Le Brassus, November 8, 2019 – Last night, Swiss Haute Horlogerie Manufacturer Audemars Piguet was awarded the “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix for its Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin at the 19th edition of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie in Geneva. The Manufacture also received two additional prizes rewarding the technical and aesthetic complexity of its Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin and its Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Minute Repeater Supersonnerie.
Audemars Piguet’s Chief Executive Officer François-Henry Bennahmias joined numerous Haute Horlogerie enthusiasts at the Theatre du Leman for the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie award ceremony, which concluded the exclusive road show of the 84 pre-selected timepieces across the world.
The “Aiguilles d’Or” Grand Prix rewarding the most impressive watch across all categories was handed to François-Henry Bennahmias at the end of the ceremony for the Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, the Manufacture’s latest technological milestone launched earlier this year. With a movement of 2.89 mm in thickness and a case of 6.3 mm in height, the Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin is the world’s thinnest automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch.
To reach such a thinness, the perpetual calendar functions, normally arranged on three levels have been merged into one single layer, leading to the development of two patented innovations. The end-of-the-month cam has been integrated to the date wheel, while the month cam has been combined to the month wheel. The geometry of each component has also been optimised from the onset, reducing adjustment and assembly time.
The Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin marks a turning point for Audemars Piguet, paving the way for a new generation of complicated watches balancing refined aesthetics, optimum ergonomics, technical complexity, ancestral savoir-faire and contemporary lifestyle.
During his speech, François-Henry Bennahmias saluted the dedicated work of Audemars Piguet’s designers, engineers, watchmakers and craftspeople who consistently challenge themselves to push further the limits of their craft: “It is thanks to you all that we are here tonight and able to create extraordinary timepieces!”
Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin, running in the category of Iconic Watches, was also rewarded for its elegant new take on the original 39 mm Royal Oak which sent the watch industry into new directions in 1972. This piece brings two much-loved pieces of the past together. The pink gold-toned “Petite Tapisserie” dial that appeared for the Royal Oak’s 20th anniversary in 1992 is matched with an 18-carat white gold case and bracelet decorated by hand with a refined alternation of polished and satin-brushed surfaces. White gold was only used once in the 1980s for a Royal Oak model with a blue dial and diamond-set hour-markers.
To the pride of François-Henry Bennahmias, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Minute Repeater Supersonnerie was also rewarded in the Men’s Complication category. This watch combines the minute repeater supersonnerie technology launched in 2016 with the unconventional aesthetics of the collection. This contemporary wristwatch has the sonic power of a pocket watch. Its exceptional acoustic performance, sound quality and harmonic tone are granted by patented gongs, case construction and striking regulator. The performant gongs are not attached to the mainplate, but to a new device acting as soundboard, which improves sound transmission. The redesigned striking regulator eliminates unwanted noise thanks to its more flexible anchor system.
The 18-carat white gold case presents a complex multifaceted architecture composed of a round bezel and caseback, an octagonal middle case and highly stylised lugs. The upper lugs have been welded to the extra-thin bezel, while the lower part leans delicately against the caseback in perfect alignment. Satin-brushed, bevelled and polished, the bezel, lugs and case present high complexity finishing techniques usually found on calibres. The case is complemented by a smoked blue enamel dial set off by white gold hands, applied indexes and numerals, as well as an Audemars Piguet signature in enamel.
Proud of the accomplishments of his teams, François-Henry Bennahmias concluded his speech by reminding Audemars Piguet’s employees: “This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come!”