Following last summer’s addition of splashy, colored lacquer dials to the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection, the line has taken a decidedly complicated turn for fall, introducing the Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie and the Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph, both aimed at the world’s elite collectors.
Unveiled last week, the Code 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie (about $769,000) is a technical tour de force, thanks to its new hand-wound caliber 2956 movement, which fuses the brand’s existing Grande Sonnerie complication with its patented Supersonnerie technology, dramatically enhancing sound quality.
A Grande Sonnerie not only strikes the hour, quarters and minutes on demand (like a minute repeater), it can also automatically chime hours and quarters like a bell tower on your wrist. The term “carillon” refers to the piece’s three gongs and hammers instead of the standard two, so quarter-hours ring with successive highmiddle-low notes.
“The Grand Sonnerie is perhaps the most complex individual complication within the entire field of watchmaking, yet it’s very subtle at the same time, as it is heard more so than seen,” explains Michael Friedman, Audemars Piguet’s head of complications.
It’s no surprise, then, that only five of the exceptional timepieces will be made. They will feature one-of-a-kind dials created by master artisan Anita Porchet (below), Switzerland’s most renowned enamelist. Her studio produced three grand feu paillonné enamel dials using antique gold spangles called paillons. The lucky buyers of the remaining two watches will be invited to commission their own bespoke creations.
The brand also recently introduced the Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph (about $260,000), another dauntingly complex contender that will be produced in a limited edition of 50.
The stunning 18-k white-gold watch blurs the line between dial and movement, showcasing the new automatic caliber 2952 through a double-curved sapphire cr ystal. The rest of its intricate architecture is also front and center. Open-worked bridges are honed from titanium and nickel silver with contrasting rhodium-toned and black galvanic finishes, enhancing dimensionality and visual impact.
“What makes our most complicated watches resonate with collectors is that they are designed for the heart as much as they are for the intellect,” Friedman says.
A smart combination, indeed.