Secret name, decentralized design and broader brand strategy: the true meaning of 11.59 in the Code
The public life of 11.59 of the Audemars Piguet Code is now over six months. The history of a company can be traced back to 1875. Nevertheless, even within a few days after the company was established, it has become a strong contender for the most influential company in 2019. Based on bare facts-one of the world ’s most respected watch brands has launched a brand new series, which has multiple brand new internal movements, which is not surprising. This is not surprising when you see the watch itself. These are not what anyone expects.
If you repurchased QP magazine in March, then you will undoubtedly read Nick Foulkes’ comments on the series:
“This is the brand’s last SIHH. It made a huge roar, and it has been heard from Geneva to HQ in the quiet mountain village of Le Brassus. Everyone is talking about the code 11.59, which is Audemars Piguet The new product launched-not because of AP’s hope. The clichés on the brand and its CEO François-Henry Bennahmias are unprecedented. “
Against this background, the release of 11.59 of the Code is an interesting case study showing how to receive a new watch, which is actually a new watch, not a revival, tribute, reissue or “legacy” series. This raises some basic questions about our demand for leading watch brands.
I ’m afraid you do n’t know that the code 11.59 broke out on the morning of January 12, and before the residents of Le Brassus ate a muesli, the Internet was flooded with harsh comments. Riding the wind and waves, compared to the non-irritating comparison (Michael Coles! Calvin Klein! Daniel Wellington!) The shocking thing is that Audemars Piguet, a company with a market value of 1.1 billion euros, may be The owner of the longest timepiece heat bar Rolex (Rolex)-produced a reaction that might cause sparks. Two days later, Bloomberg published an article entitled “Audemars Piguet launched a new watch, the reaction is: too bad”.
People have to wonder about the situation at the headquarters. But Michael Friedman, the head of complex affairs at the Associated Press, said optimistically: “My opinion is very long. If you are in the first two weeks after introducing a new form language (this is in the Industry rarely happens), you will always get an important response. I think the men and women on the bench have no direct connection with marketing activities. Some of them do not understand its sulfuric acid properties. Some of them are difficult to deal with. But there are haters in every industry. You can be the best Grammy award-winning musician; you throw away [new] things and you will have hatred. This is the culture we are in. “
To be fair, even at the beginning of the establishment of SIHH, the vast majority of reviews came from people who did not personally touch the watch, but in any case, you can assume that most companies want their products to complement the official photos. However, this reaction is a bit surprising, which makes you wonder: what does the watch brand do? Reporter — QP includes watches, and the wider watch community has long expressed growing enthusiasm for the endless legacy of reinvention and heritage. These heritages are passed on in some ways for innovation and bold strategic thinking. However, when the top “traditional” brands ventured to create new products, the response was quite consistent: looking back at Vacheron Constantin’s FiftySix; Zenith’s new Defy; and even TAG Heuer’s Carrera Heuer 01.
Is modern replica watch design really at a low point? I think there are more activities here. Witness the extension of the credit line to brands without AP tradition; emerging Indians can do some strange things about the shape of the case, which is okay, but it seems that we want our established watch brand to exist in the state of Neverland Reshape the golden age of rose gold watchmaking. If so, then it is part of the industry ’s own bed, and its dependence on the history and heritage of marketing Valléede Joux is even high.
The fact remains that in his first impression of 11.59 of the Code, Audemars Piguet found himself in unfamiliar waters (although Friedman said collectors ’feedback has been more positive recently). Let’s start with the name. It’s a bit big mouthed; it’s not that some watches are just a single word away, but it’s hard to decode. Attendees at SIHH gave a speech, rationalizing Code into a crossword (challenge, self, Dare, Evolve) to celebrate many of the brand’s virtues, but it felt completely refurbished.
Friedman confirmed that the “code” originated from the company-wide call for names and resonated not only with guiding design principles but also with modern technology, communication and meaning. He said: “People are eager to have something unconventional, and it doesn’t sound like they are from the watch industry.” Then “11.59” was added, intended to encapsulate optimism about the new day. Whether it is good or bad, it has been habitually discarded, and it is likely that the “AP code” will be a bit loud as time passes.
So, what are the touchpoints defined in 11.59 of the Code? It was created to replace the Jules Audemars series that has been phased out over the past six years or so, retaining only the most complex references until the end, and talked about replacing the round table in the AP series. The comparison with reinventing the wheel is unfortunate. Of course, Audemars Piguet makes it more complicated. CEO François-Henry Bennahmias stated that its purpose is to showcase all aspects of the art of watchmakers. He said on the Hodinkee radio podcast that the goal is “it is almost impossible to copy … every detail, every craft, every skill must be brought to the extreme”.
Admittedly, it has a rare level of complexity and detail: the ultra-thin round bezel is located on the octagonal strap with brushed and curved corners. The hollow lugs protrude from the bezel and meet the bottom cover, without any physical constraints, only one surface is flush with the other surface. The sapphire glass spanning the 41 mm case immediately bends in two directions. The entire project may sound like a punishment for the brand’s industrial suppliers. According to reports, only 10 qualified technicians from the Associated Press can polish the case.
Even if there is no ambition, it is nothing. This is before we talk about the lacquered dial and the two-year quest to design a pure gold logo (which can be applied manually like chunky sports Arabic numerals). It is not clear why this is so important for the identity of the cheap watch. Talent is undoubtedly needed to achieve this goal, but even in an industry where hidden efforts are valued, it is unlikely to be appreciated by everyone who sees it. The octagonal strap is also confusing: when preparing to implement Code 11.59, the brand has been embarrassingly emphasizing that, as such, the history of the brand does not start with Royal Oak, so why should it be so obvious to recall its deepest point . Successful design?
