News: This New CODE 11.59 Has One Hell Of A Dial
At SIHH in 2019, Audemars Piguet surprised the watch world with the release of the CODE 11.59. Since then, Audemars Piguet has stuck with its new watch—despite the controversy—and has released several new variations. The newest of which is why I’m here today: introducing the Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie.
This isn’t the first time the Supersonnerie has been featured within a CODE 11.59. Last year Audemars Piguet won the “Men’s Complication Watch Prize” at the GPHG (Grand Prix D’Horlogerie De Genève) with it’s CODE 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie. The Minute Repeater Supersonnerie—just like the new Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie—also featured an enamelled dial within a white gold case. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the new watch takes that one step further by adding more to the movement and collaborating with the best enamellist in Switzerland: Anita Porchet.
The Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie is the most complicated CODE 11.59
Anita has been commissioned for just five pieces, making this CODE 11.59 is easily the most limited piece to date. Three dials have been made so far—two that look like an ice-cream sundae made by Jeff Bezos and one that reminds you of your favourite blue SEGA character—with another two to be made at the customers’ request and specification.
What makes enamelling so impressive is the transition between solid, liquid, and back to solid again. Firstly, oil or water is added to the enamel powder and mixed. The desired colour is then applied to the dial with brushes just a few millimetres, or even in some cases a single hair thick. The artist must be extremely cautious at this stage—especially when working with a gradient in colour. The enamel is currently a liquid, the colours can run and mix together until they are fired. The piece is then heated to around 800ºC, boiling out the water and turning the liquid back to a solid. The process is repeated time and time again until the desired effect is achieved.
Anita Porchet is the best enamellist in Switzerland, she has been commissioned by Audemars Piguet for five CODE 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie dials
While that is an impressive feat all on its own, Anita takes her art to a whole new level. You see, she is one of a handful that practices the art of Paillonné. This involves applying small decorative paillons—hence the name—to a piece, in this case, the CODE 11.59’s dial. This, like the original enamelling of the dial, is incredibly meticulous and requires one very steady hand. A clear layer of enamel is then placed on top of the finished creation and fired one last time.
To go with an impressive dial is an impressive movement. The Calibre 2956 is, as it says on the tin, a Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie. But what is that? Allow me to break it down. The Grand Sonnerie: a complication that allows the watch to strike similarly to a minute repeater. What separates the two is that the Grand Sonnerie can strike the hour and quarter hours without the involvement of its user—rather like the A. Lange & Söhne Striking Hour does but on steroids.
The Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie is limited to just five pieces and costs CHF 710,000
Moving on to the Carillon. Simply put, this means that rather than having two gongs and hammers—like a traditional chiming watch—a Carillon has three. This lets the watch chime in a high, middle and low note. Finally, we get to the Supersonnerie: This is a patented technology from Audemars Piguet. It allows the watch to resonate similar to that of a pocket watch through the use of a device that acts as a sort of soundboard—this is the reason the CODE 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie does not have an open case back.
At CHF 710,000 the Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie is not cheap; but then again, why would it be? For the money, you get a truly unique dial handcrafted by the best, and a watch more complicated than the one that won the GPHG prize just one year prior.
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