SIHH 2019 Introducing The New CODE 11.59 by Audemars Piguet (Hands-On)

Decoding Audemars Piguet’s highly ambitious launch. Meet CODE 11.59.
calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Xavier Markl | ic_query_builder_black_24px 7 minute read
SIHH 2019 Review - Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Collection

This is the big one for SIHH 2019! Here’s an early hands-on article to what will most likely be one of the most discussed watches of the fair – and a crucial event for the brand, CODE 11.59 by Audemars Piguet. Very simply because there has been no product launch of this magnitude over the past 20 years for the brand. Picture this, 13 new references, 6 news models, 3 brand new calibres – including the much awaited in-house integrated chronograph! The ambition: to write a new page in the brand’s history, creating a new pillar in the collection next to the Royal Oak, Royal Oak Offshore, Royal Oak Concept and Millenary.

Why a new collection?

Somehow, nobody had anticipated a launch of these dimensions from Audemars Piguet. The Royal Oak is an established icon and one of the most successful watches today on the market. Some brands just stick to what they do well. Having such a strong product is a unique asset but putting all your eggs in one basket has its risks. Yesterday’s luxury is not necessarily tomorrows. The 1972 Royal Oak was highly disruptive in its day, and later followed the Royal Oak Offshore and the Royal Oak Concept, however the basis for these three lines is now 47 years old.

In general, mono-product business models are also not the best for repeat purchases, although Audemars Piguet, with the line-up of different models and styles within the RO collection seems unaffected by this. The brand’s CEO, François-Henry Bennahmias, is a man with vision, determined to shape the brand to meet future challenges – for more details, watch our recent interview here.

Code 11.59

If the name Code 11.59 sounds pretty cool by itself (at least to me), Audemars Piguet also uses it as an acronym to present the watch:

  • Challenge -Challenge the limits of craftsmanship
  • Own – Our roots and legacy
  • Dare – To follow firm convictions
  • Evolve – Never stand still
  • 11.59 – The last minute before a new day

The Design

The Code 11.59 is a contemporary design, “consciously thought for both men and women.” At first glance, the case appears to be round with a thin bezel but you need to look more in details to discover its juxtaposed geometries. The octagon that has become part of the brand DNA has been embedded in the middle case. The lugs are openworked with an original construction as these are actually welded to the bezel and not to the central container. The double curved, domed, glare-proof sapphire crystal feels like an extension of the case body. All models come in a versatile 41mm diameter, a size that will fit most wrists, but which looks bigger with its large dial opening.

The Devil is in the details

As you have come to expect from Audemars Piguet products, the Code 11.59 stands out with its impressive craftsmanship and finishes. The smooth, lacquered dial of the three-hander and chronograph models features, in addition to the softly rounded hour markers and applied numerals, a raised logo that has been a challenge to achieve. It is crafted by galvanic growth and applied to the dial thanks to tiny legs. The thin baton-style hands are perfectly polished.

The finishing of the case is equally impressive with alternating brushed and polished surfaces. The polished chamfer around the dial, the caseband or the lugs are distinctive and magnificent.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Self-winding

If the Chronograph will most likely be one of the most discussed watches of the Code 11.59 collection, the self-winding three-hander really deserves a closer look. It is the purest expression of this new design, encapsulating the essence of the collection shedding light on the elaborate case construction. Turning the watch over, the exhibition caseback reveals a new self-winding movement, the calibre 4302 that is part of the same family as the new chronograph.

The Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 self-winding comes either in 18k pink gold (with white or black lacquered dial) or in 18k white gold (with blue or black lacquered dial).

Quick facts: 41mm white gold or pink gold case – water-resistant to 30m – self-winding calibre 4302 – hours, minutes, seconds and date – alligator strap and pin buckle. Price: CHF 25,000

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Chronograph

The much-awaited Audemars Piguet in-house integrated chronograph has been five years in the making and kicks off in the Code 11.59 collection. This modern, self-winding, flyback chronograph 4400 is a high-end, modern construction featuring a column-wheel, a vertical clutch and a clear focus on performance and efficiency. Measuring 32mm in diameter, it operates at 4hz and can store up to 70 hours of power reserve.

Finishings on the Calibre 4400 include straight and circular satin brushing, Geneva stripes and perlage. The bridges feature diamond polished chamfers. Engravings are gold toned. The 22k gold rotor is openworked with the AP logo, which offers a superb view of the mechanism.

The dial of the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Chronograph is lacquered with a 3-6-9 layout. The counters are circled by gold threads with polished angles. On the periphery of the dial, a tachymeter scale brings a sporty touch. The model is available in 18k pink gold or 18k white gold, with either a black or a blue dial.

Quick facts: 41mm white gold or pink gold case – water-resistant to 30m – self-winding calibre 4401 – flyback chronograph, hours, minutes, seconds and date – alligator strap and pin buckle. Price: CHF 39,500

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar

Powered by the calibre 5134, the Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar comes in pink gold. It stands out with its dark blue aventurine dial recalling a star-lit sky. We didn’t have the chance to see the watch in the metal yet, but it will soon be featured on MONOCHROME.

