Audemars Piguet reinvents its legend

Since 1875, the history of fine watchmaking has been marked by Audemars Piguet designs. The new Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection is one of the brand’s most ambitious releases.

By Mathilde Binetruy

The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection, with its 13 models, six state-of-the-art manufacture movements, five complications and 41 mm diameter, has taken pride of place this year. It has enabled François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet since 2012, to imagine a new future for round watches: “We want to own our successes, but also our failures; we have always made round watches, but without ever managing to give them the AP touch. If Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet were still with us today, they would never stop looking for that new watchmaking record.

Expanding the sphere of influence

The inner workings of these two founders’ creative minds remain discernible within this collection. The result of seven years of development, it presents a range of exceptional pieces equipped with prestigious movements, each of which incorporates a horological breakthrough: an integrated self-winding chronograph featuring a column wheel and flyback function, a self-winding movement with seconds and date, and a self-winding flying tourbillon complete with unique embellishments and finishes. The collection’s personality is also apparent in a multitude of details: observers can admire the lugs welded to the extra-thin bezel, the raised logo created using galvanic growth technology, the lacquered and enamelled dials, the rounded gold hour-markers, and the round case back embedded with an octagonal case middle. Offering a resolutely contemporary style that touches on the urban, it now features in the Le Brassus-based manufacture’s repertory of watches for the future. Its name is the acronym of ‘Challenge/Own/Dare/Evolve’ combined with 11.59 in reference to the minute that precedes each new day. As Jasmine Audemars, Chairwoman of the Audemars Piguet Board of Directors, explains: “This is a watch that is already one step ahead, already at the gateway to tomorrow.” However, it comes as no surprise that its launch still resonates with the past. In 1972, a watch that nobody expected – the Royal Oak – also created a stir … before going down in history!

Company status
Independent company
Senior Management
François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO
Number of employees
Flagship collections
Royal Oak, Royal Oak Offshore, Royal Oak Concept,
Millenary, CODE 11.59 by Audemars Piguet
Royal Oak (ST) 41 mm
Royal Oak Chronograph (ST) 41 mm
Royal Oak Offshore 44 mm
Retail prices
From CHF 17,000 to 50,000
(excluding exceptional pieces and limited editions)
Annual production
40,000 pieces


The saga continues

The Royal Oak changed the rules of the game. Without it, the luxury sports watch market would certainly not be what it is today. Original versions of this bestseller are still developed today, as demonstrated by the 19 models released this year. There is something for everyone, from the Royal Oak Frosted Gold designed in collaboration with Florentine jewellery designer Carolina Bucci to the extra-flat champagne coloured ‘Jumbo’, not forgetting the self-winding chronograph models with ‘panda’ dials. All of these designs have the ability to engage and expand the Royal Oak’s community of fans. Its young and sporty half-sibling, the Royal Oak Offshore, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018, has welcomed six new models from 36 to 44 mm, three of which are self-winding chronographs. These 44 mm chronographs are water-resistant to 100 metres and feature ceramic bezels, push-pieces, screwdown crowns, dials adorned with the ‘Méga-Tapisserie’ pattern and rubber straps. The camouflage strap that hints at adventure is also worthy of a mention.

Lastly, between modernity and the charm of tradition, Audemars Piguet has not forgotten its female fans. Following the Diamond Punk, the Diamond Fury and the Diamond Outrage models, the brand has unveiled this season’s new gem: the Sapphire Orbe. Bearing the name of the river that flows through Le Brassus, where the manufacture originated and has its head office, this timepiece comprises more than 12,000 diamonds and sapphires, which equates to 1,050 hours of phenomenally meticulous gem-setting. It is dazzling !

Millenary Frosted Gold Philosophique in satin-brushed and hammered white gold, with dimpled blue dial and blue alligator-leather strap.

Millenary: a model of creativity

It has fascinated people since it was first created in 1995. With its elliptical case, off-centred dials and reverse-mounted movement, the Millenary watch is the everlasting heroine for women who love offbeat, multiform designs. Derived from this creative melting pot, the Millenary Frosted Gold Aventurine Dial stands out for its deep blue aventurine face and a seconds counter that evokes a starry sky. The Millenary Frosted Gold Philosophique also showcases the traditional Florentine hammering technique produced with jewellery designer Carolina Bucci. Its ‘diamond dust’ effect, created by hours of meticulous micro-hammering, contrasts beautifully with the hand-polished bevelling that embellishes the case and lugs. Equipped with a new self-winding movement, the 3140 calibre, the timepiece has a single hand so it can set its own pace.