SIHH 2019. Audemars-Piguet Code 11.59 line. Some thoughts.
When Audemars-Piguet unveiled the 11.59 line, some weeks ago, the least we can say is that it received a cold welcome.
I for one don't think it is justified. And I suggest we reconsider our feelings about it.
First of all, the 11.59 is not one watch, or two, but a whole line of 6 watches: Time Only, Chronograph, Perpetual Calendar, manual winding Tourbillon Openworked, Flying Tourbillon Automatic and Minute Repeater.
Second point, the 11.59 case ( 41 mm for all of them ) is very interesting. Made with care, it is really pleasant, at least for me. The empty lugs, welded to the bezel ( ! ) and the case back ring ( !! ), the case which is a blend of octogonal and round shapes are original and eye catching. It gives to the watch a very modern, technical not to say conceptual look, which is an excellent point.
Third point, the movements. All are made nicely decorated. With a special mention for the Flyback Chronograph, I must say, but the epitome is the minute repeater movement, which is really spectacular.
The Cal 4401 new in house chronograph movement:
Last point, the sapphire glass, which makes me think of the Ulysse Nardin 160 Chronometer, which has a close shape.
Here the sapphire glass is double curved. Look at this press file picture, I didn't find a better way to describe the glass:
4 points which are to be put in perspective with the main issue... The dials. In fact, I would say that 2 dials are not convincing, while the others are more than ok.
I found, among these 6 models, three which are speaking loud to me:
The Perpetual Calendar, with its superb aventurine dial. A pity it doesn't come in white metal. It is a romantic piece.
The Openworked Tourbillon.A blend of art and horology. Impressive.
And the Minute Repeater, with its awesome enamel smoked blue black dial, a spectacular movement, and it is announced as a very good minute repeater so called " Supersonnerie ", which I couldn't verify by myself, sadly.
I would have put the Flying Tourbillon in this list, with its enamel dial. But I am not a fan of tourbillons which make a hole in the dial. Nonetheless, it is far from being ugly, and the white gold smoked blue black enamel dial is very nice.
Now the two dials which didn't convince me are the Time Only and the Chronograph.
In total honesty, I don't find them inspired nor inspiring. They lack character, while the rest of the watch is strong, original with refined movements.
I would have seen something more daring, young, original, strong.
A tapisserie, for example? For the time only, at least?
A young, fresh and dynamic dial for the Chronograph?
What is disturbing me with these two dials is that there is a mismatch between them and the spirit of the rest of the watch ( dynamic and daring case, too wise / classic dials, nor refined, nor original ).
And while we are at it, please, Audemars-Piguet, remove the date on these two!
I would also add some technical ( titanium, ceramic
or original materials ( tantalum ) for the case.
So to sum my thoughts, I would say that it is not fair to criticize the whole 11.59 line and that even the time only and the chronograph have some good points, such as the case, sapphire and movements.
I rather see some very good members in this family, and a promise of a bright future, if Audemars-Piguet reconsiders the dials.
Go, Audemars, go!
One wish... Why not a 11.59 Starwheel? I say that, I say nothing...