While all the rage in the ’80s, many consumers have deviated away from two-tone designs in today’s marketplace. Historically two tone is comprised of stainless steel and a precious metal in a contrasting tone (such as yellow or pink gold). But forward-thinking manufacturers have realised there is possibly a better combination of tones that will cater to present day consumer tastes. With the new 2021 Audemars Piguet Code 11:59 collection, Audemars Piguet has paired precious metals with black ceramic – a fitting combination when you consider the fact that the modern design of the Code 11:59 embodies the future of Audemars Piguet.
Within the 2021 Audemars Piguet Code 11:59 collection, buyers have the choice between white or pink gold paired with a middle case fashioned in black ceramic. It retains the dimensions of previously released models with a case diameter of 41mm, a thickness of 12.6mm, and manageable lug-to-lug measurement of 50mm. The case geometry is very intricate, and it takes a meticulous Maison to fabricate. According to Audemars Piguet, the case-making process leverages three centuries of watchmaking – combining tried and true traditional finishing with cutting-edge modern fabrication and machining. As an example, a heated conveyor-belt system is utilised to create and form the lugs (modern technique) but they are then hand polished with a root from a specific tree (classic technique). It is this fusion of technology and tradition that results in a distinct and creative case form. The precious metal facets of the case have a rich satin brush throughout, with hairline mirror polished bevels to the lug and a hairline thin polished bezel that allows the dial to take up larger real estate. The middle case, in black ceramic, is satin brushed across each of the centre facets, with the shouldering facets mirror polished.
Beneath the double curved glare-proof sapphire crystal, both precious metal references have a smoked grey dial with a vertical satin brush to create interesting texture. Each dial is then paired with case matching precious metal for the hands, applied markers and Audemars Piguet branding, and chapter rings for the chronograph registers. As you reach the outboard ring of the dial, you’ll find a black opaline inner bezel that displays a tachymeter scale for the chronograph on both references. Each of the models within the 2021 Audemars Piguet Code 11:59 collection share the same date and register layout, with the elapsed minutes at 9′, running seconds at 6′, elapsed hours at 3′, and dial matching date window situated between the fourth and fifth hour markers. The hands across the dial are executed in a stick format, with the central Chronograph seconds hand including a circular counterweight.
While you would expect a 30-metre water-resistant watch to have an elegant and scaled leather strap, Audemars Piguet has opted for a more youthful aesthetic – pairing each of the watches with black rubber coated straps. The textured straps have a rubber coating added to a lining made of calfskin leather, and the result is a contemporary strap that pairs well with their most modern design. Audemars Piguet has gone the extra mile offering the more luxurious solution of having the strap secured to the case by a screw – there are no spring bars here.
Inside each of the 2021 Audemars Piguet Code 11:59 references is the in-house caliber 4401, a flyback vertical clutch column wheel chronograph movement exquisitely decorated and embellished with Côtes de Genève, “traits tirés” bevelling, and circular graining. The solid pink gold skeltonised rotor allows for an unobstructed view of the handcrafted movement and is finished to the same standard as the bridges beneath it. Being a vertical clutch column wheel Chronograph caliber, you are able to run the chronograph continuously with minimal (if any) wear and tear to the movement and the strap/stop/reset actuation of the pushers is both crisp and butter smooth.
Audemars Piguet Code 11:59 2021 Collection pricing and availability:
The 2021 Audemars Piguet Code 11:59 novelties will be available beginning in May 2021 via Audemars Piguet Boutiques. Price: CHF 38,650