If your knowledge and exposure of Audemars Piguet is limited to just its flagship Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore series, then the Code 11.59 collection might be somewhat of a culture shock. The Swiss horology maison debuted the wholly new unisex collection last year with 13 references spanning six models and boasting three new calibres.
Gone are the familiar sporty aesthetic and graphic industrial architecture of AP’s most recognisable watches – in its place is something more classic. Cue the round – or so it seems – design of the dial. While some might say the aesthetic steers too far away from the aesthetic most identify the brand with, others read the designers’ attempt at writing a new style vocabulary – and rightfully so.
Now, while the Code 11.59 may look like a traditional round watch at first glance, its case is actually an eight-sided octagon (best seen from the side profile) as a subtle nod to the Royal Oak. Other design ‘dos’ include the barely-there bezel, the double-curved glare-proofed sapphire crystal. and skeletonised lugs which give the 41-mm dial – adorned with numerals from an archival design from the ’40s – plenty of focus.
While it may be tempting to swathe the watches in bright pop colours for its latest release this month, the brand takes a more arty route. Five of its classic three-hand automatic models and five of its chronograph models have been given a facelift with smokey lacquered sunburst dials. The designs, rendered in inky hues of blue, burgundy, purple, as well as light and dark grey, complement the cases which come in either white gold or pink gold.
Of note are four models – two chronographs and two three-hand watches – in light grey and dark grey which are paired with cases in duo-tone gold. While duo-tone cases are dime a dozen today, they are a rare sight at AP. Just consider this trivia: out of the 550 wristwatches it has produced and sold between 1882 and 1969, only eight have been known to combine two types of gold. Makes these watches are even more special, no?