Launched with a solid-colour, grand feu enamel dial, the Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon has been given simple but significant facelift with a new dial that’s a mix of aventurine glass and vitreous enamel. Made up of ground, powdered aventurine glass mixed with enamel powder, the dial has a deep, glossy surface with the characteristic sparkly metallic inclusions of aventurine glass.
When Audemars Piguet first launched the Code 11.59, only the perpetual calendar model had an aventurine-glass dial, and it was one of the best looking watches in the line up. Though not exactly identical, the aventurine-glass dials on the new tourbillons are no doubt as appealing, especially since they fill up the expanse of the dial.
Even though the Code 11.59 lacks the desirability of the fashionable Royal Oak, it is an appealing watch when done right, as this one is. The new dial is a good fit for the case, which was well done to begin with. Featuring a fairly complex construction for a round watch, the case is sharply finished. Arguably the only downside of the case is its size, which is not large at 41 mm wide, but feels chunky on the wrist.
The cal. 2950 made its debut last year with the Code 11.59. Also found in the recently launched Royal Oak tourbillon, the cal. 2950 is an attractively designed movement with an unusual detail: a grande sonnerie-style winding click integrated onto the barrel ratchet wheel.
With a retail price of about US$150,000, the Code 11.59 tourbillon is a lot of money but within the ballpark of such watches from comparable brands. Considering the enamel dial as well as a newly-developed movement, it is actually a reasonable proposition as such things go.
The key feature of the Code 11.59 design is the sandwich-style case, which has an octagonal case middle in between the bezel and case back. All of the case elements are finely finished, with brushed top surfaces flanked by polished bevels, just as like a Royal Oak case.
Solid gold like the case, the hour markers and hands are a plain baton shape, and seemingly float on the glossy aventurine-glass surface. Because aventurine-glass has to be fabricated at high temperatures – like how glass is blown – applying it to the dial is made feasible by mixing it with enamel.
Essentially also powdered glass mixed with pigments, the enamel mixture melts along with the ground aventurine glass during the firing process, creating a finely flecked surface that is then polished to be perfectly smooth.
Over on the back, the cal. 2950 is visible. It has a 65-hour power reserve, along with a flying tourbillon regulator.
Key facts and price
Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon 41 mm
Ref. 26396BC.OO.D002CR.01 (white gold)
Ref. 26396OR.OO.D002CR.02 (pink gold)
Diameter: 41 mm
Material: 18k pink or white gold
Water-resistance: 30 m
Movement: Cal. 2950
Functions: Hours, minutes, and tourbillon regulator
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 65 hours
Strap: Alligator with pin buckle
Availability: Only at boutiques
Price: 133,000 Swiss francs including taxes
For more information, visit Audemarspiguet.com.
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