Hands On: Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Flying Tourbillon Green Aventurine

Sparkly green enamel.

With at least two iterations launched since the model’s debut – first in enamel and then onyx – the Code 11.59 tourbillon is third time lucky with the latest version of the model being the most striking to date. The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Flying Tourbillon Green Aventurine is in 18k pink gold with the centrepiece being the fired enamel dial dial containing crushed aventurine glass.

 Initial thoughts

Bold and contemporary appears to be the name of the game for Audemars Piguet, as the recent releases indicate a strong push of the Code 11.59 lineup refreshed with modernised and adventurous livery.

And the new Code 11.59 Flying Tourbillon delivers on that front – love it or hate it, it is a markedly distinct variation of its conservative predecessors. The green dial combined with the package of the pink gold case and black ceramic case middle offers a striking contrast that’s intriguing in person.

Colour contrast

Black ceramic is the recent trend for Audemars Piguet, as the brand has been increasingly using the material as the case middle for the Code 11.59 lineup. Sandwiched between a pink gold bezel and case back, the combination is a decidedly contemporary appearance especially when paired with the stock rubber strap.

But of course, the appeal of the new model is the green aventurine dial. Made by firing crushed aventurine glass in an 800°C furnace, the dial glimmers and sparkles under the light.

The green colour luxuriously contrasts the dial adornments – the hands, applied indices and tourbillon frame are all in pink gold. Under different angles, the glossy dial surface plays with the light, allowing the applied numerals and indices to stand out.

The view of the tourbillon cage is as impressive as it has always been. A large aperture is cut into the dial, framing the massive flying tourbillon that is unobstructed from view thanks to its clever construction.

Technical Tourby

Powering the Code 11.59 Tourbillon is the cal. 2950 – Audemars Piguet’s latest generation tourbillon movement that was first used in 2022 in the Royal Oak and Code 11.59 lineup.

While it is easy to dismiss it as just another tourbillon movement, the cal. 2950 is technically accomplished. As a flying tourbillon, it exposes the three-pronged tourbillon cage and balance wheel with no obstructions, as the motion works wheels driving the central hands are offset and hidden under the dial. The rear of the movement is also interesting, as it incorporates a visually and tangibly tactile grand sonnerie style winding click for the mainspring barrel.

Key facts and price

Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon
Ref. 26396NR.OO.D002KB.01 (pink gold, green aventurine dial)

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 11.8 mm
Material: 18k pink gold and black ceramic
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Cal. 2950
Functions: Hours, minutes, flying tourbillon
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 65 hours

Strap: Rubber strap with pink gold folding clasp

Limited edition: No
Availability: At AP boutiques and AP Houses
Price: Price upon request

For more, visit Audemarspiguet.com.


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Audemars Piguet Introduces the Code 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie Smoked Sapphire Dial

A classical complication done contemporary.

Besides the Universelle grand complication, Audemars Piguet has another ace up its sleeve when it comes to its line of round watches. Originally launched a blue enamel dial, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Minute Repeater Supersonnerie gains sharper aesthetics with a smoked sapphire dial and a pink gold case.

Initial thoughts

A big part of the appeal of a repeater is the mystifying mass of racks and levers that drive the chiming mechanism and are most often hidden under the dial. Unveiling their secret is sometimes best done with the direct approach of not having a solid dial.

A clear sapphire dials is arguably perfect it for a repeater, because the complication is usually constructed on the movement’s dial side. Unlike other frontal complications such as perpetual calendars, chiming complications are highly interactive – the racks are set in motion during the chiming sequence in a mechanical dance, all while the chimes sound, a performance that elevates the appeal of the complication.

And for the Code 11.59 specifically, the tinted sapphire dial works especially well. Matched with high-contrast pink gold, it is an ideal complement for the case design as it blends an otherwise classical complication with contemporary livery that matches the modern styling of the case.

As a result, the new repeater is one of the most appealing watches in the Code 11.59 range, with an intrinsic appeal that few of its brethren possesess.

Contemporary package

While retaining the same case design, the new repeater gets a more modern set of materials. While the previous iterations of the model were entirely in 18k white gold, this has a two-tone construction with the case middle in black ceramic sandwiched by a rose gold bezel and case back.

But of course the highlight of the design is the sapphire dial, a livelier and more vivid presentation of the complication than its predecessor with an enamel dial.

Besides offering a partial glimpse into the mechanism below, the sapphire dial also catches the light, changing its appearance at various angles.

