Audemars Piguet just introduced five complicated watches in its Royal Oak, Royal Oak Concept and Code 11.59 collections, and while they contain watchmaking’s most traditional high complications – tourbillon, chronograph and perpetual calendar – they balance that with some modern, avant-garde design elements. The three Code 11.59 models are cased in high-tech ceramic combined with 18k gold, in a very modern expression of haute watchmaking, and all are tourbillons.
The Code 11.59 Tourbillon with black onyx dial is one of the brands coolest applications – cool in the sense that it is rigorously minimalist. The onyx is polished to a high gleam and left to shine without interruption but for the tourbillon opening at 6 o’clock and the pink gold logo at 12. Numerals are discreetly positioned just inside the model’s signature thin, barely-there bezel, for an overall expression of rigorous design purity.
At the other extreme is the wildly hued 11.59 electric blue. Here, the tourbillon is surrounded by openworked curved bridges (with 70 hand-polished V angles) that have been coated in can’t-miss-it bright blue using a process called ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition). The inner bezel is lacquered, and the case is 18k white gold and blue ceramic. It is limited to 50 pieces.
A third Code 11.59 adds a chronograph function to the tourbillon and combines black ceramic with 18k pink gold, a color combo that has been used a lot lately as an expression of classic high watchmaking. It’s the livery of special pieces and limited editions – this one is restricted to 50. The hand finishing on the 111 V angles of the openworked bridges and plate took 70 hours.
The Royal Oak also gets the ceramic treatment in this drop, with the case and signature eight-sized bezel on this model rendered in electric blue, with the grande tapisserie dial tinted to match. It’s an ultra-thin perpetual calendar – 9.5mm thick – containing Audemars Piguet’s automatic QP caliber 5134 with a peripheral rotor. It’s a heritage complication for AP: In 1978, it released the world’s thinnest selfwinding perpetual calendar wristwatch of its time and produced models using that movement for the next 15 years.
A new version of the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT is given green CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) inserts on the case and bezel, along with pink gold hands, crown, balance wheel and logo – all of which makes for a jaunty color combo. The piece was first introduced in titanium and black ceramic. The movement, caliber 2954 is equipped with a patented parallel double barrel system that gives it a 10-day power reserve.
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