The recently facelifted Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet has received yet another tweak with a scaled-down case that’s now measuring 38 mm. Available in pink gold with either an ivory or purple stamped guilloche dial, the case retains the now familiar Code 11.59 but set apart by its noticeably more compact size.
Since its introduction, the Code 11.59 has faced its fair share of criticism, sometimes unfairly. Nonetheless, Audemars Piguet (AP) continued refine to the design, resulting in more successful releases, notably the Code 11.59 Starwheel. However, all of the models to date were relatively large at 41 mm, with the case design accentuating the size.
So the more compact 38 mm case is a good thing, since it will enhance wearability. And given the perceived size of the 41 mm model, the 38 mm version will likely feel look more substantial than it is. At the same time, the size is a more gender-neutral option for potential buyers.
Between the two new models, I prefer the purple dial, which marks a pleasing departure from the prevalence of blue and green dials in today’s watch market and also the Code 11.59 collection. But I would have preferred is the removal of the date at three, which does not contribute to the design.
The new model remains unmistakable as a Code 11.59, retaining the distinctive sandwich case construction with an octagonal middle. So if you liked the look but wanted a smaller size, this is a more enticing proposition than its predecessors.
As an aside, the new pair sport stamped guilloche dials like the steel models launched earlier in the year. The stamped guilloche is done well and surprisingly detailed – so much so that it is difficult to discern from engraved guilloche – but the approximately US$32,000 price tag would have made traditional guilloche more appropriate.
Downsized with a movement to match
The new Code 11.59 pair feature the three-part case that defines the model, but in a substantially reduced size. Only offered in 18k pink gold for now, the new case measures 38 mm in diameter and 9.6 mm high, which is 3 mm narrower and 1.1 mm thinner compared to the current models.
The case construction remains unchanged. It consists of the bezel and case back with an octagonal middle, with another defining feature being the open-worked lugs that are welded to the bezel and rest delicately on the rim of the case back.
The dial of the new Code 11.59 pair takes its cues from the range of steel models introduced earlier this year. The stamped dials were developed by Yann von Kaenel, an independent engine-turning specialist.
A hand-operated straight-line engine is used to engrave the stamping dies, which are then employed to stamp the concentric pattern onto the dials. The dials are offered in two colours, purple and ivory, both achieved via PVD treatment that also gives them a slight colour gradient. The dials feature partially open-worked hands with luminous filling and applied, facetted hour markers.
Because of the reduced case size, the watches are equipped with the cal. 5900, which is also used in the 37 mm Royal Oak ref. 15500. It’s an automatic movement manufactured by Vaucher and features a full balance bridge and a 60-hour power reserve.
Key facts and price
Code by 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding 38 mm
Ref. 77410OR.OO.A825CR.01 (ivory)
Ref. 77410OR.OO.A623CR.01 (purple)
Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 9.6 mm
Material: 18k pink gold
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: Cal. 5900
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 60 hours
Strap: Alligator strap with pin buckle
Limited edition: No
Availability: At AP House and boutiques
Price: Approximately US$32,000
For more information, visit Audemarspiguet.com.