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Audemars Piguet - Beyond Swiss Made

Audemars Piguet Beyond Swiss Made

At Audemars Piguet, Swiss Made is more than a label, it’s a philosophy

The launch of two new Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet chronographs, with a very contemporary look, and featuring gold and ceramic cases, underscores the brand’s commitment to local artisans.

Beyond Swiss Made

Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph // 41 mm © Audemars Piguet

Suppliers to the Swiss watch industry have always worked in the shadows of the watch brands and even the savviest watch collectors are mostly oblivious to their existence. But inside these workshops, tucked away in the Swiss countryside, are men and women with skills and know-how that have often been handed down from generation to generation of artisans. This ancestral craftsmanship is under threat, firstly from a pandemic that continues to take its toll on the watchmaking industry, but also due to the brands themselves who are constantly tempted by inexpensive components abroad to increase their bottom line. The Swiss Made ordinance was reinforced in 2017, demanding that watches using the Swiss Made label have at least 60% of their value coming from Switzerland, up from 50%. Audemars Piguet has always gone above and beyond the limits of what is considered Swiss Made, preserving the country’s horological savoir-faire.

A man on a mission

Audemars Piguet’s CEO, Francois-Henry Bennahmias is determined to change this, as he explained during his Aiguille d’Or acceptance speech at the GPHG in 2019, “We have a duty to safeguard a savoir-faire that’s absolutely unique to this country and we will only do so if we continue to support our partners.”

Fostering human talent and maintaining human connections is a large part of the family spirit that is at the heart of Audemars Piguet. The company is committed to making almost all of its watch components on Swiss soil. The notion of Swiss Made goes beyond the geographical origin of its watches and extends to the network of people and businesses who honour and push the boundaries of a uniquely Swiss savoir-faire.

Two new code 11.59 Chronographs

Audemars Piguet is unveiling two new Code 11.59 timepieces that shine a light on the work of Bangerter, a Swiss familyowned business that is leading the charge in the manufacture of precision components made of advanced ceramics, tungsten carbide and other extremely hard materials.

Beyond Swiss Made

Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph // 41 mm © Audemars Piguet

Bangerter has created an octagonal black ceramic case middle for the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Chronograph, that accentuates the watch’s two-tone design. This contrast of materials and hand finishing also creates an interesting play on light.

The production process

The process starts with zirconium oxide powder that is combined with a binding agent and formed into a preliminary shape, before being sintered in a kiln at 1,400°C. This high temperature turns the material into ceramic but also reduces the size of the components by 25%, creating an additional production challenge. The ceramic case middle is then machined with high-precision diamond tools and its geometrical surfaces are pre-polished and pre-satin-brushed, before being finished by hand to include the brand’s trademark satin-brushed and polished chamfers.

All the details

Both timepieces are paired with a dark smoked-gray dial featuring a vertical satin-finished base. Black chronograph counters and a matching inner bezel bring depth to the dial and accentuate the case’s octagonal black ceramic case middle.

Beyond Swiss Made

Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph // 41 mm © Audemars Piguet

Beating at the heart of the Code 11.59 is the brand’s Calibre 4401. This is the latest in-house integrated chronograph movement from Audemars Piguet and it comes with a column wheel and flyback function that allows the user to restart the chronograph without stopping and resetting it first. The two Selfwinding Chronograph models are complemented with a black rubbercoated strap, finished with a textured motif for a contemporary look.

Bangerter, and its impressive work in the field of precision components, allows Audemars Piguet to raise awareness about the hidden horological talents working in the watch industry and to show just how much more there is to the notion of Swiss Made than a geographical label.

 

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The brand

Audemars Piguet is one of the few independent family-owned watch businesses and has been based in Le Brassus, in Switzerland's Vallée de Joux region, at the heart of the fine watchmaking industry, ever since the company was first established in 1875.

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