The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime and the Reference 6300, the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4, the Vacheron Constantin Celestia or the Superbia Humanitatis by Piguet/Muller/Gerber… Many watches have claimed the title of essentially the most difficult wristwatch, and all have been undoubtedly wonders of miniaturisation and distinctive horological developments. Audemars Piguet is conversant in the idea, with a number of Grande Complication wristwatches within the assortment. Right now, the model goes a lot additional with the Code 11.59 Universelle Extremely-Complication, also referred to as RD#4. Geared up with 23 problems, 40 capabilities, a brand new Calibre 1000 with no fewer than 1,155 components… All served up in a surprisingly cheap 42mm case dimension and a value to match the feat. Meet AP’s most advanced wristwatch thus far.
The identify of this new watch, the Code 11.59 Universelle Extremely-Complication, pays tribute to a traditionally vital mannequin for the model, the L’Universelle pocket watch, one of the difficult watches ever crafted by the manufacture, with 19 basic problems, together with a Grande Sonnerie Carillon, a perpetual calendar, a split- seconds, jumping-second and deadbeat-second chronograph. It sits proper there, on the highest rung with the 1933 Patek Henry Graves Supercomplication, the 1802 Breguet Marie Antoinette or the 2019 Vacheron Constantin 57260. Audemars Piguet isn’t any stranger to constructing hyper-complicated actions, and this 12 months’s new Code 11.59 Universelle brings again the idea within the form of a wristwatch full of expertise.
The mission of the Universelle and its Calibre 1000 began in 2016 with “the aim of creating a extremely difficult wristwatch match for on a regular basis use that will strike the best stability between complexity, ergonomics and aesthetics“. As a part of the RD assortment, it incorporates some parts of the three earlier watches: the Supersonnerie of the RD#1, the ultra-thin perpetual calendar of the RD#2 and the oscillator with elevated amplitude premiered on the RD#3. Seven years later, the brand new Calibre 1000 sees the sunshine of day within the Code 11.59 Universelle, a up to date tackle the ultra-complicated wristwatch with 23 problems (as at all times, the complication depend have to be taken with precaution) and a surprisingly ergonomic and user-friendly strategy.
The Issues of the Code 11.59 Universelle
With the launch of this new Extremely-Complication mannequin, Audemars Piguet pronounces a complete of 23 problems, 40 capabilities and 17 technical units… Right here’s the listing of all 23 problems, not less than based on what Audemars deems a complication:
- Cut up-seconds
- Minutes counter (semi-instantaneous)
- Hours counter (dragging)
- Flyback operate
- Minute repeater (by urgent a pusher)
- Grande Sonnerie (mode)
- Petite Sonnerie (mode)
- Silence (mode)
- Quarters silence (regularisation of the silence between the hours and minutes)
- Locking of computerized and handbook activation when the barrel is insufficiently wound
- Computerized winding of the Grande Sonnerie barrel Supersonnerie
- Perpetual Calendar
- Date Show
- Day show (by discs or aperture)
- Month show (by discs or aperture)
- Moon section show
- 12 months show
- Semi-Gregorian (computerized calendar till 2400)
- Correct astronomical moon
- Computerized winding
Fast notice. These complication counts are at all times reasonably debatable. I personally have an issue naming an computerized winding or a minutes counter a complication. Is the “23” quantity claimed by AP related? No, it doesn’t actually matter. What’s vital is that the manufacture has managed to suit a Grande Sonnerie, a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, a split-seconds flyback chronograph and a flying tourbillon (making it, by definition, a Grande Complication within the strict sense of the time period) right into a watch that’s barely bigger than its basic computerized chronograph: the Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph is 41mm in diameter, this new Code 11.59 Universelle is 42mm. It’s a feat of engineering, miniaturisation and superb watchmaking custom. So far as the numbers go… I don’t actually care.
Acquainted Code 11.59 design
Earlier than we transfer to the technical particulars, let’s speak about design. The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Extremely-Complication Universelle is a member of the model’s newest assortment, and it reminds us that, from the start, AP mentioned that the Code 11.59 would grow to be its vessel for all kinds of problems. The case has all of the acquainted traits of the gathering, with the openworked lugs, the double-curved high floor and its advanced crystal, the slim bezel and the octagonal case center that creates the reference to AP’s star watch, the Royal Oak. As you’d count on, the case is much extra advanced as a consequence of numerous pushers and crowns, all pretty effectively built-in.
