The world of horology never ceases to amaze. Take a look at Audemars Piguet’s extraordinary Quest To The Holy Grail.
CODE 11.59 by AUDEMARS PIGUET UltraComplication Universelle RD#4.
More than a century has passed after the production of its ultracomplicated
Universelle pocket watch and Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet has now introduced its very first ultra-complicated self-winding wristwatch (RD#4) in the highly contemporary design of the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection.
Paying tribute to the renowned Manufacture’s legacy of high complications, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet UltraComplication Universelle RD#4 has been crafted with ergonomics and contemporary usage in mind to offer unprecedented comfort and simplicity of use. Innovatively, this new creation regroups the Manufacture’s horological savoir-faire into a single movement, the selfwinding Calibre 1000, which counts over 1,100 components. An amazing feat of engineering and fine watchmaking tradition, this pioneering mechanism builds on three generations of R&D innovations and incorporates 40 functions, including 23 complications, among which there is a Grande Sonnerie Supersonnerie, a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, a split-seconds flyback chronograph and a flying tourbillon.
It took over 7 years for engineers, designers, watchmakers and craftspeople, working hand in hand to bring this RD#4 timepiece to life, continuously broadening their skills to push the limits of Haute Horlogerie craftsmanship to new heights.
“This new Ultra-Complication is the culmination of several
decades of research, design and manufacturing of many
different types of complicated mechanisms that have put
ergonomics at the forefront of the process. To achieve the
highest level of reliability, while also keeping the thickness of
our calibres to the minimum, we believe that a ‘mechanical
function with an ergonomic focus’ opens a new path for
Audemars Piguet and the watch industry as a whole.”
– Giulio Papi, Technical Director, Audemars Piguet Le Locle
GENESIS OF AN EXCEPTIONAL ULTRA-COMPLICATION
The debut of the project was in 2016 with the goal of developing a highly complicated wristwatch fit for everyday use that would strike the right balance between complexity, ergonomics and aesthetics.
The team went beyond traditional norms of construction, blurring the line between movement and case by developing ergonomic correctors and crown-pushers allowing users to activate the watch’s multiple functions with ease. They also incorporated and built on the Manufacture’s three recent R&D innovations – the Supersonnerie technology unveiled in 2015 (RD#1), the ultra-thin perpetual calendar movement launched in 2018 (RD#2) and the oscillator with increased amplitude premiered on the two Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Extra-Thin RD#3 models released in 2022.
In result? In 2023, this project led to RD#4 and the creation of a remarkable wristwatch powered by an ultra-complicated self-winding movement counting over 1,100 components. Calibre 1000 incorporates 40 functions, including 23 complications as well as 17 special technical devices, paving the way for a new generation of R&D movements. Seven years on, Calibre 1000 sees the light of day in the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection – itself an uncompromising bridge between the past and future, classic and contemporary.
A look at the case shows that while it has retained both the ergonomic curvature and design codes of the collection, its proportions have been slightly adapted to fit this ultra-complicated mechanism. This new case that measures only 42 mm in diameter (instead of 41 mm) and 15.55 mm in thickness, represents a real feat of engineering. – Compiled by Sunita Chhabra.
“The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Ultra-Complication
Universelle RD#4 is our quest to the Holy Grail with an
incredible amount of savoir-faire fitted into a very small
volume! We dreamt about it for 100 years, thought about it
for 20 years and took seven years to bring it to life.”
– François-Henry Bennahmias,
Chief Executive Officer, Audemars Piguet