High-tech ceramic is the big protagonist of Audemars Piguet’s releases this autumn and makes its way, for the first time, into tourbillon and chronograph models of the Code 11.59 collection. So far, we’ve seen ceramic on the cases of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar and the ROC Tourbillon GMT. Now it’s the Code 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked’s turn to get the ceramic treatment. Marking a departure from the elegant black-tie ceramic touches, this model flaunts a vibrant electric shade of blue ceramic. You can imagine the design team at Audemars Piguet listening to the “blue, blue electric blue” line from David Bowie’s Sound and Vision album when they came up with the new colour scheme for this 50-piece limited edition. Welcome back the Tourbillon Openworked in a two-tone blue ceramic and white gold case with a colour scheme that makes its way into the heart of the movement.
The case of Code 11.59 is well worth a second glance. Close up, the complexity of the architecture, composed of an octagonal case middle, a slim round bezel and openworked lugs welded to the bezel and caseback, can be appreciated along with the meticulous hand finishings. With its 41mm diameter and 10.7mm height, the case offers plenty of retail space for different material combinations.
Following its debut in 2019 in solid pink gold with black bridges and plates, the Code 11.59 Openworked Tourbillon materialised later that year in a two-tone white and rose gold unique edition for Only Watch, and in 2021 with another two-tone white and pink gold case with grey accents. The latest model sticks to the two-tone formula, but the electric blue ceramic notes give it a more vibrant, energetic character that is not afraid of the limelight.
The octagonal blue ceramic case middle displays the same finishings you would find on a gold case middle, namely a satin-brushed central flank with polished chamfers, all executed by hand. Without going into the alchemy involved in producing a uniform ceramic colour, suffice it to say that the blue pigmentation has been mixed with a binder to ensure an even and long-lasting colour. Contrasting with the electric blue ceramic is the 18k white gold bezel, the openworked lugs and the caseback, all decorated by hand with alternating satin-brushed and polished finishings.
Replicating the electric blue ceramic case middle is the blue CVD inner bezel with white minute markings and the inscription ‘Audemars Piguet’ at noon. Dipping down into the openworked dial is a series of gracefully curved bridges picked out in blue to hold the in-house tourbillon movement – calibre 2948 – in place. The electric blue shade is obtained using an ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) process and is applied to the mainplate and bridges, visible on both sides of the watch.
Arranged vertically, the movement displays the pink gold-toned balance wheel of the tourbillon at 6 o’clock and the openworked barrel at noon with a view of the light grey gear train in the centre. The slim 18k pink gold hour and minute hands provide an extra degree of contrast to consult the time. Protected by a contemporary double-curved sapphire crystal, like all models in the Code 11.59 family, the arched profile creates a unique optic experience.
Just 3.65mm thick, the 70 V-angles of the hand-wound movement are polished by hand. AP’s calibre 2948 beats at 21,600vph and delivers a power reserve of 72 hours. To complement the blue tones of the movement, the Tourbillon Openworked comes on a blue textured rubber-coated strap with a calfskin lining and an 18k white gold AP folding clasp.
Availability & Price
The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Tourbillon Openworked Electric Blue (reference 26600NB.OO.D346KB.01) is a limited edition of 50 pieces and retails for CHF 199,000 (excl. taxes). For more information, please consult audemarspiguet.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.