a hand on with them, here’s our quick take.
The CODE 11.59 Self-Winding Flying Tourbillon with the Grand Feu enamel
Housing the third new calibre 2950, the Self-Winding Flying Tourbillon is the first Flying Tourbillon from Audemars Piguet to be equipped with the central rotor. Notice that the new 3D Logo was not featured on this type of dial, simply because it was not possible. We will cover the process of making an enamel dial in the future, stay tuned.
The CODE 11.59 Perpetual Calendar with the unique Aventurine Dial
The Perpetual Calendar model comes in a single variation only. This unique Aventurine dial is the representation of the constellations during the night time in the middle of Le Brassus. To those who aren’t familiar with the term, the Aventurine was accidentally discovered back in the 1700s during the process of making glass in Italy. The present Aventurine is created by adding the Black Copper Oxide and Cobalt on to the glass. We honestly cannot wait to see it in person.
The hand wound CODE 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked
Stands out the most in the collection, the CODE 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked feature eye-catching movement comprises of only three colours metal; Silver, Pink Gold, and Black. The main plate and bridges feature darker tone colour, contrasting well with the Pink Gold hands.
The CODE 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie, the true art piece
Last but not least, my favourite model amongst the collections, the CODE 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie. The watch is featuring in white gold with the smoke blue enamel dial, clean and simple. Inside is the calibre 2953 (based on the calibre 2937), the watch also features the three patents made back in 2016 in the Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie. The gongs are smartly attached to the block “sound board”, instead of the main plate, allowing more stable sound eliminating the background noise. Another feature is the perforated lies in the back case, boosting the volume sonorously.
Inevitably, the CODE 11.59 would be compared with their predecessor, the Royal Oak. I believe this was the same for the Royal Oak back when it was first launched in 1972, the market was certainly not ready such an odd-shaped watch, but today it’s one of the most iconic watch sought after. We need to be patient, wait and see how the new CODE 11.59 would grow out to be in the future.
We genuinely recommend seeing the collection in real person, it certainly was not disappointing, at least for us. All in all, it is a Test of Time.
More Details: https://www.audemarspiguet.com/
Or visit in person at: Audemars Piguet Boutique Bangkok, Central Embassy