Audemars Piguet Just Dropped Two High-ComplicationsSeptember 16, 2021
Hot on the heels of last week’s titanium Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar release, AP has just added two more high-complications to its lineup. There’s an all-titanium Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie with smoked grey dial and a two-tone CODE 11:59 by Audemars Piguet Openworked Tourbillon.
The new Minute Repeater Supersonnerie joins two earlier all-titanium Royal Oak variations currently listed on the AP site, one with blue Grande Tapisserie and the other in salmon. The Supersonnerie name is fitting, because it is one heck of a chiming watch with a ton of R&D behind it.
If you’ve ever had the chance to use one AP’s Supersonnerie watches – and I realize that these are not easy things to just go and check out – you know that they are among the loudest and clearest of chiming watches around. They also have the counterintuitive characteristic of being louder when strapped on the wrist, which kind of blows your mind if you’ve ever seen a minute repeater demonstration using a hollow piece of wood to amplify the sound. No such tricks are needed with AP’s modern repeaters.
Rather than dampening the sound, your wrist actually brings it up dramatically. AP had a whole immersive experience on its chiming tech at SIHH 2015, and it remains the product demo that made the biggest impression on me at that show. The Supersonnerie eventually appeared in an unassuming-looking blue-dialed Jules Audemars wristwatch for the Japanese market. But with the first Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie, which we covered in 2019, it was packaged in its most commercially interesting form yet.
Now there are three popular Royal Oak dials to choose from if you want a full titanium Royal Oak Supersonnerie. This new version’s smoked grey Grand Tapisserie dial is interrupted by a black small seconds sub-dial and white gold markers for the hours. As you’d expect from a Supersonnerie, the back is closed, with openings around its edge for sound transmission.
On the CODE 11:59 side of things, AP announced a new version of the Tourbillon Openworked featuring a case made of white and pink gold. A sandwich of precious metals, the watch has a pink gold caseband that highlights the geometry of the CODE case, and of course the movement is no slouch. The openworked caliber 2948 plays off the CODE’s skeletonized lugs, resulting in one very airy and modern AP high-complication. With its sweeping rounded bridges and strong beveling, the cal 2948 has been used in previous CODE 11:59 watches, including a unique version (also featuring a two-tone case construction) made for the most recent edition of the Only Watch charity auction, in 2019.
These releases happened to come to my attention via an email from Audemars Piguet, but as we’ve come to expect from AP, they’re not tied directly to an industry trade show or anything of the sort.
Since withdrawing from SIHH, AP has released watches on its own terms and timeline, sometimes overlapping with other industry events and sometimes not. In the past, we’ve discovered new products on the AP website, sometimes major ones, that were added without any fanfare at all. That was the case back in 2019 when they added the first Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonneries with Grande Tapisserie dials back in 2019. Now we have another one joining that growing assortment.
While these two watches – one Royal Oak and one CODE – may not be completely new things per se, they are new references of high-complications from one of the hottest brands in watchmaking today, and you can bet your bottom dollar that people are calling their local boutique about them right now.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Supersonnerie reference 26591TI.OO.1252TI.03. 42mm x 14mm titanium case with glareproofed sapphire crystal. Water-resistant to 50 meters. Smoked grey Grande Tapisserie dial with black small seconds sub-dial. Hours, minutes, small seconds, minute repeater. Titanium bracelet with AP folding clasp. Limited production. Price: CHF 324,500.
The CODE 11:59 by Audemars Piguet Tourbillon Openworked ref. 26600CR.OO.D009KB.01. 41mm x 10.7mmwhite and pink gold case with openworked lugs. Water-resistant to 30 meters. Hand-wound caliber 2948 tourbillon beating at 21,600 vph with a power reserve of 72 hours. Hour, minutes, tourbillon. Slate grey lacquered inner bezel and pink gold. Rubber coated slate grey strap with 18-karat white gold folding clasp. Price: CHF 189,400.