Taping timeless metals and minerals, Audemars Piguet re-envisions its Code 11.59 self-winding chronograph in white and pink gold and black ceramic.
No longer content with simply making breathtaking complications, the world’s leading watch makers are increasingly turning to fascinating materials with which to interpret their timepieces. One of these materials is ceramic, a heat and scratch-resistant material known for its regality and durability – making it a great alternative to steel, gold and titanium when it comes to your wrist candy. The first ceramic watch was Rado’s 1962 DiaStar but with the development of new firing technologies, brands as diverse as Hublot and Rolex are increasingly incorporating ceramics into their designs.
Now Audemars Piguet, no stranger to ceramic timepieces, adds this robust material to its iconic Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph, presenting two models in 18-carat white or pink gold.
Entwining bold aesthetics and uncompromising craftsmanship, these two-tone timepieces have pushed the manufacturing and hand finishing of the collection’s multi-faceted case to new heights. The two new Selfwinding Chronograph models present a highly contemporary two-tone case design. While the bezel, lugs and caseback are made in 18-carat white or pink gold, the octagonal middle case is honed from black ceramics.
The manufacturing of the Selfwinding Chronograph’s middle case follows a complex industrial flow created by Swiss company Bangerter, which specialises in precision components made of advanced ceramics, tungsten carbide and other super hard materials. Zirconium Oxide (ZrO2) powder is combined with binder content, the composition of which remains the secret of the company. This feedstock is given preliminary shape on latest generation 5-axis CNC machine technology. After this first machining process, the binder is removed. The watch component obtains its hardness by sintering at approximately 1,400°C.
A challenge with ceramics is that the material shrinks during the sintering process by about 25%. The component is then hard machined with high-precision diamond tools. Its geometrical surfaces are pre-polished and pre-satin-brushed, before being finished by hand.
The ceramic and gold components of the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet case have been all hand-finished with the brand’s trademark alternation of satin-brushing and polished chamfers to the slightest detail – a renewed challenge to achieve perfect alignment between the gold and ceramic components’ rounded and angular surfaces.
The 18-carat pink and white gold models are both complemented with a smoked dark grey dial adorned with a vertical satin-finished base, matching the refined satin-brushing adorning the case. The black chronograph counters and inner bezel give further depth to the dial, while subtly recalling the case’s black ceramic octagonal middle case. Last but not least, the 18-carat pink or white gold hour-markers and hands add a touch of brightness.
The two Selfwinding Chronograph models are complemented with a black rubber-coated strap. Rubber coating has been added to a lining of calfskin leather. The strap is finished with a textured motif for a contemporary look.
The straight integration of the strap in the continuity of the openworked lugs, which have been welded to the extra-thin bezel, further reveals the refined hand-finishing techniques adorning the two-tone case’s contrasted architecture.
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