At a time when watchmaking brands were rushing to offer their interpretations of the Royal Oak and other models with an integrated design, Audemars Piguet launched an impressive new collection, oddly entitled Code 11.59, which aimed to reset the perception of AP being just the Royal Oak brand. In a bold and disruptive way, AP revealed 13 new references in one day, with three new calibres to power a Selfwinding Chronograph, AP’s first in-house, integrated automatic flyback chronograph movement, a time-and-date Selfwinding watch, and a new Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon. The inaugural collection also included an Openworked Tourbillon, a mesmerising Perpetual Calendar, and a Minute Repeater Supersonnerie. Fast forward four years, and Code 11.59 has grown to become an impressive collection in its own right (yes, we do believe it). It presents Audemars Piguet’s interpretation of classical round watches, meticulously designed with contemporary style and craft at the forefront of every detail. Staying true to the spirit of Challenge, Own, Dare, Evolve (Code), Audemars Piguet recently unveiled a range of thrilling new models. Among these exciting releases was a new version of Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Minute Repeater Supersonnerie, showcasing the marriage of the smoked sapphire dial with pink gold that beautifully complements the case design, blending a classical complication with contemporary style and execution. We had the privilege of experiencing the watch firsthand.
Launched initially in white gold with a blue enamel dial (no longer part of the current collection), the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Minute Repeater Supersonnerie looks so much sharper with a smoked sapphire dial and a two-tone case, with the curved bezel and the caseback in rose gold and the octagonal middle part crafted from black ceramic. As with every piece in the collection, AP’s savoir-faire highlights what is currently possible in contemporary watchmaking and design. Take the dual curvature of the glare-proof sapphire crystal, for instance, and the equally complex construction of the alternately satin-finished and polished 41mm case with the openworked-looking lugs welded to the bezel and only “touching” the caseback. Or how the curved and thin bezel enhances the details, making the dial easier to read. Details are aplenty.
While the predecessor was undoubtedly a great-looking watch, the new sapphire dial brings much to the new Minute Repeater Supersonnerie edition. Along with the raised lettering of its galvanically grown pink gold logo, the baton-shaped hour indices have been painstakingly attached by hand, with no numerals found on the original model at 3, 9 and 12. The black lacquered inner bezel with printed minute numerals sits high. It frames the movement, which is 11mm smaller in diameter than the case diameter, which is understandable given the shape of the case middle. The gold-framed sub-dial for the small seconds at 6’clock aims to recreate the three-dimensional feel of the main dial, which changes its appearance and degree of transparency depending on the light it catches and the viewing angle.
The tinted sapphire of the dial base is the highlight of the new design. It acts as a delicate veil, slightly concealing the intricate workings of the repeater mechanism in action and the calibre’s routine work, allowing for a vivid presentation of the complicated movement. Not entirely transparent, it allows a view good enough to distinguish some of the calibre 2953 decoration, note perlage and gold-toned gears. When observed from afar, the dial may even appear solid, with the gold hands and indices glimmering against the dark backdrop. Naturally, the sword-shaped hour and minute hands bear no lume – to know what time it is in the dark, you activate the repeater with the lever on the left of the case, which is the ultimate raison d’être of this timepiece. The patented Supersonnerie construction, first introduced in the Royal Oak Concept RD#1 in 2015, with an outer caseback with small apertures over an inner caseback to create a resonance chamber, will surprise you with the volume of the repeater chimes and clean sound. Last but not least, the built-in safety feature prevents messing up the time indication when the repeater mechanism is chiming.
The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Minute Repeater Supersonnerie measures 41mm in diameter, the usual for the collection, and less usual 13.6mm in height. Still, it is comfortable to wear thanks to the lugs’ shape and the softer kind of strap offered with the watch. The strap, which one would expect to be expensive leather for a complicated timepiece with a price of CHF 325,000 (excl. taxes), is a black rubber-coated textile strap and is closed with the pink gold AP folding clasp. Quite astonishingly, this Minute Repeater Supersonnerie exudes the confidence of an everyday timepiece despite modest water-resistance of 20m; it feels solid and well-built, and when compared to the counterpart from 2019, makes it appear nice-looking but somehow outdated – this is a very personal observation, perhaps to do with the time spent with the stunning new version.
Please visit www.audemarspiguet.com for more information.