It serves as no surprise that as we make our way deeper and deeper into the new year that we would start to uncover this year’s novelties, and of course Audemars Piguet has come out with a wide range of models that are truly exciting. From updated Code 11.59 variants to new Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore models, AP have kicked 2023 off with a bang and show no signs of taking this year slowly. Let’s delve into their releases and explore what’s on offer in Le Brassus.
The Royal Oak
It wouldn’t be a new year filled with novelties from Audemars Piguet if we didn’t have a wide variety of Royal Oak variants to sift through and inevitably drool over, this year is no different. Launching six new Royal Oak variants, there is invariably something for everyone.
Kicking things off we have a trio of new smoked blue dial 18kt white gold Royal Oak variants offered in 34mm, 37mm and 38mm, all with diamond baguettes adorning their bezels and diamond-set hour markers. The 34mm ref. 77541BC and 37mm ref. 15551BC are time and date-only, and come powered by AP’s cal. 5800 and 5900 movements respectively while the largest model, the 38mm ref. 26715BC boasts a chronograph and is powered by the automatic cal. 2385.
In addition to the 38mm ref. 26715BC, AP have also launched a 41mm Royal Oak Chronograph, the ref. 26240BC that also features an 18kt white gold case, a blue dial (albeit not smoked like the others) and a gem-set bezel. However, instead of diamonds AP have adorned the ref. 26715BC’s bezel with rich blue sapphires. Powered by the automatic cal. 4401, this is quite the beast indeed.
After those four models comes what are easily the cream of the crop for this year’s Royal Oak novelties so far, the 37mm ref. 15550BC and the 39mm ref. 16202BC. Launched in yellow and white gold respectively, these two time and date-only models are regular Royal Oak models at first glance. Powered by the automatic cal. 5900 and cal. 7121 respectively, they are wonderfully thin and wearable as we have come to expect of the Royal Oak, only their dials are quite special.
The ref. 15550BC boasts a stunning turquoise dial made from the eponymous gemstone, a first for the Royal Oak. Mined in Mexico, cut into fine slices, sandblasted and then set on a gold-plated brass baseplate, this Royal Oak is a truly stunning creation. With each dial being unique as a result of the varying properties of each stone dial, this is a wonderful inclusion to the Royal Oak’s catalogue.
In addition to the ref. 15550BC’s beautiful dial comes the ref. 16202BC with its stunning grained blue dial. Inspired by the 20th anniversary Royal Oak that was launched in 1992, this new model showcases the collection’s evolution over the last 30 years. Foregoing the Royal Oak’s signature petite tapisserie, this new dial boasts a grained texture that is truly unique. Made its rich shade of blue through a PVD-process and boasting a colour-matched date wheel, this timepiece evokes memories of the night sky, a romantic source of inspiration for one of watchmaking’s darlings.
The Code 11.59
Following four years of the Code 11.59, AP have shown resilience to stick to the script with what was originally one of the most-controversial launches in a long time. Since those early days, the Code 11.59 has certainly grown and come into its own with increasingly popular variants being launched throughout the last two years, and this year seems to be no different. Launched in this batch of novelties are six new variants that promise to become the most popular Code 11.59’s AP have to offer.
Offered as three time and date-only models and three chronograph models, these watches all share a very similar aesthetic. Measuring 41mm in diameter, both the time and date-only and chronograph models are offered with three dial options, a blue, green and smoked beige, with the both blue and green models featuring stainless steel cases and the smoked beige boasting a stainless steel case and a black ceramic mid-case, which is reflected in the CHF 2000 more expensive pricepoint of CHF 23,000.
Invariably the star of the show for these six Code 11.59’s are their new dials. Famously a pain-point for collectors over the years, the Code 11.59’s dials once featured 3-6-9-12 applied numeral dial arrangements that were seen as cluttered and busy. These six models forego those applied Arabic numerals and come with thick applied luminous hour markers that are more pronounced than those on older models. A great addition to the collection, that isn’t all, these six dials also feature beautifully executed concentric guilloche patterns that radiate out from the central pinion like ripples in water. A wonderful expansion of the Code 11.59 collection, it seems AP have known what they were doing all along.
The Royal Oak Offshore
Last but not least we have two new variants of the Royal Oak Offshore to kick off the model’s 30th anniversary. While more models are certainly expected to come as the year goes on, AP have gotten things started with the ref. 26238CE and ref. 26420CE. Both made of black ceramic as their reference number allude, they are strikingly unique watches.
The ref. 26238CE, for example is a black ceramic version of the original Royal Oak Offshore that launched the collection in 1993, complete with black ceramic bracelet and black Petite Tapiserie dial. Powered by the automatic cal. 4404 movement, this watch puts the Beast nickname back into the Offshore.
In contrast to its entirely-ceramic sibling, the ref. 26420CE is a Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph that sits on a leather strap – the only one in the entire set of novelties – with 18kt gold trimmings such as its crown and pusher guards and lugs. Boasting a black Mega Tapisserie dial, this beast blends the Offshore Chronograph’s luxurious design with a hint of overt luxury.
For more information visit Audemars Piguet's website here.