When Audemars Piguet presented Gerald Genta’s original design for the Royal Oak sports watch at the 1971 Basel watch fair, reaction was mixed — but it went on to become an all-time classic that is now the cornerstone of the brand.

Almost 50 years later, the brand has again divided opinion with a new range called Code 11.59.

The watch combines an octagonal middle case sandwiched in a rounded, outer framework with intricately etched strap lugs. A curved sapphire crystal secured by an ultra-thin bezel forms a dome over the lacquered dial.

A gold Audemars Piguet logo is made using “galvanic growth” — a process similar to 3D printing. Each letter floats on tiny legs and is connected to its neighbour by a strand of gold the thickness of a human hair.

Code 11.59 will be available in a range of six in-house movements, the one pictured being the self-winding Calibre 4401 column wheel chronograph.

It has a “flyback” function that enables the chronograph to be stopped and reset with one push of a button and provides a 70-hour power reserve.

Deconstructed watch for the Financial Times (FT) at the Audemars Piguet headquarters in Le Brassus, Switzerland, Wednesday December 19 2018. (KEYSTONE/Valentin Flauraud)
© VALENTIN FLAURAUD/KEYSTONE

The 41mm cases come in pink or white gold. A sapphire crystal back allows a view of the 22-carat gold winding rotor and the intricately decorated movement.

Such attention to detail does not come cheap: the range costs SFr25,000-SFr295,000 ($25,400-$300,000), with the Flyback Chronograph above priced at SFr39,500 plus VAT.

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