Audemars Piguet launched this year at SIHH a new line of watches, the Code 11.59. I don’t remember, in the recent years, to see so much controversy when it comes to a new release like it was for this collection. The hate that the collection received at the beginning of the year finished with a Men’s Complication Watch Prize for the Minute Repeater Supersonnerie at GPHG. Today I present you the chronograph version of the collection – Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph Ref. 26393BC.OO.A321CR.01.
Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph Ref. 26393BC.OO.A321CR.01
When it comes to iconic designs, we can surely affirm that Audemars Piguet is a champion. When it comes to controversial watch launches, it can be again confirmed that Le Brasus Maison had its fair share in history. But this is not the topic of today’s article.
I had the chance to explore the collection during SIHH 2019. I like it! I was impressed by the technicalities the collection brings. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover small details, that makes from the Cose 11.59 a recognisable Audemars Piguet design. As usual, the start of the review is done with an “on the wrist” video:
Iconic DNA to build a new iconic collection
The Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph Reference: 26393BC.OO.A321CR.01 is manufactured in white gold. The complex case construction bears the signs of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak DNA. Almost imperceptible on a first careless look. A 41mm diameter round top and bottom holds in the middle, like a sandwich, an octagonal complex shape.
A very fine brushing keeps most of the body safe from easily visible scratches. The case body was chamfered. The obtained inclined surface was mirror polished. The “sandwich” construction is complex and extremely interesting.
The skeletonised lugs are soldered to the upper bezel. Interesting that the lower sides of the lugs are not soldered on the caseback side. There is a microscopic space between the lugs and the case back.
A closer look reveals that the lugs make absolutely no connection on the backside of the watch. This approach permits the multi-part case construction. Audemars Piguet made intensive and extensive research to find the best compromises between the lugs size and mechanical resistance. The secret lies in the fact that the lugs can use the caseback as support in case of higher mechanical stress.
The chronograph pushers have a beautiful shape with satin-brushed surfaces and polished beveling. The crown offers a solid grip. Again, a lovely combination of brushed and polished surfaces adorn the crown. The AP logo engraved in the brushed background makes a good impression.
AP Specific complexity
Code 11.59 is covered with one of the most spectacular crystals in the industry. The double-curved sapphire crystal features a dome-shaped interior and a vertically curved exterior. But it is not over… The crystal is chamfered. The result is a spectacular view of the dial and its elements, plus a unique optical experience. Check the video above for a live demo.
The dial is adorned with a series of hand-applied elements. The perfect addition to increase optical appealing.
The dial is lacquered. It makes the perfect background for the Audemars Piguet logo. The logo is manufactured from thin layers of 24-carat gold using a galvanic growth process. Imagine an extreme plating process combined with 3-D printing.
Other spectacular elements present on the dial are the curved gold indexes. These are adding new details to the striking set of curvatures.
The watch offers good legibility. The baton indexes make a good delimitation of the hours. The three chrono subdials with relative large numerals and indexes are easy to read. The tachymetric scale from the inner bezel gives an even sportier connotation. The baton hands have a touch of a familiar feeling, the brand using often these simple style hands.
The date aperture is subtly placed at 4:30 o’clock. I love the shape used and the fact that this particular element is quite unobtrusive. The date is an instant-jump indication system.
What I enjoy at most at the new Code 11.59 concept is how the dial changes its perspective and volume depending on light and angle view (check the video and the image gallery).
In-house calibre 4401
The new Code 11.59 Collection brings also a news series of manufacture calibres. AP did go extremely powerfull with the new launch. Not only new aesthetics but also new workhorses.
The chronograph is powered by the Calibre 4401 – automatic integrated column-wheel chronograph with flyback function. Beating at 4Hz, the movement is capable of 70 hours of power reserve. Impressive numbers for a self-winding piece.
Not more and not less than exceptional finishes: “traits tirés” (hand-finishing), diamond-polished angles, “Côtes de Genève”, circular graining (perlage), chamfering (beveling) and gold-toned engraving. The 22k gold rotor adds a note of splendour to an already astounding movement.
A spectacle of modern watchmaking capabilities
Spectacular, spectacular, spectacular! Each element is made to highlight other elements. The design, the machining, the construction, the finishes are astonishing. Everything is made to impress. If not technical, then optical. Code 11.59 is amazing in every detail.
The watch offers comfortable wear. The case and lugs construction go perfect with my rather small wrist. For me, the 41mm diameter is a preferred choice in sports pieces sizes. What is interesting: the case construction with its spectacular crystal on top gives the impression of a much larger watch. But no, the Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph is an enjoyable companion.
Only time will tell if the 11.59 will reach the “iconic” level of its predecessors. Certain is that AP invested a lot of work and resources to create this magnificent piece. I have to admit that the first images with this chrono did not conquer me. Meeting it in the metal did. An impressive amount of details that denote an impressive amount of research and development.
Don’t forget to check the image gallery at the end of the article. There are some extra pictures available.
Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Chronograph Technical Specifications
- Flyback chronograph
- Small seconds
- 41 mm diameter
- 18-carat white gold case
- Glareproofed sapphire crystal and caseback
- Water-resistant to 30 m
- Lacquered blue and counters
- 18-carat white gold applied hour-markers and hands
- 24-carat white gold applied logo in galvanic growth
- Lacquered blue or black inner bezel
- Hand-stitched “large square scale” blue or black alligator strap with 18-carat white gold pin buckle
Movement Technical Data
- Selfwinding Manufacture calibre 4401
- Total diameter: 32 mm (14 lignes)
- Total thickness: 6.80 mm
- Number of jewels: 40
- Number of parts: 367
- Minimal guaranteed power reserve: 70 h
- Frequency of balance wheel: 4 Hz (= 28,800 vibrations/hour)