The most dominant trend in the watch industry continues to be vintage revivals. And invariably, it’s the brands with a rich tapestry of work in their historical archives that tend to thrive in the category. Audemars Piguet now looks back at a mid-20th century model to create the [Re]master01 self-winding chronograph. Though the inspiration is vintage, the timepiece is a thoroughly modern interpretation of the original. Learn more in this in-depth profile of the watch from Nitin Nair of our sister publication, WatchTime Middle East.
Due to the nature of its business in the 1930s and 1950s, Audemars Piguet’s timepieces from this era are unique pieces because they were not produced in series. As a matter of fact, only 307 chronographs were made in this period. The product development team picked the Ref. 1533 from 1943 for their first [Re]master project because of “the specific aesthetic and emotional connections” they all felt. Only nine Ref. 1533 models were made, only three in stainless steel and gold. Unusually large for that era (the watch had a 36-mm case), it was powered by a Valjoux 13VZAH movement. Incidentally, a Ref. 1533 from 1941 sold for CHF305,000 at the Phillips Geneva auction in 2015.
The new chronograph has a limited run — only 500 pieces will be made — and it does an impressive job of evoking the spirit of the original with its two-tone steel and rose-gold case complemented by a champagne dial. The [Re]master01 features a modern 40 mm stainless steel case with the distinct teardrop-shaped lugs of the original. Its slim bezel, olive-shaped chronograph pushers and chamfered crown are in 18k pink gold.
The satin-brushed champagne dial has black transferred hour markers and rose-gold hour, minute, and second hands. Steeled blue chronograph hands and a blue transferred tachymetric scale add a pop of color to the dial. Also noteworthy is the Art Deco-inspired numerals and the signature “Audemars Piguet & Co Genève” on the dial. The explanation for the latter feature is that from 1887 through the mid-1970s, Audemars Piguet (based in Le Brassus) maintained a workshop in Geneva to be closer to its customers and to facilitate trade distribution within Europe.
The chronograph has a tricompax layout, with a 12-hour counter at 3 o’ clock and a running seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. The 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock has a 4/5 indication above the 15 minute mark, just as in the original. This element was added at the behest of Jacques-Louis Audemars, a fan of European football, or soccer, to help time the duration of each half of a match.
The watch is powered by a new automatic movement, Caliber 4409, whose integrated chronograph is driven by a column wheel and equipped with a flyback function. This chronograph movement, visible behind a sapphire crystal caseback, is from the same family of chronograph calibers that was used in the Code 11:59 collection last year. Caliber 4409 has a 22K rose-gold oscillating weight that matches the tone of the bezel. The rotor is satin-brushed and decorated with a “clous de Paris” pattern and it can amass a power reserve of 70 hours.
The watch is paired with a light brown, hand-stitched calfskin strap but it also comes with an additional dark brown alligator strap. Limited to 500 pieces, the [Re]master01 is priced at $53,100.
A version of this story appeared on WatchTime Middle East.