A quick assessment on the Audemars Piguet website will reveal that the Le Brassus based watchmaker has exactly five varieties of timepieces that combine the tourbillon and chronograph complications. These are, the Jules Audemars Tourbillon Chronograph powered by the openworked manual calibre 2936, the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked Selfwinding powered by the openworked selfwinding calibre 2949, the Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph powered by the openworked selfwinding calibre 2947, the Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked powered by the manual calibre 2936 and now, the latest addition to the list, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph powered by the selfwinding calibre 2952.
Fascinatingly, of the five, only two of these timepieces share a calibre type and they are both of the manual variety. The remaining selfwinding varieties are all unique movements made for the specific family of watches it serves within Audemars Piguet.
In this regard, the newly minted calibre 2952 is one for the history books as it combines the flying tourbillon and flyback chronograph mechanism within an Audemars Piguet timepiece for the first time.
As much of a surprise that may be, we have to understand that even the first time that the watchmaker combined the chronograph and tourbillon mechanism, was with a relatively recent timepiece, the 1999 Jules Audemars Tradition d’Excellence n°1. The watch was created to mark the turn of the new millennium and additionally boasted a minute repeater, and its chronograph was in fact, of the split-second variety. This was a 20-piece platinum limited edition (plus one for the Audemars Piguet Museum).
Therein, another surprising first may be that Audemars Piguet’s first use of a flying tourbillon was with the 2018 Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT. It was in the same year that the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon watches were added to the watchmaker’s Haute Joaillerie collection. It was also at SIHH 2018 that we saw the incredible RD#2 unveiled.
Other than the Royal Oak Concept Frosted Gold Flying Tourbillon that was launched just last month in August and the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selwinding Flying Tourbillon, the Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph watch launched today is, therefore, only the fifth Audemars Piguet creation to feature a flying tourbillon.
The new Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph, ref. 26399BC, is rendered in 18K white gold measuring in at a diameter of 41mm. Looking at the face of the watch we understand why a new movement had to be developed for the timepiece. It bears a geometric openworked design that seamlessly integrates the watch dial to the movement and vice versa.
To create contrast within the watchface, we can see that while the majority of the baseplate has been given a black galvanic treatment, bridges are rhodium treated to create stark separation. The complete movement is otherwise formed of titanium and nickel silver, save for the rotor, which is in 22K gold, rhodium treated to allow it to blend into the openworked bridges visible through the caseback.
It is, also because of the stark contrast that the rhodium and black treatments give the watch, that Audemars Piguet has been very thorough in mentioning that a high level of haute horlogerie finissage is applied to the 2952, even by their own standards. A fact that may have been necessitated by the sheer abundance of internal sharp angles we can see on the designs for the rhodium treated bridges.
But as impressive as the watch appears to be, what remains lacking at this point is details on the mechanical aspects of the Calibre 2952, beyond the basics such as the 479 part makeup, its 3Hz frequency and the 65-hour power reserve.
The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph will be produced in a limited edition of 50 pieces and is priced at CHF 240,000.
Selfwinding Manufacture Calibre 2952; hours and minutes; central flyback seconds chronograph hand; 30-minute totalizer at 9 o’clock; 12-hour totalizer at 3 o’clock; flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock; 55-hour power reserve
41mm 18k white gold; double glareproofed sapphire crystal on front and caseback; water-resistant to 30m
Hand-stitched “large square-scale” blue alligator strap with 18-carat white gold AP folding clasp
Limited edition of 50-pieces priced at CHF 240,000