Besides the Universelle grand complication, Audemars Piguet has another ace up its sleeve when it comes to its line of round watches. Originally launched a blue enamel dial, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Minute Repeater Supersonnerie gains sharper aesthetics with a smoked sapphire dial and a pink gold case.
A big part of the appeal of a repeater is the mystifying mass of racks and levers that drive the chiming mechanism and are most often hidden under the dial. Unveiling their secret is sometimes best done with the direct approach of not having a solid dial.
A clear sapphire dials is arguably perfect it for a repeater, because the complication is usually constructed on the movement’s dial side. Unlike other frontal complications such as perpetual calendars, chiming complications are highly interactive – the racks are set in motion during the chiming sequence in a mechanical dance, all while the chimes sound, a performance that elevates the appeal of the complication.
And for the Code 11.59 specifically, the tinted sapphire dial works especially well. Matched with high-contrast pink gold, it is an ideal complement for the case design as it blends an otherwise classical complication with contemporary livery that matches the modern styling of the case.
As a result, the new repeater is one of the most appealing watches in the Code 11.59 range, with an intrinsic appeal that few of its brethren possesess.
While retaining the same case design, the new repeater gets a more modern set of materials. While the previous iterations of the model were entirely in 18k white gold, this has a two-tone construction with the case middle in black ceramic sandwiched by a rose gold bezel and case back. But of course the highlight of the design is the sapphire dial, a livelier and more vivid presentation of the complication than its predecessor with an enamel dial.
Besides offering a partial glimpse into the mechanism below, the sapphire dial also catches the light, changing its appearance at various angles. The dial design is streamlined with the pared-back indices and hands. The hour markers now omit the applied numerals at the quarters found on the original model, instead relying on simple applied batons for the hours and minutes.
Characteristic of the Code 11.59 design, the dial is encircled by an inner bezel with printed minute numerals. This ring serves to frame the movement, which is noticeably smaller than the case diameter in part to accommodate the octagonal case middle.
Despite the modern aesthetics, the movement inside has been in AP’s stable for a long time. Debuted some three decades ago in its original form, the cal. 2953 is based on a traditional, manual-wind repeater movement and is evolved from the cal. 2907 found in the Jules Audemars repeater from over a decade ago. The classical construction means its requires extra care when operating the repeater, unlike the user-friendly Universelle that’s powers by a latest-generation calibre.
One detail worth noting is the space visible under the dial at six o’clock, which is explained by the fact that the calibre can accommodate a tourbillon, an added mechanism that is found in other iterations of the movement, like that in the Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie.