The Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 has become the collection of predilection for the brand’s complications – as seen with the new Universelle with calibre 1000. Among the different iterations of the Code are chiming watches with the impressive Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie or the Minute Repeater Supersonnerie. The latter is now fitted with a tinted sapphire dial offering the possibility to observe the spectacle of the intricately shaped racks, snails, cams and wheels of its chiming mechanism.
2015 marked an important date in the long tradition Audemars Piguet tradition of crafting chiming watches. With the Royal Oak Concept RD#1 Supersonnerie, the brand presented an innovative concept which will be available in the collection a year later with the Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie (ref. 26577TI). The Supersonnerie mechanism endowed this striking watch with an impressively loud and clear sound. Its patented technology resulted from 8 years of research in collaboration with EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. It has since been applied to an even more complex Grande Sonnerie Carillon.
Behind the Supersonnerie concept are several clever ideas. First and foremost, the overall construction of the watch has been re-imagined as a musical instrument, like an acoustic guitar if you wish. If in a traditional chiming watch, the coiled gongs are fixed to the movement’s mainplate, in “Supersonnerie” watches, these are attached to a new element, a soundboard crafted in a specific alloy to optimize vibrations. Now, the gongs transmit vibrations directly to the soundboard and not to the mainplate, thus amplifying the sound and improving its quality, its tone and its resonance. Back to our analogy, the gongs behave like the strings of the guitar, the hammers like the player’s finger and the soundboard acts as the instrument’s body and helps to amplify the sound.
Audemars Piguet has also worked on an important mechanical element of a chiming watch, the striking regulator. Also known as the governor, it is the device that sets the pace of the striking sequence of hours, quarters and minutes. It has been redesigned so that unwanted shock noises are eliminated. This helps to reduce mechanical ‘background’ noises that degrade the quality of the chime. Finally, the Supersonnerie ensures perfect tempo to chime the hours and minutes without interruption when there are no quarters. Combining these elements, the sound becomes clearer, richer, brighter and louder.
Among the different Supersonnerie watches is the white gold Code 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie. Unveiled at SIHH 2019, it was one of the 6 inaugural Code 11.59 models. Originally fitted with a blue fume dial, it now comes with a sapphire dial revealing the intricately shaped racks, snails, cams and wheels driving its chiming mechanism. Both technical and beautiful, the display is captivating particularly as it is set in motion when the chime is activated. Pink gold details adorn the dial providing an elegant contrast. The pink gold hands, hour-markers, Audemars Piguet signature and the small seconds counter gold thread have all been achieved thanks to galvanic growth, a process akin to 3D printing.
Just like for the previous version of the Code 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie, the watch comes in a 41mm two-tone case. Made of 18k pink gold with a black ceramic octagonal middle case, it combines satin-brushed and polished surfaces. The hand-wound calibre 2953 inside is 30mm in diameter and 6mm in height. It ticks at 21,600 vibrations per hour with 72 hours of power reserve when fully wound. A security mechanism prevents you from setting the time when the chime is activated and thus prevents it from damaging the movement. If the bridge side is hidden behind the Supersonnerie solid case-back, it has a beautiful, traditional architecture and layout. The decoration includes Geneva stripes, anglage, perlage, polished sinks or gold-toned engravings.
The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Minute Repeater Supersonnerie with smoked sapphire dial is presented on a black textured rubber-coated strap with a gold AP folding buckle. The price is upon request.
For more information, please visit www.audemarspiguet.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.