INTRODUCING: The Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Flying Tourbillon Chronograph, a pinnacle of complexity within the rangeThor Svaboe
Close to being at a loss for words … almost thankful that I haven’t got this on my wrist for a hands-on review as I would not leave the house. Email to Director: Self-imposed lockdown initiated, reason — the new Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Flying Tourbillon Chronograph needs a full 10 days of attention, all Wi-Fi and mobile communication hereby disconnected.
Let’s start with the obvious. The CODE 11.59 range has been expanded this year with new references featuring more expressive colours. From the first image alone, it is clear that this is something completely different again. The Tourbillon Chronograph is clearly the halo model of the range, a masterpiece of horological complexity that beguiles you with its midnight blue details and top-tier symmetrical beauty.
Any description of this CODE 11.59, with its openworked design having a lack of a traditional dial, is seriously underselling this symmetrical feast of angles, curves and delicately shaped bridges in galvanic black titanium and nickel silver. They sit in a holy union, forming an almost gothic pattern of skeletonisation, being both intrinsically distracting yet calming in its symmetry. The breathtaking details of the flying tourbillon, with its lack of an upper bridge, draws the gaze, making it difficult to think of this as a practical chronograph, though the legibility is actually very clear, from the dark blue chapter ring with its modern font and detailed markings, through to the classic twin register layout for the chronograph function.
The registers are openworked like the dial, with their slim and clearly marked midnight blue flat rings fitted within a titanium frame, delicately mounted, each by slightly off-centre opposed screws. Stare too long at the dial and you might even see a large-eyed face staring back at you, with the white gold blued hands being my favourite hand set on a CODE 11.59 so far. It perfectly suits the slim sword shape. The large centre seconds hand has a long rear end, with a circular counterweight bringing balance to the proceedings and another legible chronograph element.
The case is the main recognisable CODE 11.59 family trait, and is – like the first images of the range from Audemars Piguet — just as intricate as I remember, except here in white gold. You will immediately notice the caseback being fixed to an octagonal centre module, tipping its hat to the Royal Oak, and the unusual feature of the bezel being part of a full top section including the hollow lugs. It’s a bold contemporary move, where the hollow lug sides betray the haute horlogerie with a tiny yet perfectly cut and polished bevel framing the opening. It requires the word “exquisite” in its description. And yes, the octagonal screw-in lug pins sit within a polished bevelled edge opening. All brushing around the centre module is as perfect as you would expect, following the octagon and having a polished top and bottom edge, underlining what is a much more complex case construction than first imagined. The strap is a hand-finished dark blue crocodile, fixed gently but securely to your wrist by a white gold folding buckle.
The movement is partly what we have already perused through the openworked dial. The rear is an altogether more monochrome affair, with the fascinating shape-play of alternating sandblasted and brushed bridges and the delicately wrought rotor taking centre stage. The Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Flying Tourbillon Chronograph has a newly developed calibre, the 2952, for this flagship model, not choosing the easier option of the existing 4400 movement.
This is a column wheel actuated chronograph movement with a 22k central rotor and solid 65 hours of power reserve and a 3Hz running speed. You could lose yourself for a considerable amount of time with a loupe, examining what is a veritable maze of impossibly sharp bevelled outer and inner corners on the bridges. This is truly a beautiful heart, worthy of this watch, which is so far the pinnacle of the Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 range. There are sure to be many buyers waiting for one of the 50 examples.
Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Flying Tourbillon Chronograph price and availability:
The Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Flying Tourbillon Chronograph is CHF240,000 and limited to 50 pieces worldwide. For more details, visit Audemars Piguet right here.