Audemars Piguet and their secret code.

Whoever names Audemars Piguet thinks of the Royal Oak. That’s what they’re known for. Does that make sense? Yes it does as it’s the main seller of the brand and I feel it’s what has been keeping the brand alive. If you see an ad of AP it’s most likely related to the Royal Oak.

Yet, if you start digging deeper into the brand you’ll run into some amazing pieces, which is why they deserve(d) a place at the top of the “Haute Horlogerie” next to the other big names, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin.

Somewhere in November – December we received an e-mail with a link leading to the AP website “crack the code”. What we got to see were  sneak peeks of the new upcoming model. The CEO, mr. Bennahmias told the press that this was going to be the most biggest release for the brand since 1972, the release of the Royal Oak.

Most of you know the story, back then the RO was launched during Baselworld and it was priced higher than some gold sports watches, had a very contemporary design and it became the talk of the town.

Fast forward to SIHH 2019 and they launched the new “code 11.59”, a launch that became the talk of the town again. And just as in 1972 it received a lot of criticism.

The 11.59 represents a new watch collection that has been in the works for more than 5 years. It represents how Audemars Piguet sees the future for both company and customers. The new launch is a collection of 13 new references and shows what AP is capable of doing.

When I first saw the timepiece I couldn’t believe what I saw, my expectations were high given the fact that this should be the biggest release since 1972 and given the marketing they did on this timepiece. Yet, when seeing the watch all I felt was disappointment, true disappointment. I’m an AP fanboy and would have loved if they would come out with something extraordinary. The 11.59 gave me shivers but not out of excitement.

Now, the first thing that I noticed was the dial layout. It looked plain and empty, didn’t have any charm, it’s a cold looking dial. While many were referring to Fossil, Armani and so on I did see the inspiration from the heritage pieces. Namely the reference 5528 minute repeater. You’ll recognize the numerals design and lay-out.  It seemed like a bad try to me. The dial is enamel, which is great on the white variants, the black dial is almost eligible.

Photo credit: Hautetime

The case looks great, finishing is top notch as we’d expect, I do like the design. Do I think it’s groundbreaking? No, it’s  not. It’s definitely not easy to produce, that’s a fact. Size wise I think it’s not great at 41mm. Especially given the design. I would have liked it if they’d have used a 39-40mm case.

Photo credit: Monochrome

Turning the watch over is where the excitement begins, finally AP has introduced 3 new calibers, all in-house. A time and date, flyback chronograph and a tourbillon movement. They’re all to be excited about!

Photo credit: Monochrome

Photo credit: Monochrome

Overall I feel they hyped up this release way too much, it’s not bad but it’s not the biggest release since 1972, definitely not. Many will defend AP by saying that the launch in 1972 also received a lot of criticisim but we’re just living in a different time now. The most exciting novelty releases haven’t come from the big boys but from the micro brands. Think about brands like Ressence, HYT, MB&F, etc. Those releases have been much more innovative than what AP has release this SIHH.

And what does code 11.59 stand for?! Naming a line with a conservative name wasn’t good enough? It doesn’t suit the AP name.

As you can tell, I’m really disappointed with the whole 11.59 project. And as an AP fan, I’ll just stick with the Royal Oak.

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