In the early months of each year, we are presented with a string of new releases from Audemars Piguet. The manufacturer from Le Locle, Switzerland is mostly known for its iconic Royal Oak, but it certainly has more in store for us. The brand actually has four different model lines in its portfolio, three of which are Royal Oak related. The first is the standard Royal Oak collection, the second is the Royal Oak Offshore collection, and the third is the Royal Oak Concept collection. In addition, the brand also has the extensive Code 11.59 collection. This year, we have seen new additions to all four collections, ranging from normal models to super complicated high-end timepieces. So, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from Audemars Piguet in 2023.
New Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Models
Audemars Piguet’s Code 11.59 collection was introduced in 2019, and immediately became one of the most talked-about watches out there. While it was initially met with a lot of criticism, the Code 11.59 collection has been slowly expanded to include some absolutely spectacular timepieces. This year, we’ve been treated to some sensational new timepieces, the absolute highlight of which is Audemars Piguet’s most complicated timepiece to date. So, here are the new Code 11.59 additions for 2023:
Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4
Let’s start off with a bang: The new Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4 is the absolute highlight of this year’s introductions. This mind-blowing timepiece features 40 different functions, 23 of which are complications. Among these are a Grande Sonnerie Supersonnerie, minute repeater, perpetual calendar, split-seconds flyback chronograph, and flying tourbillon.
While that is already a massive accomplishment, the concept for the watch was much broader. The central idea was to create a highly complicated watch that could also serve as a functional daily wearer. As such, the watch needed to be clearly legible and easy to use; thus, the team started with the dial design. The ability to read all the different functions was key, and so the designers and engineers started by laying out different dial options that could integrate the diverse functions.
At the same time, the team wanted to avoid creating a watch with numerous push-pieces and correctors on both sides of the case – a typical feature of ultra-complicated watches. Instead, they devised a series of ingenious push-pieces and crowns that make it easy to operate the many functions. Moreover, the watch measures just 42 mm in diameter and 15.55 mm thick, making it very wearable. Most highly complicated watches are bulky due to all the complications that need to stack on top of one another.
Audemars Piguet managed to build many complications into this watch, including those that the brand released in the first three watches of the RD# series. The series is home to fabulous technical solutions developed by the brand’s Research & Development teams. This newest piece combines the best of these efforts and integrates them in a striking new Code 11.59 model that is nothing short of breathtaking. The watchmaker has created four different models: two with closed dials and two with open-worked dials. The standard dial versions retail for CHF 1,450,000 (approx. $1,580,000), while the open-worked versions are on sale for CHF 1,600,000 (approx. $1,740,000). But here it’s not about the price, it’s about the huge achievement this watch represents.
Standard Code 11.59 Available in Steel
In other Code 11.59 news, the brand has finally made the watch available in stainless steel. Of the six new standard models, four are stainless steel or a combination of stainless steel and ceramic. The new material options make the Selfwinding and Selfwinding Chronograph models more affordable, but no less impactful. Audemars Piguet worked together with Swiss guilloché craftsman Yann von Kaenel to come up with some striking dials for these new versions. The absence of the characteristic – but also hotly debated – numerals makes these watches look even better. At €25,200 (approx. $27,000) for the Selfwinding time and date only model and €34,800 (approx. $37,000) for the Selfwinding Chronograph, these new watches are at the lower end of the brand’s price range.
Code 11.59 Models Wow With Looks and Technology
But that’s not all for the Code 11.59 collection; AP also introduced three different versions of the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie. These watches are executed in a combination of white, pink, and yellow gold with a black ceramic mid-case and open-worked dials. They feature a grande sonnerie mechanism that automatically strikes the hour every hour, and the hour and quarter-hour every 15 minutes. Instead of the typical two-gong system, the Carillon uses three gongs to produce a low, middle, and high tone for extra sonic brilliance.
The manufacturer also introduced a Code 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie in pink gold with a black ceramic mid-case. The watch features a black smoked sapphire dial that reveals the inner workings of the movement beneath. For those of you who don’t already know, a minute repeater chimes the hour, quarter-hour, and minute on demand. The addition of Audemars Piguet’s patented Supersonnerie technology improves the overall sound quality of the mechanism.