The left aspect includes a pusher to begin the minute repeater and two correctors for the moon and day indications. Three crowns on the best aspect with coaxial pushers permit the wearer to wind the watch, set the time and date with the central crown and choose the chiming mode (Grande Sonnerie, Petite Sonnerie or silence mode). The flyback chronograph could be began and stopped with the supercrown at 2 o’clock and reset with the opposite supercrown at 4 o’clock. The 4 o’clock crown additionally corrects the month in sync with the 12 months.
As for the appears to be like, the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Universelle Extremely-Complication is launched in 4 totally different editions. All share the identical 42mm x 15.5mm case (which isn’t ultra-thin, after all, however no thicker than many Valjoux-based chronographs… and now it’s spectacular), obtainable both in 18k white or pink gold. The three white gold fashions both have a closed black dial with silver distinction, a closed beige dial with black distinction and gold accents or an openworked dial with a rhodium-plated motion and black/gray counters. The pink gold mannequin can be openworked and includes a tone-on-tone motion with black and gray counters and background. All are worn on a black alligator strap with a folding clasp, with an extra black textured rubber-coated calfskin strap additionally included.
The capabilities of the Calibre 1000
As defined, the motion contains a number of problems and capabilities. Beginning with a collection of chiming capabilities mixed with the model’s patented Supersonnerie expertise – a collection of improvements that improve the loudness, richness, musicality and readability of the sound produced by the chimes. The Calibre 1000 is provided with a Grande Sonnerie, placing the hours and each quarter hour by passing. Within the Petite Sonnerie place, the watch chimes the hours solely, whereas the automated chiming is deactivated within the silent mode. Moreover, the wearer can activate the minute repeater mechanism at any time through the devoted push-piece situated at 10 o’clock. The capabilities are fed by a devoted barrel wound by the wrist’s motion, alternately with the primary barrel.
The again of the watch not solely shows the basic resonance chamber of the Supersonnerie expertise but it surely has been up to date so the wearer can now see the Calibre 1000. It comes with a “secret” extra-thin cowl and a brand new soundboard, simply 0.6 mm thick, fully crafted in sapphire crystal, on which the gongs are mounted. And it’s now hinged and could be opened because of a discreet lever situated slightly below the crown.
Subsequent comes the calendar capabilities, with a semi-Gregorian perpetual calendar mechanism. With a view to save house, it makes use of the single-layer expertise of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Extremely-Skinny (a.ok.a the RD#2). Nonetheless, to convey extra readability to the show, the Code 11.59 Universelle depends on discs and apertures to point the calendar information. Calendar indications have been dissociated from the chronograph counters, and the date is now indicated by a two-disc module at 12 o’clock. Lastly, the Calibre 1000 is extra superior than conventional perpetual calendars, because it takes into consideration the 100-year correction usually required in conventional Gregorian perpetual calendars. No handbook adjustment is, due to this fact, required earlier than the 12 months 2400. Lastly, it contains an instant-jump astronomical moon with two concentric discs.
Then we transfer to the chronograph capabilities. The Calibre 1000 within the Code 11.59 Universelle is provided with a split-seconds flyback chronograph. The flyback chronograph means that you can reset and restart the chronograph with a single contact of the pusher at 4 o’clock, whereas the split-seconds mechanism measures intermediate time intervals because of the devoted push-piece into the crown at 3 o’clock. Managed by column wheels, the chronograph mechanism has been remodelled to save lots of house, with the split-seconds mechanism built-in into the centre of the rotor’s ball bearing – whereas normally superposed, thus saving greater than 1 millimetre.
Lastly, the motion is regulated by a flying tourbillon – not a requirement in a Grande Complication watch, however one other feat to be added to the listing. The one-minute tourbillon is held in place on one aspect solely (flying structure) and includes a new oscillator with elevated amplitude (present in RD#3)
The motion itself consists of no fewer than 1,140 parts and measures 34.3mm x 8.8mm. A big and thick motion, however contemplating the variety of components, it’s certainly spectacular, and divulges the work of miniaturisation performed by the model’s R&D workforce. The motion is computerized, which is uncommon in Grande Issues, and shops a cushty 60h energy reserve, relying on whether or not the capabilities are activated or not. The tourbillon beats at a basic tempo of 3Hz. And, as you’d count on, the motion is completed and adorned with conventional Haute Horlogerie prospers.
Availability & Worth
The 4 editions of the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Extremely-Complication Universelle offered right here can be produced in very low numbers. The worth is introduced upon request, however it’s anticipated to be round CHF 1,600,000 (excl. taxes). A heavy value, however we’re speaking heavy watchmaking too.
For extra particulars, please seek the advice of www.audemarspiguet.com.