This year, this light and ultra-resistant material appears on several complicated models in the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection, pushing the limits of hand-finishing once more. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor unveiled in 2021, this new timepiece is limited to 50 pieces and combines contemporary design with ancestral know-how. This complicated timepiece comes in a two-tone black ceramic and 18-carat pink gold case that highlights the complex architecture of the collection along with the three-dimensional aesthetic of the movement.
Even though ceramic has already been used in the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet chronographs in 2021, this is the first time that a number of complicated models in the collection have been crafted in this ultra-resistant material. Part of the beauty of black ceramic is its technicity, with each model requiring specific manufacturing and hand-finishing processes. While the exact composition of the ceramic remains a well-kept secret, it is made of Zirconium Oxide powder (ZrO2) that is combined with special binding content. Its homogeneous colour reveals itself only once the material has been sintered at around 1,400° C.
With its contemporary design, black ceramic provides a blank canvas for the traditional skills of the Manufacture’s craftspeople. Each component is pre-polished and pre-satin-brushed before being painstakingly hand-finished with the brand’s trademark alternation of satin brushing and polished chamfers. These finishes can notably be admired on the model’s case middle, offering a fascinating interplay with the light.
The ultra-thin bezel, stylised lugs, crown and push-pieces are all crafted in 18-carat pink gold for a powerful and elegant contrast that harmoniously matches the ceramic and illuminates its dark aesthetic.
Echoing the two-tone case, the architectural movement is comprised of open-worked bridges in both black and pink-gold tones, matching the pink gold-toned balance wheel. The 18-carat white gold hands bring light into the heart of the movement, while the bridges and decorative elements feature 111 V-angles that have been sandblasted, satin-finished and polished by hand.
The decoration of the movement alone represents over 70 hours of work, underlying the technical and extremely precise know-how of Audemars Piguet’s artisans. The result of this meticulous work provides an interplay of shiny and matte finishes that create a captivating play with light reflections, bringing depth to the different levels of the movement.
The transparent chronograph counters and the flying tourbillon cage at six o’clock also reveal parts of the watch mechanism below, allowing the viewer to admire the finesse of the different decorative techniques.