Launched in 2019, the controversial Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 collection has seen some drastic evolutions in the past years. Without even talking about the addition of all possible complications, the classic models – time-and-date and chronograph – have been improved already by the addition of new smoked/gradient dials. But as of now, the collection was available primarily in white or pink gold, with or without ceramic accents. Not anymore, as we now have stainless steel Code 11.59 watches, available in three-hand and chrono, with a new dial pattern and colours that make them sportier, and more casual. 6 references in total, including 2 bolder ones with gradient colour and ceramic elements. Let’s have a closer look.
The first year of the Code 11.59 was tough… The launch wasn’t the expected success, and the reception of the watches wasn’t highly enthusiastic. The reason might be the rather sleek dials that were offered in the inaugural models. Still, the watch itself had some pretty interesting features, such as a complex and rather stunning case (at least when looked from the side) and a solid offering of new in-house movements – including the long-anticipated integrated chronograph calibre. But the look wasn’t striking enough yet. Things changed when AP decided to spice things up with gradient dials, two-tone cases or ceramic accents, enhancing the complex shape of the case. But all were mostly made of gold… Expensive, heavy and too formal for some.
Things are changing this year with the introduction of the steel Code 11.59 models. Six references, available in time-and-date and chronograph models, featuring new dials, with cool colour and more lively textures. What remains is the shape of the case, which is still one of the most complex in the brand’s portfolio. Composed of stylized openworked lugs, an ultra-thin bezel, an octagonal case middle and a curvature that runs from 12 to 6 o’clock, it remains discreet at first sight and becomes much more interesting when looking at the side. Now made of steel (for the bezel, lugs and caseback), the finishing is no less impressive, with a combination of brushed surfaces and hand-polished accents. The models with beige dial add a case middle and a crown in black ceramic, for even more contrast. Unfortunately, the water-resistance remains rated at 30 metres.
One of the benefits of using stainless steel is to bring more comfort, thanks to a lighter material. All models are still 41mm in diameter, with a thickness of 10.7mm on the time-and-date models and 12.6mm on the chronographs. And steel will of course be more resistant in daily-use conditions. To further enhance the casual style of these models, AP has given its steel Code 11.59 some rubber and leather straps with a textile pattern, closed by a pin buckle, with colours matching the dials.
Talking about the dials, this is where things really improve. Gone are the flat lacquered dials and the thin hands and markers. All six steel models, even though different in colour, have a new pattern that makes the watch far more lively. The dial has a ripple pattern with concentric circles. These are obtained by a stamped process, but their creation is the result of a collaboration with guilloché craftsman Yann von Kaenel. He engraved by hand the basic stamps, with waves and hundreds of tiny holes. So even though stamped, the dials have a rather impressive level of detail.
Three different colours are available for these Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet in stainless steel. First is a classic of the brand, the Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50, found on the Royal Oak Jumbo. It’s combined with a dark grey inner flange and contrasting grey counters on the chronograph version. The second colour is a trendy khaki green, with a tone-on-tone flange and rhodium-plated counter scales on the chronograph. Finally, the models with contrasting ceramic elements on the case have a gradient beige dial, which is smoked away from the centre and becomes completely black towards the outer edge. The chronograph adds black contrast on the counters. Note that the inner flange has been redesigned too on these steel models. It’s wider, has a smoother bevel and a more detailed minute/second track.
Another evolution on the steel Audemars Piguet 11.59 concerns the hands and markers, with new elongated hour markers replacing the Arabic numerals of the gold models. All elements are wider, faceted and now feature luminous inserts. The applied brand logo is still present and made of gold. And on the 3-hand models, the date has been moved to 3 o’clock and is framed by a metallic element.
No evolutions to be seen, however, inside these new steel cases. The time-and-date models are still powered by the in-house calibre 4302, an automatic movement with 4Hz frequency and 70h power reserve. The chronographs retain the impressive integrated chronograph calibre 4401 with a column wheel and flyback function. Visible through the sapphire back, these movements are wound by a solid pink gold rotor and nicely decorated.
Availability & Price
The six new stainless steel Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding and Selfwinding Chronograph models will be part of the permanent collection and available in April 2023. Prices start from EUR 25,200 (incl. EU taxes) for the time-and-date model and from EUR 34,800 (incl. EU taxes) for the chronograph version – versus EUR 34,200 and EUR 53,900 respectively in gold.
For more details, please visit www.audemarspiguet.com.