The Salon International de le Haute Horlogerie Genève is a very long name for, perhaps, the most prestigious of watchmaking showcases anywhere in the world. Every year, it brings incredible horological innovations to the fore and tells wristwatch obsessives what to expect from the hottest trends of the next twelve months.
This year, SIHH 2019 was abuzz with news of an imminent release from Audemars Piguet line CODE 11.59. It’s called the Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Self-Winding Chronograph and it promises to be magnificent, not least because it’s the most anticipated wrist watch release of the last two decades.
With the CODE 11.59, Audemars Piguet hopes to add a new page to its long history and prove classic can (and will) take on contemporary. Let’s take a closer look and see what the watchmaker is promising to deliver:
The Build and Design
The CODE 11.59 is designed to be modern, to look and feel contemporary. Those classic details that mark it out as something special are there, but this isn’t a homage to older styles and days gone by. It has a very fresh and clean aesthetic, with a rather remarkable looking case. At first glance, it looks like a minimalistic round case encircled by a thin bezel.
Get closer, however, and you’ll see its enhanced with the most gorgeous of juxtaposed geometries. As has become customary, the octagon is front and centre; it’s as much a part of the branding as the Audemars Piguet logo at this point. We love the fact its lugs are open worked. They’re not soldered to the central case or bezel as might be expected.
While the strap looks a little on the large side, it’s partly due to the inclusion of a bigger dial opening. The CODE 11.59 is broad enough to fit most wrists (it has a diameter of 41mm), but it doesn’t look quite as bulky when worn as it does on display.
The Little Things
Nobody who knows wristwatches expects anything less than meticulous perfection from Audemars Piguet and the CODE 11.59 doesn’t disappoint. The quality of artisanry on show here is quite extraordinary. From the impeccable finish to the delicate hands and crisp dials, this is a watch that only comes along once in a blue moon.
The elegant baton style hands gleam, the raised logo on the inside is almost inexplicable (how did they manage that) – and the brushed finish is a joy. We’re particularly fond of the polished section around the dial. The transition between brushed and polished finishes gives the lugs a really distinctive aesthetic.
We haven’t even talked about the self-winding three hander features yet. They’re certainly worthy of a close inspection. If you turn the device over, you’ll find its winding mechanisms all bare and exposed. It could be argued that there’s a curious coldness to this mechanical exposure, but don’t forget the winding system is only visible when off your wrist.
So, actually, it becomes rather personal and tender. The wearer is the only one with access to the delicate heart of the CODE 11.59. They’re the only one who can look inside and see study its moving parts. There’s got to be a deep metaphor somewhere in there, right?
The Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Self-Winding Chronograph is available in 18k pink gold (with a white or black dial) or 18k white gold (with a black or blue dial). It is water resistant (up to 30metres) and its self-winding mechanism is undoubtedly one of the best on the market right now. When it comes to the chronograph, the CODE 11.59 gets even more impressive.
The chronograph 4400 has been highly anticipated by wristwatch collectors. It’s taken the company five years to perfect, but does it live up to the hype? Audemars Piguet has plans to use the chronograph design in future products so it does need to satisfy brand followers. Fortunately, it manages to combine restrained beauty with faultless performance. The vertical clutch is 32mm in diameter and offers up to seventy hours of battery life.
The Final Verdict
The CODE 11.59 is a remarkable piece of horological engineering, but we can’t clam to be surprised by its brilliance. We’re talking about a master watchmaker: one of the best in the world. And its latest creation is modern without being aesthetically fussy or overwrought. It’s traditional and still thoroughly innovative.
In short, we love it. We think you’ll love it. If you’re a wristwatch collector and a big fan of Audemars Piguet, you can’t go wrong with the CODE 11.59. But then, you already knew that.