Hands On With The New Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 In 38mm
The newest variant of the Code 11.59 is to the original release what the Jumbo is to the Offshore collection. Powered by Calibre 5900, these petite offerings promise a more widespread appeal given their versatility and wearability
The Code 11.59 range was met with overwhelming skepticism the minute photos of the collection surfaced at the time of its launch in 2019. It seemed, at least upon initial reactions online, that the watch collecting community was not ready to move on from a certain octagonal sports watch with an integrated bracelet. The original line-up consisted of models that ranged from 41mm to 42mm. While not considered massive by today’s standards, it would likely be considered by most to represent a significant presence on the wrist, at least on paper. Its design language was also thoroughly modern; no longer informed by the Genta era and signaling a departure from its typical flagship offerings.
Earlier this month, two new versions were added to the Code 11.59 catalog, both in 18k pink gold and most notably, trimmed down in size to 38mm. Whilst the Calibre 5900 powering the two watches are the same, the primary differentiating factor is the dial color. A relatively subdued ivory shade is employed for the comparatively subtler sibling whilst the other sports an opulent purple dial, both finished with the familiar guilloché effect seen on the recent steel releases - each of which requires approximately 1.5 months to produce.
Surprisingly, the texture on the dial is achieved through a stamping method developed in conjunction with Yann von Kaenel, a Swiss expert who specializes in guilloché techniques, despite the end product appearing more like the result of conventional engraving. The miniaturized movement boasts a respectable power reserve of 60 hours and a water resistance rating of 30m.
Whilst there is no universal consensus on the best size for a watch, these new dimensions edge closer to the platonic ideal for most modern enthusiasts while simultaneously capturing more unisex appeal. The thickness of the case has also been shaved down to 9.6mm, trimming 1.1mm off its predecessor, further emphasizing the new svelte form factor. Other features include matching pink gold indices, openworked hour and minute hands, and a date window at 3 o’clock.
Apparent in this new release is the ongoing evolution of the Code 11.59 aesthetic, which has incorporated incremental adjustments over its short time in the market. A mixture of brushed and polished surfaces provides depth and visual interest, whilst the crown has been refined with shallower knurling. Consistent with previous releases from the Code 11.59 family is the inclusion of its hallmark design flourishes: the open-worked lugs that are welded to the case, the nearly imperceivable bezel, and the octagonal middle case sandwiched between the dial and the caseback.
In a sense, the new 38mm variant of the Code 11.59 is to the original release what the Jumbo is to the Offshore range. Whilst the dominating size of the larger offerings may not be suitable for all wrist sizes and tastes, their petite counterparts may offer more widespread appeal given their versatility and wearability. For the time being, the brand new 38mm size is only being offered in a single precious metal option. This may alienate some from committing to either the prune or ivory models, but only time will if the market is clamoring for a steel variant in this size.
With the introduction of the new 38mm dimension, has Audemars Piguet finally cracked the code?
Code 11.59 By Audemars Piguet Selfwinding
Reference Number: 77410OR.OO.A623CR.01 (purple) and 77410OR.OO.A825CR.01 (ivory)
Movement: Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Calibre 5900 (manufactured by Vaucher for Audemars Piguet)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Power reserve: 60 hours
Case: 38mm 18k pink gold
Water Resistance: Up to 30m
Strap: Alligator strap with pin buckle
Price: US$33,200 / HK$257,000
For more details, visit Audemars Piguet.