For autumn 2022, Audemars Piguet will be introducing a dash of coloured ceramic to some of the more complicated watches, including members of its Code 11.59 collection. Aware of the fact that there are few marriages in the watch world sexier than pink gold and black ceramic, AP has chosen this provocative dress code for its complex Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph. More than just a two-tone case, which AP has already toyed with in the past, this model takes the black and pink gold colour scheme all the way into the heart of the skeletonised movement.
We met the Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph a year ago in a white gold case with blue lacquered details on the flange and chronograph counters. This year’s model shares identical specifications but sails in with a devastatingly attractive combination of pink gold and black ceramic. Aware of the effect that pink gold holds to highlight certain features and black ceramic to attenuate others, the large deep case of the Code 11.59 is an ideal candidate for this makeover.
Black ceramic & pink Gold
A fleeting glance does not do justice to the complexity and craftsmanship invested in the case of the Code 11.59 collection. What might seem to be a round case with a thin bezel is actually composed of an octagonal case middle – a nod to the Royal Oak- and a module with the bezel and hollowed lugs surmounting the case. All Code 11.59 models share a 41mm diameter, but the case thickness varies. The case is 13.8mm thick in this model and made of sleek, high-tech black ceramic with a smooth satin-brushed finishing executed by hand. The 18k rose gold pushers, crown, hollowed lugs and bezel provide a dramatic contrast to the black ceramic and are also meticulously hand-finished with brushed surfaces and polished bevels.
REfined, Openworked Dial
The two-tone colour scheme of the case is also used to highlight elements of the openworked movement revealed on the dial. It’s worth noting that, unlike a skeletonised movement where a watchmaker takes his tools to remove material from the bridges and plates to reveal different parts of an already existing movement, openworked models, like this one, are conceived from scratch. This means that the bridges and plates are cut by CNC machines before being handed over to AP’s team of artisans.
Plunging from the rounded black lacquered seconds flange into the heart of the movement, AP uses black and pink gold tones to craft the graceful, symmetrical structure of bridges that support the indications. The two chronograph counters – 30-min and12-hour elapsed times at 9 and 3 o’clock, respectively – are framed in a pink gold tone and display their white numerals on a black circular track, while the profound aperture at 6 o’clock reveals the 60-minute flying tourbillon.
To give you an idea of the workmanship involved, the 111 V-angles on the bridges and decorative elements have all been sandblasted, satin-finished and polished by hand. According to the brand, the decoration of the movement takes over 70 hours of manual work. The dial is protected by a double-curved sapphire with an internal dome shape and a vertical curve from 6 to 12 o’clock for a unique optic experience.
Instead of using the existing calibre 4400 base, AP developed a new calibre for its chronograph and tourbillon complication. Although the combination of a chronograph and tourbillon is not a novelty for the brand, calibre 2952 incorporates a flying regulator and automatic winding with a central rotor. The chronograph also has a sophisticated flyback function, which can be reset and restarted with one push.
The sapphire caseback reveals the 22k openworked pink gold rotor and the blackened bridges supporting different elements of the movement. With 479 components and 40 jewels, the movement operates at a frequency of 21,600vph/3Hz and delivers a robust 65-hour power reserve.
A black textured rubber-coated strap and 18k pink gold AP folding clasp complement the two-tone colour scheme.
Availability & Price
The Code 11.59 By Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph Black Ceramic and Gold (reference 26399NR.OO.D002KB.01) is a limited edition of 50 pieces, worn on a black textured rubber-coated strap and 18k pink gold AP folding clasp. It is priced at CHF 272,500 (excl. taxes).
For more information, please consult audemarspiguet.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.