Decoded: New Code 11.59 Models from Audemars Piguet

Breaking all preconceived notions, Audemars Piguet has just launched new variants of Code 11.59
Decoded: New Code 11.59 Models from Audemars Piguet
February 9, 2023
Decoded: New Code 11.59 Models from Audemars Piguet

When Audemars Piguet created Code 11.59 in 2019, it became the new talking point in the horology industry. As we all know, the brand is known for its Royal Oak collection with different complications. One can say that Code 11.59 denoted quite a different move from the timepiece maker. The collection gets its name from the minute before midnight. It took Audemars Piguet almost five years to develop Code 11.59 before the final reveal. It is an amalgamation of everything a Royal Oak is famous for. 

It is often said that the Royal Oak is the most complicated collection. But breaking all preconceived notions, Audemars Piguet has just launched new variants of Code 11.59. 

The new Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4 features a split-seconds chronograph (rattrapante) with an integrated flyback function, a perpetual calendar that works up to the year 2400, a striking mechanism with Grande Sonnerie, Petite Sonnerie, minute repeater and a flying tourbillon. Powering this new Code 11.59 is Audemars Piguet in-house self-winding Calibre 1000 with 64 hours of power reserve. 

Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Universelle is the brand’s most complicated wristwatch in recent years – or perhaps ever.

Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4 (Ref. 26398BC.OO.D002CR.01) sports a 42-mm, 18-ct, white gold case with designated three pushers on the left edge of the case. The middle one corrects the day of the week at 9 o'clock, the lower one is for the moon phase. The upper one is used to start the minute repeater and thus replaces a slider.

The collection is a tribute to L’Universelle, the grand complication pocket watch from 1899 made by AP for German watchmaker Union.

Coming on the right side of the case, there are three crowns, each with an integrated coaxial pusher. The pusher at 2 o’clock is used to set the type of chime: Grande Sonnerie (hours and quarter hours chime by themselves), Petite Sonnerie (hours chime by themselves) or silence. This pusher helps start and stop the chronograph. The pusher at 3 o’clock is for setting and winding the hands, and the pusher at 4 o’clock activates the split-seconds mechanism. The last crown at 4 o’clock is used to adjust the month at 3 o'clock — this works in both directions, whereby the two-digit year display at 4 o'clock moves ahead even when you go from January to December. The pusher is used to reset the flyback chronograph, which immediately starts up again at zero without stopping.

The mechanical complexity is visible below a hinged, hunter back that is actually the outer resonating case back of AP’s Supersonnerie device.

The two split-seconds chronograph models have  black and beige dials, black counters with light grey external zones, white or pink gold applied hour-markers and hands. Finishing both the watches are black alligator straps with 18 ct white gold AP folding clasps. 

The correction pushers on the left of the case

Ref. 26398BC.OO.D002CR.04 gets a beige dial. Turning both the watches over showcases the 18 ct white gold ‘secret' casebacks, opening on to the Supersonnerie sapphire membranes. Both models get the date windows at 12 o’clock, 30-minute subdials with integrated day of the week windows at 9 o’clock, date windows at 4:30, flying tourbillons at 6 o’clock, moon phases at 7:30, and 12-hour subdials with month windows at 3 o’clock.

The Code 11.59 Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4 combines a Grande Sonnerie with the patented Supersonnerie technology introduced by Audemars Piguet in 2015.

The next offerings from Code 11.59 include an 18 ct white gold model (Ref. 26398BC.OO.D002CR.02) and 18 ct pink gold one (Ref. 26398OR.OO.D002CR.01). These perpetual calendars have the accuracy till the year 2400, taking into consideration the fact that a leap year falls in years that are divided by 100 and not 400. Both watches come in 42-mm diameter cases. 

A Grande Sonnerie timepiece strikes the hours and every quarter hour by passing (repeating the hour before the quarter every time), without any involvement from the wearer.

The white gold model gets grey counters with black external zones, 18 ct white gold hands, black inner bezels and red-tip second hands for the split seconds. The pink gold model gets 18 ct pink gold hour, minute and seconds hand. Depending on the model, the bezel, the lugs, the crown with inbuilt pushers and the 18 ct ‘secret’ caseback, opening on to the Supersonnerie sapphire membrane, are made of 18 ct white or pink gold. 

The gongs are no longer attached to the mainplate, but to a 0.6 mm sapphire crystal membrane acting as a soundboard that improves sound transmission

On the dial of each of these watches is a date window at 12 o’clock, a 12-hour subdial within which lies a month subdial at 3 o’clock, a flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock and a 30-minute subdial within which lies the day of the week subdial at 9 o’clock. 

The watches feature a “secret” caseback in matching gold that amplifies the chime when closed and offers a look at the movement when opened, including the Supersonnerie sapphire membrane.

The watches are finished on black alligator straps with 18 ct white gold or 18 ct pink gold AP folding clasps. 

These watches are not meant for diving as they have water resistance of up to 20 metres.

Image Credits: Audemars Piguet

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