The Code 11.59 line from Audemars Piguet is only getting better – and two of its latest novelties are definitive proof. Growing into its own and developing its DNA ever further, the collection is evidently here to impress with the new Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon and Minute Repeater Supersonnerie. As always, Swisswatches is here to talk you through the most important and exciting details this extraordinary launch entails.
Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon
The new Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon from Audemars Piguet is the successor to the Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon editions with blue or black aventurine dials from 2020. Creating this new, ethereal piece requires highly skilled craftsmanship and a big dose of watchmaking know-how – and here’s why.
While the new Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon‘s predecessors have pink-gold or white-gold cases, the latest iteration is bi-colour. Consisting of a pink-gold case in combination with a black ceramic middle, the watch case alternates between satin and polished finishing. Only a handful of horological experts have the ability to finish a case like this. Likewise, the black ceramic middle part requires very specific manufacturing and hand-finished processes.
Audemars Piguet match the two-tone case with a smoked, enamelled aventurine dark green dial. The horology house couples this deep, dark aesthetic with glowing pink-gold accents and hands that match perfectly to the case. The dial also features the remarkable impression of light and depth present on all classic Code 11.59 models, with the focus culminating on the flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock.
A show of craftsmanship
But how is this illusion of depth achieved? Firstly, the manufacture’s in-house dial specialists cover the gold dial with a blend of crushed aventurine glass and enamel. Naturally, each enamel dial is unique due to the organic nature of its materials, as well as its hand manufacturing technique and time in the kiln.
Secondly, a very thin layer of glass sand is mixed with water and applied by hand on the crushed aventurine glass, before being heated to over 800oC in a dedicated oven. The procedure is repeated multiple times to achieve remarkable transparency, depth and light. Each session in the kiln requires different temperatures and times. Last but not least, watchmakers place the dial under the collection’s distinctive double curved sapphire crystal, further intensifying the play of light.
Powering the latest Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon from Audemars Piguet is the calibre 2950 – the same movement powering its predecessors. Combining a flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock with a subtle pink gold-toned balance wheel and a central rotor, it’s a sight to behold – and a fairly rare one at the maison.
After all, the flying tourbillon has previously only been seen in the Royal Oak collection, making the Code 11.59 the second contemporary line to host this complex, historic mechanism first conceived back in 1920. In addition, the calibre 2950 offers hours and minutes alongside a 65-hour power reserve. The movement beats at a frequency of 3 Hz (21,600 vph).
Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon: Final facts
The new Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon from Audemars Piguet is coupled with a comfortable black textured rubber-coated strap with calfskin inner lining. It secures to the wearer’s wrist with the help of an 18-carat pink gold folding clasp. Price: 147.900 CHF without tax.
Code 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie
Another horological wonder emerging from the eminent horology house is the Code 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie. While we have seen this piece before in the form of a white-gold model with a smoked blue enamel dial, the latest iteration features a bicolour case. The most intriguing part, however, is the new smoked sapphire dial, revealing a captivating glimpse into the intricate mechanism that lies below.
The pink-gold case housing this mechanism features the typical Code 11.59 architecture, while integrating a black ceramic octagonal case middle. As with all the cases in the collection, it showcases highly crafted hand finishing and decoration – principally satin brushing and polishing that accentuate the distinctive case shape.
The star of the show, however, is naturally the smoked sapphire dial revealing the complexity of the Minute Repeater Supersonnerie mechanism below. Incorporating pink-gold hands and hour markers that recall the main case, the dial also features the ‘Audemars Piguet’ signature using galvanic growth. This is a sophisticated process akin to 3D printing, explained in more detail in the following in-depth article. Likewise, the minimalist small seconds counter’s gold thread also uses this complex process.
The Minute Repeater Supersonnerie
The smoked sapphire dial provides the opportunity for the wearer to see the incredible mechanism that lies beneath. But what is the story behind it?
Calibre 2953: The background
The hand-wound minute repeater visible via the dial is the calibre 2953. It features Audemars Piguet’s Supersonnerie technology, which first made an appearance in the form of the Royal Oak Concept RD#1 back in 2016. The minute repeater strives to produce a high sound quality and harmonic tones – something lost to an extent in recent years due to the rise in ever-increasingly robust and water-resistant cases. In order to counter this obstacle, the horology house worked alongside the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne as well as academics, musicians, and engineers.
The technicalities of the calibre 2953
The result of their labour comes to fruition in the calibre 2953, which features special patented gongs, a unique case construction, as well as a striking regulator. The gongs do not attach to the mainplate, but to a new device acting as a soundboard. In turn, this improves sound transmission. The redesigned striking regulator eliminates unwanted noise thanks to its more flexible anchor system.
This innovative Supersonnerie technology also provides a sharper tempo, as the hours and minutes chime without interruption when there is no quarter chiming sequence. Furthermore, a security function prevents the user from altering the time display while the striking mechanism is active. Meanwhile, Audemars Piguet opt for a solid caseback with small apertures in order to create a resonance chamber, helping to create the optimum sound quality. Last but not least, the calibre 2953 has a power reserve of approximately 72 hours and beats at a frequency of 3 Hz.
A long history of expertise
That Audemars Piguet should achieve such a feat as this watch is no wonder. After all, the company has been working with chiming mechanisms since it’s very founding in 1875. Records show that more than half of the 1,625 watches produced between 1882 and 1892 included a chiming mechanism, while between the years 1892 to 1957, Audemars Piguet was a pioneer in the development of repeater wristwatches thanks to its expertise in miniaturization. Likewise, the 1990s also saw a rise in minute repeater mechanisms, with Audemars Piguet leading the way in the watchmaking world.
Price and availability
The Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie comes on a black rubber-coated strap with 18-carat pink gold folding clasp. The price of the extraordinary timepiece is 325.000 CHF without tax.
FEATURES: Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon
|MODEL||Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon / 41 mm|
|CASE MATERIAL||Black ceramic case middle, 18-carat pink gold bezel, lugs and crown, pink gold caseback|
|DIMENSIONS||Diameter: 41 mm|
Height: 11.8 mm
|WATER RESISTANCE||30 m (~3 bar)|
|DIAL||Smoked green enamelled aventurine dial, pink gold hour-markers and hands|
|STRAP/BRACELET||Black textured rubber-coated strap with calfskin inner lining, 18-carat pink gold AP folding clasp|
|MOVEMENT|| Calibre 2950|
|POWER RESERVE||65 hours|
|FREQUENCY||3 Hz (21,600 vph)|
|FUNCTIONS||Flying tourbillon, hours and minutes|
|PRICE||147,900 CHF without tax|
FEATURES: Minute Repeater Supersonnerie
|MODEL||Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Minute Repeater Supersonnerie|
|CASE MATERIAL||Black ceramic and 18-carat pink gold|
|DIMENSIONS||Diameter: 41 mm|
Height: 13.6 mm
|WATER RESISTANCE||20 m (~2 bar)|
|DIAL||Smoked sapphire dial|
|STRAP/BRACELET||Black rubber-coated strap with 18-carat pink gold AP folding clasp|
|MOVEMENT TYPE||Manual winding|
|POWER RESERVE||72 hours|
|FREQUENCY||3 Hz (21,600 vph)|
|FUNCTIONS||Minute repeater Supersonnerie, hours, minutes and small seconds|
|PRICE||325,000 CHF without tax|