In the words of Monty Python: “And now for something completely different.” Famed the world over for their iconic Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore collections, Audemars Piguet is a brand that devised a successful formula in 1972 and have rarely strayed too far from it since. Sure, there have been Haute Joaillerie models, and plenty of mind-blowing “Concept” watches along the way, but the former was pitched at a different demographic, while the latter always maintained obvious strains of the Royal Oak DNA. With the release of the Code 11.59 collection, Audemars Piguet have erected a new pillar of their brand. The focus of this article will be one member of that collection, the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Self-Winding Flying Tourbillon watch, and suffice it to say, it’s a doozy.
Brand: Audemars Piguet
Model: Code 11.59 Self-winding Flying Tourbillon
Water Resistance: Unknown
Case Material: 18k white gold with smoked blue enamel dial, or 18k pink gold with black enamel dial
Crystal/Lens: Sapphire crystal
Movement: In-house caliber 2950
Frequency: 21,600vph (3Hz)
Power Reserve: 65 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Black alligator leather
Price & Availability: CHF129,000, restricted production
At first glance, the show-stealing case appears round and its silhouette reminiscent of cases used by Audemars Piguet in mid-20th century. Closer inspection, however, reveals that the case is a complexly wrought tripartite construction. It is similar from a component standpoint to the Triptik design used by Bremont. The octagonal case middle hints at the Royal Oak DNA. Skeletonized lugs are attached to the thin bezel and float down to graze the edge of the back. The concept and execution in this design are masterful. Audemars Piguet may well have managed to create a basis for a family that is worthy of rubbing shoulders with their extant classics, but opinions will vary and time will tell.
All they need to do now is make it in steel or titanium so mere mortals can think about buying one. The good news is that this is something they are apparently considering. Three movements in the Code 11.59 collection are new, and this is one of them. The movement is austere and perfectly suited to the futuristic case construction. It is particularly attractive in the white gold case, thanks to the removal of any golden-coloured elements. The slower-than-average operating speed of 21,600vph (3Hz) sympathetically allows the tourbillon to breathe at an elegant pace.
At this stage, the Code 11.59 series is not all that accessible, but it does offer us a glimpse into how Audemars Piguet see their brand developing over the next few years. Depending on demand, there are big plans to make this range a sizable chunk of the brand’s total offering. Were that to happen, it seems unlikely it would come to pass without some (relatively) entry-level options to ramp up the volume. The price for the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Self-Winding Flying Tourbillon watch is CHF 129,000. Production will be limited to an unspecified number each year. Learn more at audermaspiguet.com
Follow our pre-, post-, and live SIHH 2019 coverage here and on social media.