Audemars Piguet will be dressing up its complications in ceramic for the end of this year, including the striking full-blue RO Perpetual, or various editions of Code 11.59. One of the recipients is Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Self-Winding Flying Tourbillon. The white gold and black ceramic case frame an absolutely captivating, inky black onyx dial graced with the ballet of a flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock. I have always thought that the Code 11.59 collection was better suited for simple, minimalist designs and the purity of this black tie take on the model works exceptionally well. So well that this could be the best edition of this watch so far…
The 41mm case of this automatic flying tourbillon model retains the traditional design of Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet, but plays on the sharp contrasts of an 18k white gold and ceramic construction. The specific architecture of the model is particularly adapted to combinations of different materials. In this instance, the two-tone case design crafts the bezel, lugs, caseback and crown in white gold, while the case middle is made of deep black ceramic. As always with Code 11.59, the attention dedicated to the finishings is impressive. Like the gold components, the ceramic case middle is meticulously hand-finished with the brand’s trademark alternation of satin brushing and polished chamfers, endowing the watch with beautiful plays of light.
Underneath the double-curved sapphire crystal, the sleek, inky-black onyx dial is a case study in simplicity and purity. In contrast to the complex case construction, its minimalist design relies on the absence of markers. It is hand-crafted with Someco, a long-term partner of Audemars Piguet specialised in dial manufacturing since 1966 and located in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The semi-precious stone has to be meticulously cut into a very fine and even sliver before being shaped and polished to a mirror-like sheen. It is then inserted on the dial base plate and enriched with pink gold accents: a pink gold laser-cut AP logo, pink gold hands and a discreet pink-gold-toned minute track printed on the black lacquered flange. Last, the tourbillon aperture is encircled by a strip of pink gold. I even think the minute track could have been removed for a truly minimalistic look.
The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Onyx is powered by the in-house calibre 2950. First seen in the Royal Oak in 2018, this self-winding tourbillon movement has a large 31.50mm diameter. Unlike a classic tourbillon regulator held in place by a bridge on both sides, a flying tourbillon is cantilevered from the lower side of the movement. With no bridge on top, the optical illusion is one of a rotating regulator floating dial-side, offering an unimpeded view of its rotations. For the first time, the three-arm bridge above the tourbillon is coated with black PVD to echo the dial.
Turning the watch over, the exhibition caseback allows a view of the movement and its central open-worked rotor. It is beautifully decorated with hand-chamfering, polished and brushed surfaces, Geneva stripes and perlage. Its power reserve is of 65 hours when fully wound. The balance wheel features adjustment screws, the hairspring has a Breguet terminal curve, and the movement runs at 21,600 vibrations per hour. The Calibre 2950 is made of 270 components, including 27 jewels.
The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Self-winding Flying Tourbillon Black Onyx (reference 26396NB.OO.D002KB.01) is worn on a black rubber-coated strap with a textured motif. It is secured to the wrist by a white gold folding buckle. At 41mm, the watch is not small but will wear comfortably on most wrists. The watch is part of the permanent collection, so it is not limited, although it will probably not be widely available. The price is set at CHF 146,700 (excl. taxes).
For more information, please visit www.audemarspiguet.com.