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Audemars Piguet unveils an Ultra Complication at 2 million euros


A pure feat: this new Universal Ultra-Complication with a 1140-part movement offers 40 functions and 23 complications in a case measuring just 42 mm.

This is an announcement that will have been somewhat drowned in the veritable wave of new products just unveiled by the Manufacture in Le Brassus, and again only for this first half of 2023. Because, after having celebrated with great fanfare the 50th anniversary of its legendary Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet clearly does not intend to rest on its laurels, and its now 2 billion turnover for 50,000 timepieces produced per year.

The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Universal Ultra-Complication.

Audemars Piguet

But an exceptional piece has also just been unveiled within the house's young Code 11.59 collection.

A way to continue to give it its letters of nobility, as was once the case with the Royal Oak Offshore bodybuilders.

The Swiss Manufacture of Haute Horlogerie Audemars Piguet presents its very first ultra-complicated automatic wristwatch (the RD#4), with an ultra-complex movement of more than 1100 components housed in the ultra-contemporary case and the civilized dimensions of the Code collection 11.59.

The box of this one indeed measures 42 mm in diameter for only 15.55 mm thick, a challenge for a development of such technicality.

A creation offered for the modest sum of around 2 million euros.

Either the price of

The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Universal Ultra-Complication.

Audemars Piguet

The very name of this Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4 is a tribute to the L'Universelle pocket watch, one of the most complicated ever created by the Manufacture.

With its 26 functions, including 19 traditional complications, this pocket watch belongs to the closed circle of the most complicated timepieces in the world, with the Marie-Antoinette by Breguet (1802), La Merveilleuse by Lecoultre (1878), the Leroy 01 by Louis Leroy (1900), the Supercomplication Henry Graves by Patek Philippe (1933) or Le Cabinotier by Vacheron Constantin (2019), among others.

“For two centuries, almost all the most complicated calibers in the world have been designed and manufactured in the Vallée de Joux by a handful of outstanding watchmakers,

says Sebastian Vivas, Heritage and Museum Director at Audemars Piguet.

In 1899, Audemars Piguet took part in the creation of three ultra-complicated calibres, including that of the famous pocket watch called “Universelle”, currently on display in the center of the Musée Atelier.

The year 2023 marks the return of our Manufacture to this ultra-exclusive field.


With this self-winding Caliber 1000 within it, this timepiece is undoubtedly one of the most complex, if not the most complex in the world: it has a total of 40 functions including 23 complications, including a Grande Sonnerie Supersonnerie, a Minute Repeater , a Perpetual Calendar, a Split-Seconds Flyback Chronograph and a Flying Tourbillon.

The most surprising thing about all of this?

In addition, engineers and craftsmen have deployed treasures of inventiveness so that what is complicated is as easy to adjust by ordinary mortals.

No need to have gone through a watchmaking school to manage the settings and time resets of this technical behemoth, which in itself also constitutes a feat that deserves to be underlined.

“We have improved the robustness of the functions while maintaining a reduced thickness.

We believe that 'mechanical function with an ergonomic purpose' opens a new path for Audemars Piguet and the watch industry in general

", explained Giulio Papi, Technical Director of Audemars Piguet during the presentation of this exceptional ultra-complication. in Le Locle.

The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Universal Ultra-Complication.

Audemars Piguet

Correctors and push-piece crowns sized to be operated with one finger enable the multiple functions of the watch to be activated with ease.

The first, at the top, triggers the minute repeater.

The next two respectively allow the Moon and date indications to be corrected, thanks to an ingenious system which makes it possible to dispense with the usual tools.

On the right side of the case, three crowns with integrated pushers allow the watch to be wound, the time and date to be set and the ringing mode to be chosen (Grande Sonnerie, Petite Sonnerie or silence).

The flyback chronograph can be started and stopped by the supercrown at 2 o'clock, and reset with the other supercrown at 4 o'clock.

The latter also adjusts the current month, synchronized with the year.

This “supercrown” is one of the innovations improving the correction of this timepiece.

While the pusher is used to control the reset mechanism of the flyback chronograph, the crown is used to correct the month forwards and backwards.

It also has a mechanism that allows it to instantly return to its initial position after being turned in one direction or the other (up to 70°).

But what here seems easy to use is in fact the result of high-level technical development, a device housed simultaneously in the crown and the movement, coupled with very elaborate safety devices that prevent any mishandling.

Explicit pictograms have even been affixed to each crown and pusher in order to

The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Universal Ultra-Complication.

Audemars Piguet

“This piece was the ultimate challenge for our development team,”

says Lucas Raggi, R&D director of the manufacture.

It demanded a change in our internal processes so that four people could work on the caliber simultaneously.

The level of miniaturization that we have achieved represents a new milestone, but also the starting point for our new generation of complicated movements.


Setting the calendar functions has also been simplified.

If the day and the phase of the Moon can be adjusted thanks to the two dedicated pushers on the left of the case, the date system adjustable in both directions allows it to be moved backwards or forwards by turning the crown at 3 o'clock in one direction. or in the other.

The month can also be set in both directions thanks to the innovative “supercrown” placed at 4 o'clock.

The semi-Gregorian perpetual calendar then advances the day, the date and the year by taking into account the number of days per month, including leap years, as well as the correction required every 100 years in perpetual calendars. traditional Gregorians.

In this way, no manual adjustment will be necessary before the year 2400.

The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Universal Ultra-Complication.

Audemars Piguet

Finally, this Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Ultra-Complication Universelle is equipped with a new instant jump process for displaying the astronomical Moon with a more realistic rendering.

Thanks to two discs each containing six distinct representations of the Moon, ten different images are produced to render the image with great fidelity, in particular all the waxing and waning stages which separate the New Moon from the Full Moon as it orbits. around the Earth in an average of 29.53 days.

Like an astronomical Moon, this representation will only need to be corrected once every 122 years, provided the coin is constantly wound.

At 8 o'clock, its window balances that of the year indication at 4 o'clock.

The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Universal Ultra-Complication.

Audemars Piguet

Finally, usually, on a Supersonnerie, the movement is concealed by the resonance chamber system.

On this Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Ultra-Complication Universelle, this is not the case.

The engineers and watchmakers of the Manufacture have in fact designed a system with a double bottom.

It comprises an initial extra-thin


case-back then a soundboard just 0.6 mm thick, entirely made of sapphire and on which the gongs are fixed.

This development alone required three years of development so that it could be produced entirely in sapphire and waterproof.


“secret” background

has several side openings so that air can escape and the sound is amplified when the watch is worn on the wrist.

Hollowed out, it is made of a minimum of material in order to preserve the overall finesse of the case.

This back can be pivoted using discreet levers nestled on the back side, under the crown at 3 o'clock, revealing the split-seconds mechanism and the platinum oscillating weight.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-02-04

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