Audemars Piguet is best known for its iconic Royal Oak of 1972. The watch defined an entire generation of elegant yet sporty timepieces, and continues to inspire new iterations to this day. Yet Audemars Piguet is more than one watch. Since 1875, the Swiss watchmaker has created numerous timepieces attesting to the Manufacture’s pioneering attitude towards watchmaking. Its audacious spirit burns strong in all contemporary creations, including 2023 novelties such as the latest Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet models as well as the newly updated Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph.
Featuring a distinctive multilayered case and a wide variety of dials, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection takes its name from the exact time stamp: a minute before midnight, which signifies living on the edge of tomorrow. This represents a commitment to innovation and creativity, no matter what the moment may be.
The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet is the Manufacture’s contemporary reinterpretation of a modern classic round watch, with its multifaceted architecture setting it apart on the market. Think a complex case construction that incorporates an octagonal midsection embedded within a round extra-thin bezel and a round caseback. Not forgetting, its double-curved sapphire crystal, which offers a mesmerising and unique profile view.
A testament to the brand’s intuitive drive to push forward the limits of Haute Horlogerie, there is now a new contemporary material joining the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection: stainless steel. Known to be less malleable than gold, using stainless steel on the new Selfwinding and Selfwinding Chronograph models of the collection called upon the Manufacture’s machining and finishing expertise—resulting in a captivating contrast that plays with light, one that alternates between polished and satin-finished surfaces. An Audemars Piguet tradition that surely won’t go unnoticed by the cognoscenti.
But beyond enduring traditions, also comes new innovation, by way of the collection’s brand new embossed dial, with a unique ripple-like structure made up of concentric circles—one that has never been seen on a Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet dial. It’s a new design evolution for the brand that is set to be a signature dial for models to come. Developed by the Manufacture in collaboration with Swiss guilloché craftsman Yann von Kaenel, this special motif required meticulous craftsmanship, as Kaenel had to engrave the stamps needed for the embossing entirely by hand.
The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet models come in three alluring shades of blue, green and beige (comprising a smoked dial) and are now available for the first time in timeless stainless steel (see feature image).
In addition to a full line-up of high and medium complications, as well as a very elegant time-only model, the collection recently welcomed a cult favourite: the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Starwheel. Known as a wandering hour complication that arose from the end of the 17th century following a request by Pope Alexander VII who wanted a clock that would be silent and easy to read in the dark, the time was read on a semi-circle in an aperture that indicated the quarter hours and was lit from the inside.
While it remained to be a mysterious invention with a unique mechanism that was hidden through the ages, it was only an Audemars Piguet watchmaker’s rediscovery of the century-old complication that lifted the veil through the Manufacture’s first wandering hours watch made in the early 1990s, named the Starwheel. In this reinvention, the horological complication was now visible on display, where the hours using a system of satellites that gravitate along a minute scale was arranged in the form of an arc—reviving the uncommon way of telling time in a modern era.
As the Starwheel makes its comeback in the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet, its display reflects an original entrancing movement—whereby characters formed on rotating discs, advance in the middle of intergalactic-like space, as the Starwheel components gravitate. In the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Starwheel, the time display is achieved thanks to a central rotor operating a complete revolution in three hours. Each aluminium disc holds four digits from 1 to 12, taking turns to point at the arched sector, which presents the minute scale. As they move in tandem, the 18-carat white gold trotteuse—slightly curved at the tip— follows the relief of the discs, indicating the seconds ticking by.
Of course technical innovation never escapes the Royal Oak Offshore collection, whose very identity is rooted in robustness, durability, and technicality in design. 2023 being the 30th year since Audemars Piguet introduced this ultra-sporty timepiece, the Manufacture fittingly marked the occasion with a new model crafted entirely in black ceramic, from the case, to the bezel, and to the ever-recognisable bracelet, right down to its smallest link.
These are some of the latest novelties to have emerged from Audemars Piguet this year. Despite their key distinctions from one another, what remains unequivocally clear is the Manufacture’s seamless blend of technical complexity, a relentless pursuit of ergonomic perfection, and a free-spirited approach to creative freedom that you only get with a company that still remains in the hands of its original founding families.
Photography Eric Seow
Stylist Gordon Ng
Hair William Wang
Make up Ying Cui
Models Kornelijus Budrys/Ave Management, Tristen/Mannequin Studio, Michael/Misc Management