Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph
The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph perpetuates the brand’s love of form watches and complications. The intricately shaped case plays host to a flying tourbillon, a flyback chronograph and an openworked dial. The Self-Winding Manufacture Calibre 2952 is comprised of 479 components and features numerous hand-polished angles.
Throughout its history, Audemars Piguet has made numerous ‘form watches’. These timepieces set aside traditional case designs, embracing unusual and highly elaborate shapes. The success of the Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore has led to the octagonal case being indelibly linked to the esteemed Maison.
When the initial versions of the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet were launched in January 2019, some industry commentators naively described the watch as round. However, the profile of the case is far more complex than it may first appear. For example, the sapphire crystal is double curved; externally it arcs from 6 o’clock to noon while internally the surface is domed.
The ‘middlecase’ is octagonal and the lugs are openworked. While the lugs are conjoined to the slender bezel, they merely lean against the caseback. Throughout this horological composition, brushed and polished surfaces are positioned adjacent to each other. Most notably, the shape of the case is suffused with a plethora of contours and details, upholding the brand’s prowess for making form watches.
Audemars Piguet is located in the Vallée du Joux, a region known for making complicated movements. The firm has just unveiled the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph, a model rich in horological virtue. Housed in a 41mm white gold case, the dial on this new timepiece is openworked and enriched with soupçons of blue lacquer. The openworked bridges, both dial side as well as to the rear, showcase Audemars Piguet’s exemplary finishing. Indeed, the brand states there are ‘more than 1000 hand-polished angles’.
The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph indulges discerning eyes with a flying tourbillon, so named because it lacks an upper bridge. The chronograph has a flyback facility and the watch will run autonomously for up to 65 hours. One key attribute of this watch, and it has many, is that it allows the wearer to see numerous movement parts that are normally hidden from view.
This watch is unabashedly contemporary but it harnesses all of the brand’s know-how, amassed since its inception in 1875.
The brand’s press release
A contemporary take on tradition
The Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer evolves the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection with a new Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph. For the first time ever, Audemars Piguet dares to combine the classicism and prestige of the flying tourbillon with the modernity of the flyback chronograph – the sporting complication par excellence.
Limited to 50 pieces, this complex watch endowed with contemporary aesthetics and distinct architectural elements brings forward the Manufacture’s progressive approach to traditional craftsmanship.
This high complication watch unites an 18-carat white gold case with a three-dimensional architectural face design blurring the line between dial and movement. The contrast of rhodium-toned and black galvanic openworked bridges honed from titanium and nickel silver, brings depth and play of light to the watch. The movement as well as all design elements, which count more than 100 hand-polished angles, are meticulously finished by hand with an alternation of satin-brushing and sandblasting.
The transparent chronograph counters at 3 and 9 o’clock reveal part of the complex mechanism, while the impactful flying tourbillon makes its rotation at 6 o’clock. The blued lacquered inner bezel, white gold hands and chronograph rings add a subtle touch of colour, which is enhanced by the watch’s dark blue hand-stitched alligator strap.
The complex double curved sapphire crystal, which perfectly integrates the geometry of the watch’s extra-thin bezel, offers a unique perspective on the dial’s contemporary aesthetics and refined hand-finishing. The sapphire caseback reveals through its satin-brushed and sandblasted openworked bridges part of calibre 2952, the Manufacture’s newest selfwinding movement endowed with a flying tourbillon and a flyback chronograph. The openworked rhodium-toned 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight harmoniously matches the bridges’ and case’s colour.
Audemars Piguet, a pioneer in tourbillon wristwatches
Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph continues to uphold the Manufacture’s pioneering development in terms of tourbillon wristwatches. The tourbillon invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1801 was a rare find in pocket watches across the world and almost entirely absent from wristwatches before 1986. To this day, it has remained a symbol of watchmaking excellence and art as only a few watchmakers are trained to perfect this mechanism.
In the early 1980s, Georges Golay, Audemars Piguet’s General Director, challenged Serge Meylan, a young constructor newly arrived in the workshops, to give life to the first selfwinding tourbillon in the history of wristwatches – a considerable challenge as the movement had to fit in an ultra-slim 5.3 mm-thick case. Serge successfully met the challenge and this tourbillon is still one of the smallest in the world today with a diameter of 7.2 mm, as well as one of the lightest at just 0.123 grams. Introduced in 1986, this wristwatch forged a new path for the entire high-end watchmaking sector, which renewed ties with this complicated mechanism.
The Manufacture combined the tourbillon and the chronograph for the first time in 1999 in the Jules Audemars Tradition d’Excellence n°1 wristwatch – a limited edition of 20 pieces in platinum uniting tourbillon, chronograph and minute repeater in a movement entirely developed and produced in- house. It was followed in 2003 by Audemars Piguet’s first chronograph tourbillon movement, hand-wound calibre 2889, launched in the Royal Oak collection (ref. 25977). Since then, this complicated movement has seen numerous evolutions across the Manufacture’s collections.
The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph represents, however, the first time this combination is evolved at Audemars Piguet with a flying tourbillon – a complicated mechanism which the Manufacture first released in 2018 in the Royal Oak Concept collection. By bringing together the chronograph and the flying tourbillon in its latest Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection, the manufacturer continues to move ancestral craftsmanship forward by preserving and reinterpreting traditions.