When Audemars Piguet presented Gerald Genta’s original design for the Royal Oak sports watch at the 1971 Basel watch fair, reaction was mixed — but it went on to become an all-time classic that is now the cornerstone of the brand.

Almost 50 years later, the brand has again divided opinion with a new range called Code 11.59.

The watch combines an octagonal middle case sandwiched in a rounded, outer framework with intricately etched strap lugs. A curved sapphire crystal secured by an ultra-thin bezel forms a dome over the lacquered dial.

A gold Audemars Piguet logo is made using “galvanic growth” — a process similar to 3D printing. Each letter floats on tiny legs and is connected to its neighbour by a strand of gold the thickness of a human hair.

Code 11.59 will be available in a range of six in-house movements, the one pictured being the self-winding Calibre 4401 column wheel chronograph.

It has a “flyback” function that enables the chronograph to be stopped and reset with one push of a button and provides a 70-hour power reserve.

Deconstructed watch for the Financial Times (FT) at the Audemars Piguet headquarters in Le Brassus, Switzerland, Wednesday December 19 2018. (KEYSTONE/Valentin Flauraud)

The 41mm cases come in pink or white gold. A sapphire crystal back allows a view of the 22-carat gold winding rotor and the intricately decorated movement.

Such attention to detail does not come cheap: the range costs SFr25,000-SFr295,000 ($25,400-$300,000), with the Flyback Chronograph above priced at SFr39,500 plus VAT.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article