Starting From Scratch
Get the Lowdown on the Release That Broke the Watch World’s Collective Brain
Price: $74,500 (Perpetual Calendar pictured above — range starts at $26,800)
Movement: Manufacture calibre 5134
Case Diameter: 41mm
Case Material: 18-carat pink gold
Water Resistance: 20m
Unique Features: Perpetual calendar; blue alligator strap, 40-hour power reserve
Upshot: AP has introduced an entirely new line of watches dubbed CODE 11.59. Comprised of 13 individual references, the new line marks a departure from the Royal Oak and reflects AP’s desire to create something genuinely new in the 21st century. The early reviews have been admittedly…mixed, but the most striking reference for sure has to be the Perpetual Calendar with its starry dial and impressive complication. This is still the brand that prides itself on inventing the insanely expensive sports watch, so don’t expect anything in the 11.59 line to come cheap — but hey, gotta pay to play, right?
Who It’s For: Someone banking on this new design language from Audemars Piguet. Someone not in it for just the Royal Oak (of which there are a couple very pretty new ones at SIHH 2019). Someone with $74,500 burning a hole in his pocket who doesn’t need to pay a mortgage with it.
First Take: The design on some of the Code 11.59 references feels conservative but…maybe that’s not such a bad thing. It nearly goes without saying that the case design and finishing will be unbelievably good (and the kind of thing that you’d take half a decade developing), but we’re gonna hold out until we handle this thing in the next couple days to issue an official ruling. On one hand, you see where accusations of blandness might originate with respect to certain of the dials, but there’s no doubting that there are some serious credentials behind the entire 11.59 line. Safe to say this one will be buzzy around the SIHH. Love it or hate it, any news is good news.
Insight: The Perpetual Calendar in red gold is a standout model, as far as we’re concerned. With its red gold case, aventurine dial and interesting case architecture (a design that’s shared amongst the entire 11.59 line), this particular reference and complication adds gorgeous aesthetics to solid watchmaking fundamentals.