Audemars Piguet has just revived its iconic “Star Wheel” system by way of the modern Code 11.59 platform. The wandering hours complication dates back to the 17th century where it sees three small discs on a larger central wheel that rotate on their own axis to join a 120-degree minute arc section at the 10 to 2 o’clock position. The time is read where the hourly-marked discs meet the minute indications.
As history reveals, the first wandering hours system was created for Pope Alexander VII who suffered from insomnia and was often disturbed by the ticking of his clock. He sent in an order for a “night clock” from the Rome-based clockmakers the Campani brothers where they then came up with the wandering hours complication — silent and easy to read in the dark.
It wasn’t until 1989, when Audemars Piguet rediscovered the wandering hours system in an article in the Journal suisse d’horlogerie, that this compilation received a fresh new look. 18 months of development later, the Audemars Piguet Ref. 25720 was released in 1991. The distinct wristwatch was characterized by its engine-turned outer ring, contrasting logo and minute track, and three star-marked sapphire hour discs. A mix of classic and contemporary, this watch would later be called the “Star Wheel.”
This new iteration with the Code 11.59 (Ref. 15212NB.OO.A002KB.01) takes that iconic time system and modernizes it with the Code 11.59’s 41mm case. The entire display is elevated with luxurious materials like 18-carat white gold, black ceramic, and 22-carat pink gold. Gone are the sapphire discs and in their place are ones made from black opaline aluminum. These discs are highly legible as the numbers float above a new blue aventurine dial.
Powering the new Starwheel is the selfwinding Calibre 4310 which packs 70 hours of power reserve, 30 meters of water resistance, and a new curved 18-carat white gold trotteuse that acts as the seconds hand. Not a limited release, the new Starwheel is priced at $57,900 USD.
In other watch news, Rolex is reportedly building a new $1 billion CHF facility in Switzerland.