The answer given by Audemars Piguet is not only an answer to this question, but also all the criticisms raised in Article 11.59 of the Code, that is, it is like Royal Oak, Royal Oak Offshore and Royal Oak Concept Similarly, there is a tradition of pride in bold traditionalism. ; The implication is that as time goes by, we will consider Article 11.59 of the Code with a new perspective. Friedman also pointed out that the form of the brand can be traced back to the 1920s (the shape of the outer case was made at that time) (in fact, every watch design before 1951 was somewhat unique. But the business at that time was far from the relatively high output today)). Indeed, the Royal Oak surprised the audience in 1972 and was not generally welcomed, especially by relying on the Italian market to increase sales, while the rest of the world discussed the idea of luxury men watches made of stainless steel. steel.
Does Code 11.59 follow the same tradition? Not by Offshore creator Emmanuel Gueit, the former AP designer and the last person who was equally angry with the Audemars purists said: “When Royal Oak launched, it was a shock because a luxury brand launched steel Watch. But the hatred is not so strong. Within three years, all other brands are doing the same thing. What is certain is that when I launched the “Ocean”, people were shocked. They said it was too big , Will not sell, but no one said it was ugly. “
The difference between Code 11.59 and its Royal Oak brothers and sisters is that when they are the real first person, it will not break ground in the same way. Most of the things that have been brewing for a long time (it is said that the copy watch has been developed since at least 2013, and multiple designers have contributed to the finished product) may be new, but the end result does not exceed what is usually considered a luxury watch. This is unlikely to make it shrink, in fact, I dare not bet that its business performance in the first few years is better than Royal Oak or Offshore. As Nick Foulkes said, the balance between expectations and reality is the key.
AP does provide services in certain areas: the series not only provides automatic and chronograph reference, but also includes perpetual calendar, automatic tourbillon, skeleton tourbillon and supersonic minute repeater, more complex reference can definitely better understand the code of 11.59 . The design-Supersonnerie’s dark blue gradient dial and the design of the sound-like sound wave back cover are particularly well received. The Tangling dial available on the perpetual calendar is an acquired taste, but it is bound to sell well, and in view of the level of detail of the case, it is undoubtedly a wise move to hollow the case.
The reputation is because it immediately released a complete series, and the brand is still strictly literally delivered: these fake watches are purchased from February, which is different from many release versions, customers must wait for 9 months or more To arrive.
Of course, it contributes to the action, which is usually the element of the new model that takes time to reach the maximum production speed. It has actually been prepared for a while-at least, it will constitute most of the content of the code 11.59.
For fans of the brand, it is worth the wait. So far, Audemars Piguet has used the movement 2385 derived from Frederic Piguet in the replica Royal Oak chronograph and the Dubois Depraz module of the 3120 movement in the offshore chronograph. Starting this year, as time goes by, they will be replaced by the 4401 movement, which is an internal flyback chronograph with a 70-hour power reserve, vertical clutch and column wheels, which work more frequently than any one The predecessor product (4 Hz) is high, and each ligne looks pure breed, while ensuring better durability and the touch that high-end chronographs expect.
Along with the 4302 movement, this is a new movement that automatically shares its basic structure with the chronograph. Its arrival is not so urgent, but Bennahmias hopes that the brand will be 100% independent when purchasing a movement, and regardless of your overall opinion on internal debates, this is fully in line with the status of AP. The brand’s first self-winding tourbillon tourbillon 2950 movement is also very new. Bennahmias is committed to accelerating the creation of movements, and now it comes to the retail preparation time of movements from three to 18 months, not longer. A typical five to seven year development cycle.
How the code of 11.59 will develop is an interesting question. There may be more references added, but since such a wide range of complex functions have been provided, smart money will be used for more colors and materials if the structure permits. Personally, if the wheel is dead, I would be surprised to have the opportunity to develop design elements (such as mobile phones), but this may also be wishful thinking. Ultimately, the judgment criterion 11.59 will be sales, not comments, and SIHH’s feedback is optimistic.
At first glance, some people think that the automatic device represents AP’s new entry-level product-just as it has recently become popular among other high-end brands-but Code automatic device is not Royal Oak’s feeder series. Of course, the brand is confident in the products it creates and insists that it has the potential to attract a new audience of Audemars Piguet.
Friedman said: “It’s about people from young to middle-aged and retirees, they are looking for different things.” “You have 21- to 22-year-old young people, they grew up mainly in the digital space, This is an outdated technology, and their appeal to watches stems from persistence. I am not only talking about Europe and the United States, but also about Asia and India. “This is in line with Bennahmias ’s speech, which talked about thin bezels, And in the case of sharing the dimensions with smartphones, laptops and TV screens, a larger viewing area is created.
Time will tell whether replica Code 11.59 will be considered the Royal Oak of the Millennial Generation. It is likely to achieve complete and reasonable success without achieving its goals; as Friedman said, our first impressions often change with time and circumstances. “The major impact on Code 11.59 is contemporary architecture. Like contemporary architecture, not everyone must understand it or have an emotional connection to it. It does not matter. Contemporary things are polarized: music, art, furniture, this It is a contemporary copy watch. “
For me, a recent interview by Mr. Bennahmias has a prominent statement: “The series we are engaged in is not marketed by customers, because no one asks us to create something different.” Here, time will also prove whether it is worthwhile to pursue such a difficult design: Benahemias will definitely say that leadership is better than following. Let us see if the world likes where he is going.