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Audemars Piguet  - Bon AP-petit!

Audemars Piguet Bon AP-petit!

The latest releases from Audemars Piguet feature the core collections skilfully updated with fresh flavours for a brand-new horological treat

The last time Audemars Piguet held their presentation of new watches to the press, an event they call AP Social Club, it was in 2019, where they debuted the Code 11.59. That was four years ago, a blink of an eye from the perspective of a watch manufacture that has been around since 1875. To us mere mortals, however, 2019 may as well have been a lifetime ago; so many things were different back then. 

If there’s one brand that has managed to absolutely crush it in the intervening time — thriving whilst others struggled, finding ever-increasing popularity whilst worldwide luxury markets faced commercial and audience erosion, staying relevant even during a global health crisis — that brand is Audemars Piguet. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as the English say, and Audemars Piguet’s pudding in 2023 is bounteous and (literally) rich. The main ingredients are as follows:

Audemars Piguet Success Pudding

148 years of history
3 main locations (2 Le Brassus varietal, 1 organically grown Le Locle varietal to boost flavour complexity and interest; N.B., future recipes will include higher quantities of this ingredient)
2,500 employees (for best results, avoid homogeneity or single-source origin)
4 collections 50,000 watches (sales units, 2022 vintage)
2 billion Swiss francs (revenue, 2022 vintage) 

Mix well with an experienced hand. Through refrigeration or any other convenient means, introduce copious amounts of cool. Bake at temperatures that would cause anyone else’s pudding to burn to a crisp. Serve.

Pudding is delicious on its own, but if your horological appetite is anything like ours, you like a good variety of quality comestibles besides. At AP Social Club 2023, an event swarming with hungry journalists, the menu comprised crowd favourites with updated flavours — changes that were mostly subtle, but ultimately impactful. 

New Launches in the Royal Oak Collection

I think all of us at some point have come across the concept of saving the best for last, the idea that you start slow and then work your way up to the Most Important Thing for the finale. It’s great for some things, like Steve Jobs’ famous “one more thing” style of keynote addresses. It’s not great for situations where the law of diminishing returns applies. You do not wait until you’re old or too tired to do all the fun stuff you’ve always wanted to do — you do them when you can get maximum enjoyment out of them. Forget salad. Start with dessert. Today, the yellow-gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 37mm with turquoise dial is my recommended dessert of 2023. 

Bon Ap-petit!

Royal Oak Selfwinding © Audemars Piguet

I didn’t say turquoise-coloured dial. I said turquoise dial, which means a natural stone dial in the Royal Oak case, recalling the flamboyance of some (sadly) discontinued and vintage models. Coral, jasper, lapis lazuli and malachite are some of the natural ornamental stones that have been used in Royal Oak watches in the past, but I honestly don’t think any of them compare to the exquisite colours of this new model. There are other, more technically interesting watches to follow, so you might be wondering why this one gets to go first. It’s because it’s the most beautiful one. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. Other watches will probably do better in terms of provoking thought. But the yellow-gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 37mm with turquoise dial provokes something a little more elusive: Desire. 

Four gem-set white-gold Royal Oak models may not seem all that interesting after the splendour of the turquoise-dial yellow-gold Royal Oak, but the main thing you should remember about them is that these pieces, ranging from 34mm to 41mm, are part of Audemars Piguet’s efforts to offer greater choice to customers of all wrist sizes and design preferences. This will be important for the brand in both the short- and long-term.

Bon Ap-petit!

Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph © Audemars Piguet

The Royal Oak Jumbo is a watch with near-sacred status in the eyes of the watch community, who will howl and come after you with knives if they think you’ve desecrated their object of veneration. Some people might see that as an overreaction, but I get it. You shouldn’t mess with perfection. One time I was in a restaurant that served me what they called a deconstructed tiramisu, and I was this close to torching the place. 

Bon Ap-petit!

Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-thin © Audemars Piguet

Happily, you can keep those knives in the kitchen drawer (and put that can of gasoline somewhere safe), because the new Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin is worthy candidate for horological worship, or at least semi-canonisation. Nothing that you love has changed about this Jumbo, except for the dial. Some of you might say, “But the dial is the most important part!” No joke, I’ve actually had some of my collector friends yell this at me. Bro, I hear you. But let me finish. The dial is finely grained, which might remind you of a slightly coarser version of the frosted surface treatment that Audemars Piguet premiered for their first Carolina Bucci collaboration. It’s made using a different technique however, using PVD processes. Unlike the smooth and homogenous PVD coatings we’re used to seeing in watchmaking, this dial obviously has a much more textured look, which is achieved by varying the factors related to material emission during PVD sputtering. It looks great, from up close or from a distance, and a transparent coat of fixative material (Zapon, if you must know) is layered on to add sheen and durability. I can’t do much to sway the die-hard adherents of Petite Tapisserie, but if it helps, you can think of this new dial variation as a sort of Nano Tapisserie. (Just to be clear, I made that term up. Nano Tapisserie is not a thing that exists at Audemars Piguet.)

