022 may be the 50th anniversary of the Royal Oak, but Audemars Piguet’s watchmakers have also been very active pushing the creative limits of the contemporary Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet this year. A selection of new complication timepieces are making their appearance in the collection.
- A variation on the collection’s Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph comes in a two-tone black ceramic and 18-carat pink gold case that highlights the complex architecture of the collection along with the three-dimensional aesthetic of the movement.
- A new take on the Tourbillon Openworked com- bines 18-carat white gold with electric blue ceramic for the first time. Pink gold accents highlight the hand-finished openworked Calibre 2948, a testament to the meticulous work of the Manufacture’s craftspeople.
- Pure elegance is the definition of a new Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon, marrying 18-carat white gold, black ceramic and a black onyx dial, whose purity is highlighted by the absence of hour markers.
CODE 11.59 BY AUDEMARS PIGUET SELFWINDING FLYING TOURBILLON CHRONOGRAPH
This year, black ceramic, a light and ultra-strong material, appears on several of the complication models in the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection. The new Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph, for instance, combines black ceramic with 18-carat pink gold. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor unveiled in 2021, the timepiece is limited to 50 pieces and pairs contemporary design with ancestral know-how.
Although ceramic already featured on Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet chronographs in 2021, this is the first time it has been used on watches with complications. Part of the appeal of black ceramic lies in its high-tech appearance; each model requires specific manufacturing and hand-finishing processes. While the exact composition of the ceramic remains a well-kept secret, it is made of zirconium oxide powder (ZrO2) which is combined with a special binding agent. The colour reveals itself only once the material has been sintered at around 1,400° C.
“The latest version of our selfwinding flying tourbillon chronograph brings together the contemporary nature of hand-finished black ceramic and the timeless impact of 18-carat pink gold in a unified and balanced design. The entire watch is a canvas of 21st century hand-finishing and a celebration of the latest generation of complicated mechanisms.” Michael Friedman, Head of Complications
A hypnotic flying tourbillon
Echoing the two-tone case, the architectural movement comprises openworked bridges in both black and pink gold tones, and a matching pink gold-toned balance wheel. The 18-carat white gold hands bring light into the heart of the movement, while the bridges and decorative elements feature 111 V-shaped angles that have been sandblasted, satin-finished and polished by hand.
This new model is powered by the Calibre 2952, Audemars Piguet’s latest selfwinding movement, equipped with a hypnotic flying tourbillon and a contemporary flyback chronograph. The sapphire caseback reveals the movement’s 479 components and its 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight. The caseback also bears the engraving “Limited Edition of 50 Pieces.”
CODE 11.59 BY AUDEMARS PIGUET TOURBILLON OPENWORKED
Audemars Piguet is also introducing a new variation of its Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Tourbillon Openworked, once more a limited edition of 50 pieces. The 41 mm case features a blue ceramic case middle that contrasts with the 18-carat white gold bezel, lugs and caseback. While blue ceramic was already employed in the Royal Oak Offshore collection in 2020 (ref. 26405CE), this is the first time it has appeared on a Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet. Obtaining a uniform blue represents an additional challenge, as the final colour of the ceramic depends entirely on reaching a very precise sintering temperature.
Like the gold components, the ceramic case middle is meticulously hand-finished with the Manufacture’s trademark satin brushing and polished chamfers. The artisans’ final challenge was to achieve a perfect balance of rounded and angular surfaces, between the ceramic and white gold elements, offering a fascinating interplay with the light – a task only achievable by hand.
“This new Tourbillon Openworked showcases the talents and dedication of our artisans in hand finishing, while reflecting the constant search for new materials conducted by the Manufacture.” Anne-Gaëlle Quinet, Complications Expert
Powerful 3D effect in electric blue
This timepiece is equipped with the Calibre 2948, a hand-wound openworked tourbillon movement constructed on several levels. Its openworked mainplate and bridges come in shades of blue obtained by a process called ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition). This deep blue is offset by a pink gold-toned balance wheel and an openworked barrel that reveals the spring and the light grey gear train within.
With 70 hand-polished V-shaped angles, the finish of this 3.65 mm deep movement takes openworking to new heights, with the tri-tone decorations amplifying the 3D effect. The blue CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) inner bezel complements the openworked movement and accentuates the extreme thinness of the bezel, which is barely visible around the dial.
CODE 11.59 BY AUDEMARS PIGUET SELFWINDING FLYING TOURBILLON
Last but not least, Audemars Piguet introduces the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon with black onyx dial. With a stylised two-tone case design interweaving black ceramic with 18-carat white gold for a powerful contrast, the watch’s blend of natural stone, precious metal and high-tech ceramic takes the collection to new heights of creative expression.
The black onyx dial, a striking feature of the new timepiece, is highlighted by the absence of hour markers. It was crafted in collaboration with long-term partner Someco, a specialist dial manufacturer founded in 1966, based in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Carved from a single block of black onyx, the dial is cut into a thin disc, ground, sanded and polished to perfection before being inserted into the dial’s pink-gold-toned brass base plate. The elegantly polished surface is magnified by the watch’s double curved sapphire crystal. Each dial is unique, as each stone has its own natural composition, texture and colour and reacts differently to the manufacturing and finishing operations.
For the first time, the upper bridge of the flying tourbillon cage has been finished with black PVD, echoing the colour of the dial.
When black ceramic meets white gold
The case requires complex programming, dedicated tools and highly specialised craftsmanship for its manufacture and hand finishing. Like the 2021 Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Chronograph, the ceramic case middle was crafted in collaboration with Bangerter, a Swiss family-owned company that specialises in the manufacture of precision components from advanced ceramics, tungsten carbide and other super hard materials.
Like previous iterations, this new model is powered by the selfwinding Calibre 2950. While the flying tourbillon made its appearance in 2018 in the Royal Oak Concept collection, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet first introduced this prestigious mechanism, coupled with a central rotor, in 2019.
The timepiece’s sapphire caseback reveals the collection’s dedicated 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight and the refined finishes of the Calibre 2950, which include Geneva striping, hand-drawn strokes, snailing and circular graining.