The Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 series was undoubtedly one of the most divisive major releases of 2019. Enthusiast opinions were split between labeling it a radical departure from the brand’s signature style and embracing it as a bold new direction. As the Code 11.59 enters its second year, Audemars Piguet has substantially updated the line with far more visual punch, introducing five new sunburst dial variants and a dynamic two tone case design for both the three hand and chronograph models. As a result, the new Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Selfwinding 41mm and Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm feel like far more of a complete package than their launch model predecessors, with dramatic dials that better match the complex casework.
The 41mm cases of both the three hand and chronograph Code 11.59 models retain the same multi-layer architectural form of the 2019 originals, with modernist skeleton lugs surrounding a sandwiched central case band. While white gold and pink gold executions are still available, the new two tone white gold and pink gold option truly allows this design to come into its own. With the clear contrast between the two metals, the transitions between the central case, lugs, bezel, and caseback become far more striking, while the octagonal form of the caseband (a subtle nod to the brand-defining Royal Oak) becomes far more apparent. Each of the brushed and polished facets stand out in greater contrast, and the overall effect helps to reinforce the ultramodern ethos of the design. It’s worth noting as well that two tone gold models are a real rarity in the brand’s catalog, with only one model ever made in white gold and pink gold before 1978. That sort of rarity and departure from the past further underlines the forward-thinking mentality behind the Code 11.59. For all three metal options, the new Code 11.59 is finished of with a glare-resistant sapphire caseback and a disappointing 30 meters of water resistance.
The overall dial designs of the new Code 11.59 models are carried over from previous versions as well, with the minimalist stick hands paired with a combination of slim baton indices and clean, futuristic applied Arabic numerals. For most previous versions of the Code 11.59, this dial layout has been the main point of contention for enthusiasts, with many criticizing the layout for feeling too simple or barren in comparison to the brand’s other offerings. The five new lacquered dial finishes on offer for both the three hand and chronograph models go a long way towards combating this criticism, breathing life into the pared-back form with dynamic sunbursts and vivid color. The cleanest and most traditional of these is a handsome silver sunburst treatment, followed by a charcoal gray degradè sunburst that adds miles of visual depth. Where these new options really come alive, however, is with color. Audemars Piguet is offering this smoky degradè sunburst finish in a deep merlot red, royal blue, and a vivid purple. For sheer visual impact, the use of purple is difficult to top here, elevating a design that felt sterile in black to something audacious, luxurious, and punchy. For all five color options on both the chronograph and three hand models, however, the intrusive non-color-matched date window at 4:30 remains a disruption to the visual flow of the dial.
Audemars Piguet powers the Code 11.59 Selfwinding with the in-house Calibre 4302 automatic movement. With an instantaneous jumping date mechanism and a beautifully executed array of decorations, the Calibre 4302 offers 70 hours of power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. The Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph receives the in-house Calibre 4401 automatic chronograph movement. Somewhat surprisingly, this became the first ever fully in house automatic chronograph movement when it debuted in the Code 11.59 last year. It is certainly an initial effort worthy of the Audemars Piguet name, however. It features a flyback chronograph mechanism, Côtes de Genève and perlage across the plates and bridges, and a dramatic pink gold skeleton rotor. In terms of performance, the Calibre 4401 provides 70 hours of power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate.
Audemars Piguet fits these new Code 11.59 models with hand stitched alligator leather straps in dial matching colors. While this leads to some less than subtle color combinations on the wrist, the overall sense of quality is immediately obvious.
While the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 series is likely to continue to divide fans of the brand for some time to come, these new case and dial options add a wealth of visual drama to the base design. The new Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Selfwinding 41mm and Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Selfwinding 41mm Chronograph 41mm models are available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $26,800 and $42,400, respectively. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.