Bon Ap-petit!

Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-thin © Audemars Piguet

New Launches in the Royal Oak Offshore Collection

Apparently, if you stuff your face with snacks all day, you should probably work out regularly. At least, that’s what my colleagues tell me every time they see me eating sweets by the fistful at my desk. While working out is not part of my life philosophy, sports watches definitely are. This year being the 30th anniversary of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, the newly introduced Offshore models are a supercharged throwback to the original watch from 1993, a year with special significance to me (probably the last time I was able to consume candy with gross impunity). 

The new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm in black ceramic is a faithful homage to the original steel model, nicknamed “The Beast” for its hulk-like proportions (yes, 42mm was considered insanely large in 1993). Remember the 2021 Offshore Selfwinding Chrono 42mm in steel that everyone salivated over because it was said to be a perfected version of “The Beast”? This year’s version is the same, but in black ceramic, and we all know how audiences react to anything by Audemars Piguet in black ceramic. (Get those bibs back out.) 

Bon Ap-petit!

Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph © Audemars Piguet

Speaking of black ceramic, the new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 43mm in ceramic and gold may be a mere 1mm larger in diameter than the 42mm model we just discussed, but it brings a whole other vibe. Fans of the original will always favour the 42mm Offshore, but the 43mm model embodies the aesthetic of the best-selling Offshores ever. Chronograph counters in the 3-6-9 configuration, high-contrast materials, facetted oblong chronograph pushers, Méga Tapisserie dial: these are the features that characterised the Offshore as it transitioned from avant-garde experimental collector favourite into the smash-hit blockbuster celebrity watch of choice. If all these things tickle your tastebuds but you’re still craving one last fix of that vintage 1993 goodness, look no further than the material pairing of black ceramic and yellow gold. It’s a sensual colour combination so strongly associated with that particular time; back then it hit our senses so powerfully that the late ‘90s just couldn’t handle it anymore and had to go on a diet of minimalist androgyny. Black ceramic and yellow gold — the dark chocolate and salted caramel of watch material combos. 

Bon Ap-petit!

Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph © Audemars Piguet

New Launches in the Code 11.59 Collection 

The Code 11.59, controversial when initially launched, has gained new features in 2023 that allow its true strengths to shine through, like Christmas cake that tastes rather dull at first but then emerges in full rum-soaked glory, plump and unctuous, at the Yule dinner table. The Arabic numerals at each quarter have been replaced by faceted baton indices with a substantial dash of Super-LumiNova. To indicate the hours and minutes, the previous needle-fine hands have been substituted with openworked batons to complement the hour indices (more precisely, the hands combine the form of the Royal Oak hands and the openworking of the Royal Oak Offshore hands — for those who like this sort of cross-collection allusion). 

Bon Ap-petit!

Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding © Audemars Piguet

A new dial texture, radially symmetrical, finely yet deeply etched, is the star of the show. Texture is everything. Without it, everything sort of falls flat. Everyone knows that apple crumble without the crumble is basically baby food. This new dial texture, especially when combined with smoky coloured dials, provides that crunch and complexity that lets your eyes return to it again and again without ever feeling like you’ve had too much. 

Bon Ap-petit!

Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Chronograph © Audemars Piguet

All these aesthetic changes come hand-in-hand with the introduction of a new material for the Code 11.59 — stainless steel. Yes, that’s right. As odd as it sounds, stainless-steel models did not exist in the Code 11.59 collection before now. Whilst the 2019 Code 11.59 emphasised the skill and technical know-how of the manufacture by crafting gold cases in such a demanding form, the 2023 models in stainless steel highlight the robustness inherent in the Code 11.59 design, comparable to the exposed girders of an industrial space (sorry, I haven’t got a dessert-related analogy for this). Automatic time-only and automatic chronograph models in full stainless steel are available alongside pieces in steel and ceramic, with the dark ceramic case middle offering a striking tonal contrast against the brushed-steel lugs, bezel and caseback.

Bon Ap-petit!

Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Chronograph © Audemars Piguet

For now, the new aesthetic features will appear only in the steel models, but will eventually be propagated throughout the entire Code 11.59 collection, including high-complication/tourbillon models and those in precious metals. 


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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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