The dial design is streamlined with the pared-back indices and hands. The hour markers now omit the applied numerals at the quarters found on the original model, instead relying on simple applied batons for the hours and minutes.

Characteristic of the Code 11.59 design, the dial is encircled by an inner bezel with printed minute numerals. This ring serves to frame the movement, which is noticeably smaller than the case diameter in part to accommodate the octagonal case middle.

A familiar movement

Despite the modern aesthetics, the movement inside has been in AP’s stable for a long time. Debuted some three decades ago in its original form, the cal. 2953 is based on a traditional, manual-wind repeater movement and is evolved from the cal. 2907 found in the Jules Audemars repeater from over a decade ago. The classical construction means its requires extra care when operating the repeater, unlike the user-friendly Universelle that’s powers by a latest-generation calibre.

One detail worth noting is the space visible under the dial at six o’clock, which is explained by the fact that the calibre can accommodate a tourbillon, an added mechanism that is found in other iterations of the movement, like that in the Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie.

Key facts and price

Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Minute Repeater Supersonnerie
Ref. 26395NR.OO.D002KB.01 (pink gold, smoked sapphire dial)

Diameter: 41mm
Height: 13.6 mm
Material: 18k pink gold and black ceramic
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 20 m

Movement: Cal. 2953
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, minute repeater
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Rubber strap with 18k gold folding clasp

Limited edition: No
Availability: At AP boutiques and AP Houses
Price: Price upon request

For more, visit Audemarspiguet.com.


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Audemars Piguet Introduces the Royal Oak Concept Split-Seconds Chronograph GMT

Bold aesthetics and refined mechanics.

Amongst the wave of new Royal Oaks just unveiled by Audemars Piguet (AP) is a new “Concept”, the Royal Oak Concept Split-Seconds Chronograph GMT. Historically a platform to showcase novel materials and aggressive design, the new Royal Oak Concept (ROC) continues down that route – but more notably contains an all-new and cleverly-constructed rattrapante chronograph movement with automatic winding.

Initial thoughts

Much like previous models in the ROC line, the new split-seconds chronograph is a bold statement with a chunky, aggressive case, albeit one refined to become more wearable, especially in light of its size – it is the most wearing Concept to date.

Paradoxically, the movement within the large-format case was clearly designed with thinness in mind. For a split-seconds chronograph with a big date, second time zone, and automatic winding, the movement measures a modest 8.92 mm high, svelte by the standards of the complications mix.

And in contrast to the design (which brings to mind the Richard Mille RM 11), the movement is unusually refined and clever. An example of is the rotor that’s supported by a large central hub, which provides enough space in the middle to house the entire split-seconds mechanism. This serves to both reduce thickness, while simultaneously offering a view of the rattrapante mechanism without being obstructed by the rotor.

Deceptively oversized

As with most of its counterparts in the collection, the new ROC has a geometrically-shaped titanium case defined by sharp facets and broad flanks. The form is distinct and the only similarity to the original Royal Oak is the octagonal bezel, but here amplified by enlarged hexagonal nuts.

An subtlety in the design is the curved case and bezel, a detail that aids ergonomic comfort. The arched case allows it to sit well on the wrist, enhancing wearability to a surprising degree considering the (very) large dimensions of 43 mm by 17.4 mm.

With the movement being the highlight, the dial shows it off. Like the case, the dial is aggressively styled with geometric open working. The dial plate is actually a single piece of German silver that’s skeletonised, sandblasted, and coated black, while the bevels along the edges are polished and rhodium plated for contrast.

The big date is visible through the movement bridges at 12 o’clock. Meanwhile, the GMT function is located on the sub-dial at three and can be advanced in one-hour steps via the coaxial pusher integrated into the crown.

A solid base

Powering the ROC Split-Seconds Chronograph GMT is the cal. 4407 that’s based on the cal. 4401 that underpins most of AP’s chronograph offerings.

The base movement is 6.8 mm thick and addition of a big date, GMT and rattrapante function only increases the height to 8.92 mm – an achievement in slim construction. Without the big date and GMT, the movement will fit into thinner watches, which we will see in the future no doubt.

The rattrapante pusher at 9 o’clock

Despite everything, the movement diameter is unchanged from the base version at just 32 mm. The base chronograph movement was designed from the outset to incorporate a robust flyback mechanism, featuring a myriad levers to facilitate the feature. It also has an automatic-winding mechanism on the back, which contributes to its thickness.

The cal. 4407 however, widens the rotor hub to accommodate the rattrapante mechanism. As a result, the rattrapante wheel, and pincers are visible in the centre of the movement without being obstructed by the rotor at all. This optimised rattrapante is also incorporated in the Code 11.59 Universelle that also just made its debut.

Key facts and price

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Split-Seconds Chronograph GMT
Ref. 26650TI.OO.D013CA.01 (titanium)

Diameter: 43 mm
Height: 17.4 mm
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 4407
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, GMT, big date, flyback chronograph, split seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Rubber strap with titanium folding clasp

Limited edition: No
Availability: At AP boutiques and AP Houses
Price: CHF170,000 before taxes

For more, visit Audemarspiguet.com.


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Hands On: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Ref. 26586TI

An all-titanium take on the RD#2.

Audemars Piguet’s recent launches are mostly variations on a theme, but done well and strongly appealing, as exemplified by the Royal Oak “Jumbo” with a grained dial. The Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin 41 mm is exactly that.

Based on the thinnest-perpetual-calendar-ever #RD2 of 2018, the model was first presented in the two-metal combo of titanium and platinum a year later. But now it returns entirely in titanium, an arguably superior presentation that more low key thanks to an all-brushed finish and strikingly lightweight.

The clever cal. 5133 inside allows for a case just 6.2 mm high

Initial thoughts

The new perpetual calendar is probably the best of AP’s new releases. It combines a clever, original movement with the iconic case design, packaged in a compact, lightweight, and mostly discreet manner.

While this perpetual calendar is no longer the thinnest in the world – it was trumped by Bulgari last year – it is still remarkably thin. At 6.2 mm high, the case is almost a quarter slimmer than that of the Royal Oak “Jumbo” ref. 16202. As a result, this feels like a wafer on the wrist, a feeling accentuated by the lightness resulting from the all-titanium case and bracelet.

Because it is entirely titanium, this does away with the mirror-polished components that were platinum in the preceding model. This results in a more traditional Royal Oak finish that is slightly more restrained and certainly more elegant.

The other element new to this version is the smoked blue dial. It’s handsome and suits the clean feel of the watch, but I would have preferred the tapisserie guilloche that is quintessential Royal Oak.

Admittedly, the new perpetual calendar is merely a variant of the 2019 limited edition. Repetition is definitely not innovation or progress but it doesn’t take away from the intrinsic appeal of the watch. And with both the 2019 and current models each limited to 200 watches, the total number produced remains modest, an assurance this will remain fairly uncommon (at least for now).

The ultra-thin perpetual costs CHF137,000, a reasonable proposition as such things go. It is certainly more squarely priced than the new Offshore in ceramic, and about the same as more ordinary luxury-sports perpetual calendars like the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin. Granted, most of its comparably-priced rivals are in precious metal, while this is inexpensive titanium, but this is undoubtedly more compelling both in terms of tactile feel and also the ingenious calibre.


Concept made real

Like its bi-metal predecessor, the new perpetual calendar is derived from the Royal Oak RD#2, the concept watch that was debuted in 2018 as the thinnest perpetual calendar wristwatch ever. Slender but weight thanks to an all-platinum case and bracelet, the RD#2 was just 6.3 mm high thanks to a cleverly designed movement.

The cal. 5133 inside was condensed to reduce the part count, while the calendar module was comprised of components spread out rather than stacked up. The result was a wider than usual calibre but one with exceptional slimness.

It quickly made it way into serial production as the 200-piece limited edition in titanium with the bezel and centre links in platinum. Though the concept watch had a traditional tapisserie dial, the limited edition simplified the aesthetic with a vertically brushed dial in dark blue.

The Royal Oak RD#2 Perpetual Calendar ref. 26586PT from 2018

The new perpetual calendar is essentially another version of the 2019 limited edition. The case is identical in dimensions, but now entirely titanium in the conventional Royal Oak finish, which means brushed surfaces accented by polished bevels on all edges.

Even though titanium is a shade darker than steel and marginally more difficult to polish, the case and bracelet are perfectly finished, giving the surfaces a lustre that is indistinguishable from steel at arm’s length. And the alloy is of course lightweight, giving the watch striking lightness that is probably as good as it gets for an all-metal watch on a bracelet.


At 41 mm, the case is slightly wider than that of the “Jumbo” but substantially thinner at 6.2 mm. Despite the variance in dimensions, it is reminiscent of the “Jumbo” in proportions, which is a good thing.

As for the dial, it is radially brushed and finished in a graduated blue that goes from a medium hue to almost black at the edges. It’s a good-looking dial but the smoked finish is verging on overdone today, with a range of brands turning to gradient dials for an easily-achieved new look.