Quick facts: 41mm pink gold case – water-resistant to 20m – self-winding calibre 5134 – perpetual calendar, moon phase, hours and minutes – alligator strap and folding buckle. Price: CHF 69,500

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Self-winding Tourbillon

The Code 11.59 Self-Winding Tourbillon houses the third new Audemars Piguet calibre presented on the occasion of the launch of this collection. The calibre 2950 is a self-winding, flying tourbillon. The dial is Grand Feu enamel and the reason why it does not feature the raised logo – which is almost impossible on such a dial. The finishing of the movement is, as usual, superb and features several hand-made decorations.

Quick facts: 41mm white gold or pink gold case – water-resistant to 30m – self-winding calibre 2950 – flying tourbillon, hours and minutes – alligator strap and folding buckle. Price: CHF 129,000

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked

This version stands out with its openworked tourbillon movement that conveys a sense of complexity and depth. The skeleton calibre is finished in a contemporary way with dark bridges and plate.

Quick facts: 41mm pink gold case – water-resistant to 30m – hand-wound calibre 2948 – tourbillon, hours and minutes – alligator strap and folding buckle. Price: CHF 175,000

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Supersonnerie

Last but not least, the Code 11.59 comprises a Supersonnerie. This exceptional minute repeater concept was introduced a few years go by Audemars Piguet. Its remarkable acoustic performance is achieved thanks to gongs that are not attached to the main plate but to a new device acting as a soundboard. The striking mechanism regulator eliminates unwanted background noise. The dial is smoked-blue enamel.

Quick facts: 41mm white gold case – water-resistant to 20m – hand-wound calibre 2953 – Supersonnerie minute repeater, hours, minutes and small seconds – alligator strap and folding buckle. Price: CHF 295,000

Conclusion

The Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 is a superb watch with a unique personality. Its design is contemporary while incorporating clear Audemars Piguet design elements and DNA.

SIHH 2019 Review - Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Collection

Classic and unconventional at the same time, it stands out on the wrist and I can thoroughly recommend that you go hands-on with it, if only just to check it out in person. More details, www.audemarspiguet.com.

14 responses

  1. How do you secure the notion of charging full retail price for your watch models that most people will want to buy, when you cut all ties with retailers and start selling directly online?

    You temporarily switch some of the work away from aforementioned model line to a new one for a year or two to make an overpriced set of models that will make people think the old favourites are a bargain, all while creating new movements which can be fitted into the old favourites you return the work to refocus on later, further enforcing the idea that you’re very lucky indeed to have something with a calibre also used in the more pricey models.

    The watches themselves? Well…um…er…

  2. Congratulations on this article, unlike many of your conpetitors you explained what the name stands for and included detailed specs with water resistance! As a chronograph person I am excited to see a flyback, however the 30m water resistance is a complete failure, how can someone sign off on such an aberration in this day an age is beyond me, they should have at least offered 100m. Also based on your pictures it looks like the minute hand of the chronograph crawl and doesnt jump, another disappointment if true!

  3. Disappointing. They look like something Frederique Constant would produce albeit at a much more affordable price – and, very possibly, with decent WR.

  4. Certainly novel designs for AP. However, when compared to what the market is offering, I do not see here a new message. The dial of time-date models with the date at 4:30 seem as AP got inspired by their neighbors in Le Brassus…..

  5. Frederique Constant and a Roger Dubuis 😂😂
    On a more serious note not bad but not exceptional at all and of course does not justify the pricing in any possible way. Would never ever buy any of them for the listed price. I can namr 10 bettter looking watchea for each price point.

  6. Looks like Mr. Bennihana was slicing and dicing deisgn cues from Michael Kors, Armani Exchange and Diesel for the watch dials.

    Turned out so bad, Bennihana couldn’t even bring himself to wear one in the promo vid. Hahahaha

  7. What is really unique about this watch? The article sounds like you being payed by Audemars for this… The dial is stolen from Jaeger, the lugs could be seen on a Super KonTiki of Eterna before, the case could be a Moser and the sandwich construction is likely to be a Hublot. Very innovative, new and unique is only to steal all these ideas… sorry! And for this price it’s absolutely ridiculous…

    …and fugly!

    Only my 2 cents!

  8. Perhaps one can buy a better watch from JLC with same or better execution for a much lower price. Will stick to the original RO instead of those pricey new ones.

  9. The case design is attractive, and the new calibers are a good move for AP. As to the rest… meh. The dial layout is far too conservative. And no steel options, for a brand that’s known primarily for a genre-defining luxury steel sports watch? >.<

  10. This is a novel and unusual design that doesn’t necessarily speak to 38mm-no-date-window-watch nerds, but AP will have made its own market research. It’s a design that recognises that the sports vs..dress watch distinction isn’t really relevant any more. Also it leaves behind the retro trend that has more than run its course. I think it’s a great and original design with a lot of subtle points. I wish them luck with this.

  11. The new collection 11.59 is a nightmare for all us AP lovers. The 4302 is a HUGE step backwards.
    PLEASE bring back the beautiful and sexy 3120 and the 39 mm- so well balanced -15300 RO.
    If you can not, print at least the “automatic” on the dial. There is something called “SYMMETRY” ladies and gentlemen in the design department….

  12. far the ugliest and cheapest looking ap ever. Looks like a tendence or those 10 dollar copied watch .

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