Audemars Piguet’s CODE 11:59 sought mixed reviews for its divisive looks when it launched last year.
This year, the firm wants to not only reiterate that the range is here to stay, but also try to change your mind with brand new dials, and by the looks of those smoked sunburst lacquered dials and case treatment, they’ll be doing just that.
Applied to the CODE 11:59 Self-winding and Self-winding Chronograph models, this expansion pack lends serious visual upgrade to what many felt was a bland and underwhelming design at debut. This was despite the fact that the collection — which was touted as the biggest AP launch since the Royal Oak in 1972 — featured a brand new octagonal and round-shaped case design, a double-curved profile, and an archival typeface for the numerals.
The new models aren’t the first CODE 11:59 models to have dials with colour gradients; the self-winding flying tourbillon and minute repeater at launch had a blue gradient dial, and a limited edition for the Bolshoi Ballet has a blue gradient grand feu enamel one. Audemars Piguet must’ve finally figured out that lending more visual depth to the existing models, especially the more minimalist time-only pieces, would do plenty to revive interest in the collection again.
Both the three-hand automatic and chronograph watches see smoked lacquered dials with a sunburst pattern in hues of blue, burgundy, purple, as well as light and dark grey. The grey iterations are also marked by a new two-toned case variant: An 18K pink gold octagonal middle case that’s sandwiched by 18K white gold bezel, lugs, and caseback. It highlights not only highlights the brand’s penchant for octagonal cases (Royal Oak reference here), but also its ability to apply high-end finishing techniques. The striking tiered effect by the unusual double curved crystal — somewhat muted by the flatness of the single-toned dials previously — is further emphasised here too with the gradiated dials.
Two-tone gold cases are extremely rare in Audemars Piguet’s history, much less a white and pink gold combination and only one other such wristwatch has been recorded in the history books. The two models comes with a matching grey or black hand-stitched alligator strap.
Both the time-only and chronograph models are 41mm, and sport the same movements as their predecessors. The former is powered by the calibre 4302 — an automatic movement with second and instant-jump date indication — while the latter by the calibre 4401, an integrated chronograph with column wheel and flyback function that enables to restart the chronograph without stopping and resetting it first. Both offer 70 hours of power reserve.
The Calibre 4401 is also the first to highlight the “dance” of the chronograph hammer when the chronograph is reset to zero, thrusting a function that’s often hidden from view back into the limelight via the visible caseback.
The Audemars Piguet CODE 11:59 Selfwinding and Audemars Piguet CODE 11:59 Selfwinding Chronograph will be priced at 27,000 Swiss francs (approx. S$39,900) and 42,600 Swiss francs (approx. S$63,000) respectively.