Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet releases a new iteration of its Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Perpetual Calendar combining an 18-carat white gold case with a blue aventurine dial and a matching textured rubber-coated strap. This contemporary timepiece continues the Manufacture’s long history of calendar watches while foregrounding once more the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet’s endless creativity.
SHIMMERING BLUE AVENTURINE DIAL
The white gold timepiece adorns a dark blue dial in aventurine glass recalling a star-lit sky. This glass has been polished and very thinly cut before being applied onto the dial’s plate.
This material was first created in the 17th century in a Murano glass factory. Legend has it that copper filings were accidentally dropped in cooling molten glass, creating a combination of sparkling inclusions. Today, the glass is obtained by introducing black copper oxide and cobalt into the molten glass, which gives it its blue colour.
The moon phase at 6 o’clock has been reproduced through laser engraving and applied on a thin aventurine disc. The day number and week day, respectively located at 3 and 9 o’clock, as well as the month indication at 12 o’clock are also presented on aventurine subdials. For their part, the week numbers have been transferred onto the corresponding blue lacquered inner bezel. The white gold hour-markers and hands add a subtle contrast, while recalling the colour of the case and crown.
The double curved sapphire crystal that seamlessly integrates the extra-thin bezel’s curvature completes the watch’s overall design, while providing a unique visual effect onto the dial.
REFINED WHITE GOLD ARCHITECTURE
This new 18-carat white gold version complements the perpetual calendar model crafted in 18-carat pink gold unveiled in 2019 for the launch of the collection. The white gold extra-thin bezel, stylised lugs, octagonal case middle as well as round caseback provide an elegant contrast with the blue aventurine dial. The alternation of satin-brushing and polished chamfers adorning the different components add an interesting play of light, while accentuating the complex architecture of the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection.
Conceived with both women and men in mind, this complicated wristwatch will sit comfortably on all wrists thanks to the 41 mm case’s ergonomic curvature.
A CONTEMPORARY TEXTURED STRAP
The timepiece is fitted with a dark blue rubber-coated calfskin strap finished with a textured motif, giving a highly contemporary look to this classic complication. The straight integration of the strap in the continuity of the lugs, which have been welded to the extra-thin bezel, further reveals the refined hand-finishing techniques adorning the case.
HIGH-END PERPETUAL CALENDAR
This timepiece houses the Manufacture’s selfwinding perpetual calendar movement, Calibre 5134, fitted with the collection’s dedicated 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight.
Calibre 5134 automatically takes into account the number of days in the month and correctly displays the prevailing date even in leap years. Assuming the watch is kept regularly wound, the date will not require manual correction until 2100, at which point it will require adjustment in order to stay in line with the Gregorian calendar.*
The movement has been finished with refined decorations including “Côte de Genève,” microbead-blasting, sunray finishing, satin-brushing and polished chamfers, all visible through the sapphire caseback.
* In the Gregorian calendar, the leap day February 29 is omitted every 100 years (e.g. 2100, 2200, 2300), with the exception of century years that are divisible by 400 (e.g. 2000, 2400, 2800) to remain in line with solar time. As a result, 2100 will not be a leap year and perpetual calendar mechanisms will have to be moved forward by one day.
A LEGACY OF CALENDAR WATCHES
Astronomical watches are deeply rooted in the Vallée de Joux’s watchmaking history, as watchmakers have always drawn inspiration from the region’s clear night sky. Audemars Piguet’s uninterrupted history of astronomical complications started with the two founders’ school pocket watch masterpieces, both completed around 1875. The one of Jules Louis Audemars (Audemars Piguet Heritage Collection, Inv. 8), which combined a perpetual calendar with a quarter repeater mechanism and the rare independent deadbeat second function, saw several evolutions at the company’s workbenches over the following twenty years. Yet, during the company’s first two decades, calendar complications accounted for less than 10% of its total production.
Audemars Piguet’s first full calendar wristwatch was put into production in 1921 and sold three years later to the renowned retailer Gübelin. From 1921 to 1970, 188 full calendar wristwatches were produced – a small part of the Manufacture’s total production during these years. In 1955, the company released the world’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch with leap year indication, 9 examples of which were created between 1955 and 1957.
The brand broke another record in 1978 at the height of the quartz crisis when it released the world’s thinnest selfwinding perpetual calendar wristwatch of its time. Conceived in secret by three devoted watchmakers, the ground-breaking perpetual calendar wristwatch achieved its extra-thinness (3.95 mm) by using the ultra-thin Calibre 2120, launched in 1967, as a base. A total of 7,219 perpetual calendar wristwatches fitted with this calibre were put into production in the following 15 years. The success of Calibre 2120/2800 ushered in a new era of growth for Audemars Piguet and paved the way for the revival of classical complications.
Launched in 2015, Calibre 5134 adapted the perpetual calendar movement to a larger Royal Oak 41 mm case diameter (Model 26574), while retaining a thin profile with its 4.31 mm in thickness. This calibre has powered many perpetual calendar wristwatches across the Manufacture’s collection ever since, including the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet since 2019.
In 2018, the Manufacture opened yet another chapter in its history of perpetual calendar timepieces with the advent of the revolutionary 41 mm Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, known as RD#2 – the world’s thinnest automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch upon release. This 6.3mm-thick watch houses Calibre 5133, a newly engineered ultra-thin movement measuring a mere 2.89 mm in height, heralding yet another generation of astronomical watches.
“Born in Le Brassus, raised around the world.”
Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet / 41 mm
Perpetual calendar with week indication, day, date, astronomical moon, month, leap year, hours and minutes.
18-carat white gold case, double curved glareproofed sapphire crystal, glareproofed sapphire caseback, water-resistant to 30 m.
Case thickness: 10.9 mm
Blue aventurine dial, white gold applied hour-markers and hands with luminescent coating, blue lacquered inner bezel.
Blue rubber-coated calfskin strap with 18-carat white gold folding clasp.
Selfwinding Calibre 5134
Total diameter 29 mm (12 ¾ lignes)
Total thickness 4.31 mm
Number of jewels 38
Number of parts 365
Minimum power reserve guaranteed 40 h
Frequency of balance wheel2.75 Hz (19,800 vibrations/hour)