SELFWINDING FLYING TOURBILLON EXPLORES PURITY
Le Brassus, September 2022 – Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet is happy to present its latest Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon enriched with a black onyx dial. The timepiece encompasses a stylised two-tone case design interweaving black ceramic with 18-carat white gold for a powerful contrast. The watch’s blend of natural stone, precious metal and high-tech ceramic furthers the collection’s creative expression.
For the first time, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon marries 18-carat white gold, black ceramic and black onyx. © Courtesy of Audemars Piguet
The new Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet gives pride of place to the black onyx dial, whose purity is highlighted by the absence of hour-markers. This stone dial has been crafted in collaboration with long-term partner Someco, a company specialised in dial manufacturing since 1966 and located in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Carved out of a single black onyx stone, the dial has then been cut into a thin disc, ground, sanded and polished to perfection before being inserted into the dial’s pink-gold-toned brass base plate. Its polished finishing confers it an elegant shine, magnified by the watch’s double curved sapphire crystal. Each dial is unique, as each stone has its own natural composition, texture and colour and reacts differently to the manufacturing and finishing operations.
The overall minimalist design is enriched with pink gold accents, including pink gold hands and a discreet pink-gold-toned minute track printed on the black lacquered inner bezel. The polished laser-cut pink gold “Audemars Piguet” signature has been applied onto the dial with dedicated legs specifically adapted to the stone’s thickness. Lastly, the flying tourbillon cage, encircled by a delicate pink-gold-toned thread, matching with the balance wheel pulsating within, makes its rotations at 6 o’clock. For the first time, the top bridge of the flying tourbillon cage has been finished with black PVD in an echo to the dial’s colour.
The black rubber-coated strap, finished with a textured motif, enhances the watch’s contemporary look.
TWO-TONE CASE AESTHETIC
BLENDING BLACK CERAMIC AND WHITE GOLD
The Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon is endowed with a contemporary two-tone case design. While the bezel, lugs and caseback are crafted in 18-carat white gold, the octagonal case middle is honed from black ceramic. First introduced on the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Chronograph in 2021, this two-tone case aesthetic makes its debut this year on some of the collection’s complicated models.
Blending advanced technology and time-honoured tradition, the case required complex programming, dedicated tools and highly specialised human talents for its industrialisation and the hand finishing of its components. Similarly to the 2021 Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Chronograph, the ceramic case middle has been crafted in collaboration with Bangerter, a Swiss family-owned company specialised in the manufacturing of precision components made of advanced ceramics, tungsten carbide and other super hard materials.
The manufacturing of the case middle follows a complex industrial flow. Zirconium Oxide (ZrO2) powder is combined with binder content, the composition of which remains the secret of the company. This feedstock is given preliminary shape on latest generation 5-axis CNC machine technology. After this first machining process, the binder is removed. The watch component obtains its hardness and final colour by sintering at approximately 1,400° C. The component is then hard machined with high-precision diamond tools before being pre-polished and pre-satin-brushed. Ultimately, like the gold components, the ceramic case middle is meticulously hand-finished with the Manufacture’s trademark alternation of satin brushing and polished chamfers, endowing the timepiece with a rich play of light. The artisans’ final challenge is to reach perfect alignment between the rounded and angular surfaces of the ceramic and gold elements, a task that can only be achieved by hand.
SELFWINDING FLYING TOURBILLON
BETWEEN TRADITION AND MODERNITY
As previous iterations, this new model is powered by selfwinding Calibre 2950. While the flying tourbillon made its appearance in 2018 in the Royal Oak Concept collection, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet first introduced this prestigious mechanism coupled with a central rotor in 2019. Visible on the dial and through the sapphire caseback, the flying tourbillon cage defies gravity by constantly rotating on itself while offering an unobstructed view of some of the watch’s regulating components. The flying tourbillon’s absence of bridges also furthers the dial’s minimalist aesthetic.
The timepiece’s sapphire caseback reveals the collection’s dedicated 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight and the refined finishing adorning Calibre 2950, including Côtes de Genève, traits tirés, snailing and circular graining, among other techniques.
A LEGACY OF STONE DIALS
Although emerging in the late 18th century on pocket watches, mineral and gemstone dials were rarely used before the advent of wristwatches in the 20th century as their smaller diameters made the manufacturing of delicate dials more feasible.
Stone dials flourished at Audemars Piguet between the late 1960s and the 1990s at a time when wristwatches were witnessing unparalleled expressive and colourful creativity throughout the industry. Timepieces showcased a multitude of colours conferred by natural stones, among which tiger’s eye, lapis lazuli, aventurine, grossular garnet, mother-of-pearl, opal, ruby, amethyst and jasper. Black onyx was found among the Manufacture’s offering during these decades and slowly made its way in the Millenary and Royal Oak collections in the 2010s.
The latest Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon builds on this rich legacy by marrying the natural elegance of black onyx with the high-tech feel of ceramic for a contemporary look full of contrasts.
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