Fixing the dials would be as simple as updating the hands, though, for me, the dial generally lacks any pizazz or visual interest. Many allusions to other watch brand dials can be made, and overall the dials seem to lack any distinctive original elements. I also feel that, at this price, Audemars Piguet should have matched the date numerals with the hour marker font colors on all dials (rather than only some, as they do now).

In my opinion, when people complained about the Code 11.59, they were primarily focused on the dial designs — which seemed disappointing to many as compared to what the great brand is capable of. The Audemars Piguet I like can do better and certainly will do better in the future when new Code 11.59 models eventually come out.

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What also irritated watch enthusiasts at SIHH 2019 is that Audemars Piguet seemingly went into the show knowing they had an issue with the dials (dials that would not be well received by a lot of the traditional watch media). Some watch media got early access to the Code 11.59 watches and they also happened to be incredibly optimistic, which, along with clear marketing spending, led consumers to believe opinions had been paid for.

Whether or not Audemars Piguet actively sought to buy media opinion, it appeared to many consumers and members of the watch industry that they did. This resulted in a massive perception blow to the brand, which is regrettable. I personally greatly admire the long history and many accolades of Audemars Piguet. Some of my favorite brand managers, including Jean-Claude Biver, are graduates of employment at the storied, still-independent Swiss watch manufacturer. The actions of any brand leadership responsible for attempting to buy, versus rightly earn, media respect and admiration does not, in my opinion, represent the greater personality of the company.

Brand Boutique Exclusive, Selective Production

Also regrettable is Audemars Piguet’s attractive but painful-to-navigate website section on the Code 11.59 watches. I do like how watch companies like to update their websites more often these days, but the ability to get details on the watches, see the entire collection, and quickly view information is not a strong point of the current website design.

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With all the elements of the Code 11.59 that may have been minor blunders, Audemars Piguet is only producing a fraction of their roughly claimed 40,000 number of watches produced annually. According to Audemars Piguet, the brand will produce only about 6,000 Code 11.59 watches (across eleven new models) over the course of three years. So, only about 2,000 of the watches will be released in 2019.

Audemars Piguet is also moving toward an “all-brand boutique” distribution model, which means if you want a new Audemars Piguet watch, you’ll need to get one directly from a brand boutique store. They have also made it clear that the Code 11.59 will only ever be available in brand boutiques — to the exclusion of any remaining third-party retailers. The brand will be able to be relatively selective as to what customers are able to get Code 11.59 watches, as well as controlling the flow of the watch into the market.

Having a new round-cased watch that appeals to younger people makes sense, though I think the price jump Audemars Piguet expects some consumers to leap from to buy a Code 11.59 is a bit ambitious. Perhaps there will be a steel Code 11.59 watch with an improved dial in the future. It could easily happen. Even the improved dial could be a very real thing in the near future. In any event, I applaud Audemars Piguet’s efforts to shift away from being a “Royal Oak-only” brand, and the Code 11.59 could prove an important step in that direction. People today really do like what the brand stands for, and I think they deserve the very best to stand on their wrists.

Price for the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph references 26393OR.OO.A321CR.01, 26393BC.OO.A002CR.01, 26393BC.OO.A321CR.01, and 26393OR.OO.A002CR.01 is $42,400 USD each. Visit to lean more.

David Bredan is working on his critical take on the three-hand Code 11.59 model that will also examine the strengths and weaknesses of the watch. Look out for this article soon.

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