The Vallée de Joux, located in Switzerland, has inspired many watchmakers in creating astronomical watches, as they used the region’s clear night sky as a reference for the beautiful dial creations. The watchmakers and designers at Audemars Piguet are no different. The luxury Swiss brand has a long history of creating astronomical timepieces along with perpetual calendar timepieces.
In fact, Audemars Piguet has quite an impressive history in regards to these technological marvels in watchmaking. The first astronomical timepiece was created in 1875. The brand’s first full calendar wristwatch was produced in 1921 and in 1955, Audemars Piguet released the world’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch that featured a leap year indication.
In 1978, Audemars Piguet broke another world record as they released the world’s thinnest self-winding perpetual calendar wristwatch. What’s even more impressive was that this timepiece was released during the height of the quartz crisis, when mechanical watches were being pushed out. It shows just how daring Audemars Piguet was in not only facing the adversity of what the watch market was going through at the time but to keep pushing forward regardless and also releasing some incredible timepieces in the process.
This latest unveiling by the brand is their culmination of bringing astronomy and the perpetual calendar together. This latest model, the Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar white gold, is the continuation of the Code 11.59 collection.
The Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar White Gold comes in a dark blue dial in aventurine glass which recalls a star-lit sky. The starry skyed dial features the perpetual calendar complication. At 6 o’clock we can see the moon phase which has been created through laser engraving and finally applied on a thin aventurine disc. At 3 o’clock location we can see the current date, with the counter hand pointing to the exact date. The 9 o’clock counter, points to the current day of the week. The blue lacquered bezel shows the current week out of the 52 weeks a year, with an arrow-tipped hand pointing to the exact week.
The 12 o’clock counter shows the month indication. The hour markers and hands are all done in white gold, which adds a nice contrast against the blue dial background. The white gold on the dial also matches nicely with the 41mm 18-carat white gold case. The case itself is very refined and stylish as well, which is fully expressed in the hollowed-out lugs. Audemars Piguet states that “thanks to the case’s ergonomic curvature, this complicated wristwatch will sit comfortably on all wrists for both men and women.”
Audemars Piguet has used the self-winding perpetual calendar movement, the Calibre 5134, for this timepiece. The Calibre 5134 movement features the Code 11.59 dedicated 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight.
This movement automatically takes into account the number of days in the month and will correctly display the prevailing date even through the leap years. As long as the watch is being regularly wound, it will not need manual correction until 2100, at which point the watch will need adjustment so that it stays in line with the Gregorian calendar. The Calibre 5134 movement operates at a frequency of 2.75hz (19, 800 VpH) and gives out a minimum power reserve of 40 hours.
To match the beauty of the dial, the strap choice offered is a blue rubber-coated calfskin strap with 18-carat white gold folding clasp.
This modern take on astronomy combined with the perpetual calendar is truly a beautiful masterpiece. With the starry-skied dial, mixed with the 18-carat white gold case and dial appliques, a perfect balance of subtle contrast and beauty is created. This latest addition to the Code 11.59 collection continues Audemars Piguet’s rich history of calendar watches all the while also showing the collection’s endless creativity.