The last and final new model from the Code 11.59 collection is the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon with a brilliant green enameled aventurine dial. This timepiece features a pink gold and black ceramic case with a flying tourbillon integrated into the lower half of the dial. The dial is an absolute stunning piece of art that is further enhanced by the characteristic numerals that are, of course, a matter of taste. This final piece really showcases the incredible versatility of the Code 11.59 collection, as well as the brand’s persistence.
New 2023 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Models
The brand’s new Royal Oak additions are spread across all three collections and include both standard and complicated timepieces. The first remarkable release I would like to highlight is the boutique-only Royal Oak “Jumbo” in white gold with a blue grained dial. This watch is absolutely gorgeous. Technically speaking, it’s nothing new, but the ultra-slim watch looks great with its new dial and is priced at €78,000 (approx. $84,000).
Did someone say Tiffany dial?
Another standard model that catches the eye is the yellow gold Royal Oak Selfwinding 37 mm with a turquoise dial. Can you say Tiffany dial? While we all know that it isn’t a true Tiffany dial unless the jeweler’s logo is present, the term is often used for turquoise dials. However, in this case, we aren’t just talking about color, but the actual stone. AP sourced the rare mineral from Mexico to create some outstanding and unique dials. It makes for a colorful combination with the yellow gold case, hour markers, and hands that will make you think of sunnier climates. The smaller 37-mm case size ensures that this watch doesn’t come across as a big block of gold; that being said, the watch definitely jumps off your wrist. It can be yours for €61,200 (approx. $65,500).
The Beast Is Back
Now moving on to the Royal Oak Offshore collection: The first Offshore was introduced 30 years ago, and Audemars Piguet has celebrated the anniversary with the return of “The Beast,” the very first Royal Oak model. This time around, however, the brand decided to introduce a black ceramic version of the watch. It’s great to see this stealthy version of the watch with its black ceramic case, bracelet, and black Petite Tapisserie dial. The new color scheme gives the watch an understated appearance that makes it much less of a beast than the very first model. This watch can be yours for €84,000 (approx. $90,000).
The 2023 Complicated Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Models
Lastly, I would like to highlight some of the highly complicated Royal Oak models that have joined the lineup. The first is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin. The prototype of this timepiece was actually one of the three previous RD# models. This stunning Royal Oak is crafted out of solid titanium and is only 6.2 mm thick with a case diameter of 41 mm.
The real magic is inside the case with the ultra-slim caliber 5133. This perpetual calendar movement made the watch a record-breaker when the first prototype came out in 950 platinum in 2018. The commercial release followed a year later in a combination of platinum and titanium. This time, the brand decided to craft it from solid titanium. The dial was also updated, and now features a beautiful smokey blue hue with black subdials. This change makes the watch a joy to look at, and the perpetual calendar easy to navigate. Audemars Piguet is producing just 200 examples of this stunner.
Royal Oak Concept Watches Always Bring Something New
Another knockout is the new Royal Oak Concept Split-Seconds Chronograph GMT. The Royal Oak Concept is the brand’s collection that focuses on boundary-pushing designs, materials, and technologies. This latest Royal Oak Concept features a gorgeous 43-mm sculpted titanium case with many different facets, angles, and finishes. The case follows the curvature of the wrist, meaning the 43 x 17.4-mm case is actually very wearable.
You can view the in-house caliber 4401 through the sapphire crystals on the front and rear of the timepiece. This impressive split-seconds flyback chronograph movement allows you to time events and split times. As it’s a flyback chronograph, you can immediately return to zero without having to stop the chronograph. The movement also indicates the time in a second time zone, and features a large date window on the open-worked dial. This watch’s looks paired with its unique movement make for yet another superb release.
Adding a Bit of Color to the Royal Oak Offshore
The last release I’d like to mention is the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph Flying Tourbillon. This is a timepiece that we’ve seen before in a very stealthy execution. For this version, however, Audemars Piguet has given the watch some extra color to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore. The black ceramic case and open-worked dial with nice hints of green is mounted on a green rubber strap. The pink gold hands and logo add even more pizzazz to the dial. Small red accents finish off this spectacular final piece. As you can see, there is plenty to enjoy this year from Le Locle.