The mechanics of the watch are unchanged, with the cal. 5133 continuing to do its thing at just 2.9 mm high. Based on the cal. 2120 ultra-thin movement originally developed by Jaeger-LeCoultre and used in the original 1972 Royal Oak ref. 5402, the cal. 5133 reduces the moving parts to a minimum in order to achieve its slimness.

The barrel, for instance, is of a “floating” or “hanging” construction with a pivot only on one side. The upper pivot of the barrel is instead secured by the underside of the dial, which functions as a main plate of sorts. Other innovations include the rejigged calendar mechanism that spreads out the wheels driving the calendar, resulting in a 32 mm diameter, about 10% wider – but very much thinner – than the standard Royal Oak perpetual calendar movement.

Naturally, the reductive movement construction requires some compromise. One is the relatively slow balance frequency of just 2.75 Hz or 19,800 beats per hour (most modern movements run at 4 Hz or 28,8000 beats per hour), which is not the best for stable timekeeping in the face of shock or other perturbations.

Another is a compact mainspring that has a short, 40-hour power reserve. By comparison, the latest-generation cal. 7121 found in the current Royal Oak “Jumbo” ref. 16202 has a 70-hour running time.

Key facts and price

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin 41 mm
Ref. 26586TI.OO.1240TI. 01

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 6.2 mm
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 20 m

Movement: Cal. 5133
Functions: Perpetual calendar with day, date, month, astronomical moon, leap year and day/night indications, hours and minutes.
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 19,800 beats per hour (2.75 Hz)
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: Titanium bracelet with folding clasp

Limited edition: 200 pieces
Availability: At AP Houses and boutiques
Price: CHF137,000 before taxes

For more, visit Audemarspiguet.com.


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Audemars Piguet Introduces the Code 11.59 Universelle

A truly impressive grand complication.

Undoubtedly the flagship of its recent new launches, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Universelle is the brand’s most complicated wristwatch in recent years – or perhaps ever.

A project that began in 2016, the uber-complication rooted in history: it is a tribute to L’Universelle, the grand complication pocket watch from 1899 made by AP for German watchmaker Union. But the watch simultaneously pushes the brand’s modern-day watchmaking to the limit, particularly in terms of miniaturising highly complex mechanisms.

The Universelle is available in two guises, the open dial above and the solid dial pictured further up

Officially one of the brand’s Research and Development timepieces – the model is also known as the RD#4 – the Universelle is an exercise in combining into a single wristwatch all the traditional mechanisms that constitute a grand complication, and then some – perpetual calendar, rattrapante chronograph with flyback, tourbillon, and grande et petite sonnerie with minute repeater.

L’Universelle on display in the Audemars Piguet Museum

Initial thoughts

An assuming name that means little to anyone who doesn’t understand the historical inspiration, Universelle is a horological behemoth that captures AP’s industrial and mechanical capability.

Though it has a highly modern design, the Universelle harks back to a bygone era of high watchmaking that prized highly complicated watches incorporating as many features as feasible into a (barely) wearable package. In today’s market where “hype” watches are prized over all else and repurposed movements feel like more like business decisions than horological creations, the Universelle is a a refreshing and remarkable achievement, especially since it is a grand complication designed from scratch.

Big but not too big

As impressive as the lengthy roll call of complications inside are its dimensions, the Universelle measures only 42 mm wide and 15.55 mm thick – big but amazingly compact considering everything going on within.

Truly sizeable is the CHF1.45 million price tag for the “base model” with a solid dial. That price and annual output (just seven this year) mean this will be accessible to but a few individuals. But it doesn’t really matter because the Universelle proves that AP is back as a watchmaker of note that is more than its octagonal creation.

The open-dial Universelle costs CHF1.7 million on account to the additional finishing required for the skeletonised front

Expansive but compact

The Universelle is being launched in four variants, three in white gold and one in pink gold. Two dial styles are on offer: an open-worked dial with bridges that match the case metal and reveal most of the perpetual calendar mechanism, and a more conventional solid dial with a restrained, instrument-like aesthetic. The latter is the discreet option as its relative simplicity belies the mechanical complexity just underneath.

The solid dials (left) and open-worked dials. Image – Audemars Piguet

Counted individually, the Universelle is equipped with 23 complications and a movement made up of 1,155 parts, but manages to cram everything into a 42 mm case that is only 15.55 mm tall. The height is an achievement as the movement is self winding with a full rotor visible through the display back that sits under the hinged, hunter back. One innovation that explains the height is the split-seconds mechanism integrated into an aperture within the rotor – more of that below.

Despite being a highly complicated watch, the Universelle is user friendly, perhaps the easiest watch to adjust and set in the rarefied grand complication sphere. All settings are accessible by hand thanks to good-sized buttons, doing away with the need for tools to activate tiny, recessed pushers.

The hinged back. Image – Audemars Piguet

The three pushers on the right case flank are typical of a split-second chronograph, with start and stop at two and four o’clock respectively, while the rattrapante pusher is integrated into the crown at three o’clock. In fact, both the start and stop pushers are also nested coaxially into separate crowns for added functionality on a single axis – the crown at two o’clock toggles the sonnerie striking mode, the middle is conventional time setting and winding, while the crown at four is for quick adjustment of the perpetual calendar.

The black solid dial variant. Image – Audemars Piguet

Meanwhile, the left flank of the case is surprisingly straightforward and contains only only three pushers – a quickset corrector for the day, another for the moon phase, and most importantly the minute repeater activation pusher. Each of the pushers and crowns on both sides of the case are appropriately labelled with engraved symbols or acronyms to denote their functions, making them almost foolproof.

The practicality of the watch is further boosted by the fact that is both shock resistant and water resistant to 20 m.

The left side of the case with its three pushers. Image – Audemars Piguet

A monumental movement

Of course, the entire point of the Universelle is the movement within – the cal. 1000. The movement stands just 34.3 mm wide and 8.75 mm thick yet manages to check all the boxes that define a classical grand complication, namely a split-seconds chronograph, perpetual calendar, and minute repeater.

However, the cal. 1000 goes several steps further with the addition of a tourbillon, flyback chronograph, automatic winding, and a grande et petite sonnerie – a rare complication even by modern standards. In fact, the only commonplace modern complication that’s not included in the cal. 1000 is probably the a power reserve indicator, a function that is arguably moot given the automatic winding.

The near symmetrical dial. Image – Audemars Piguet

In some ways the cal. 1000 is old school in terms of construction. It is layered like most historical grand compilation movements. The uppermost layer, closest to the crystal, is the perpetual calendar that borrows the innovations that characterise the ultra-thin calendar in the Royal Oak RD#2.

The most notable feature of the calendar the reduction of the 48-tooth calendar programme wheel to a single layer, reducing the height of the calendar module. But the cal. 1000 dials up the complexity of the calendar beyond that of the RD#2 by adding a big date at 12 o’clock, along with a two-digit year indicator at four o’clock.

Below the calendar module is the base movement, which is derived from the family of calibres that include the cal. 4401, the brand’s workhorse chronograph movement. The cal. 1000 naturally is far advanced beyond the cal. 4401 that’s merely a flyback chronograph movement. It adds into the mix a split-seconds chronograph and flying tourbillon, as well as the grande sonnerie that is based on AP’s historical grande sonnerie movement.

One of the key innovations that helped keep the movement as thin as possible is the integration of the rattrapante within the automatic winding mechanism. The rotor is supported by a large central hub that is open in the middle, creating a space for the entire split-seconds mechanism. The same co-axial split-seconds is also found in the just-launched Royal Oak Concept Split-Seconds GMT.

The split-seconds mechanism is visible within the rotor. Image – Audemars Piguet

All of that mechanical complexity is visible below a hinged, hunter back that is actually the outer resonating case back of AP’s Supersonnerie device. It’s essentially a double back that amplifies the chimes of the striking mechanism. In a conventional Supersonnerie the outer back is fixed; here it is hinged but performs the same function.

Key facts and price

Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Universelle
Ref. 26398BC.OO.D002CR.01 (white gold, black dial)
Ref. 26398BC.OO.D002CR.04 (white gold, beige dial)
Ref. 26398BC.OO.D002CR.02 (white gold, openworked dial)
Ref. 26398OR.OO.D002CR.01 (pink gold, openworked dial)

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 15.55 mm
Material: 18k white gold or pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 20 m

Movement: Cal. 1000
Functions: Flying tourbillon, big date, moon phase, perpetual calendar, split seconds chronograph, grand sonnerie, minute repeater
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 64 hours

Strap: Leather strap with matching 18k gold folding clasp

Limited edition: No
Availability: At AP boutiques and AP Houses
Price: CHF1.6 million with open dial; CHF1.45 million with solid dial (prices exclude taxes)

For more, visit Audemarspiguet.com.


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