The Audemars Piguet [Re]master01 Selfwinding Chronograph is like a remastered classic on vinyl, played on crystal clear modern speakers and turned up to 11James Robinson
In what we hope will be the first of many watches to be unveiled in these dark times, Audemars Piguet has recently released their latest model.
Called the Audemars Piguet [Re]master01 Selfwinding Chronograph, this new piece is actually a reinterpretation of one of the Le Brassus firm’s early 20th-century watches. In no way is this a reissue, in the vein of many other note-perfect renditions of old models by older brands. It is a true remaster, in the audio sense. It is cleaner. Bigger. And crystal clear both in its looks and in its contemporary intentions to sit comfortably among watches from the current era.
It is also – notably – unscarred, pocked or creamed by faux patina. It is loudly, and proudly, a new watch. And evidently the result of cutting edge modern manufacturing techniques as well as the highest quality materials.
Based on a 1943 chronograph wristwatch that Audemars Piguet themselves acquired from Phillips Auctions way back in 2014, there’s a curious nexus of antiquated aesthetics with modern manufacturing.
The post-deco vibes are strong, with the case blending both polished steel and 18k pink gold into its design – the case being steel, but the bezel, chronograph pushers and noticeably unsigned, oversized crown being hewn from the precious metal.
However, while the two-tone aesthetic of the case is definitely old school, as is the highly stylised lugs, the dimensions of this new watch, which measure 40mm across, are most definitely 21st century.
And that’s very important, as Audemars Piguet is quick to point out that though stylistically similar to an older watch, the new [Re]master01 is a distinctly modern interpretation. “This is not a historic reissue – it is a contemporary re-mastering of one of our past creations,” said Michael Friedman, Audemars Piguet’s Head of Complications.
The old world meets new philosophy has been backed up through the watch’s well … caseback, as the [Re]master01 scores not only a rearwards “glare-proofed” sapphire crystal display but also a movement that most certainly hails from this side of the 21st century.
Caliber 4409 is a bang up-to-date self-winding, manufacture movement, and if it looks familiar to some of you, that’s because it’s a modified version of the Caliber 4401, a movement we first saw last year in the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection.
Calibre 4409 features a flyback chronograph complication, 349 parts, 40 jewels, an operating frequency of 28,800 (4Hz) vph and 70 hours of power reserve.
Although the hand-finishing is more sober on this movement, what is striking – if you’ll pardon the incoming pun – is that it has been conceived to reveal components normally hidden from view such as the so-called “dance of the chronograph hammers” when the chronograph is reset—visible on the caseback.
What the movement lacks in pizzazz, though, the dial more than makes up for. It’s classic AP quality at its absolute finest, benefitting from a satin-brushed gold aesthetic that featuring both a blued tachymetric scale and minute track around its edge.
The hints of blue are continued with the 12-hour and 30-minute sub-dial hands, as well as the chronograph seconds hand, being hewn from blued steel, while the running seconds, hour and minute hands are finished in pink gold.
The three counters are also noticeably recessed into the watch’s dial, which adds another layer of visual complexity. The striking red “4/5” located inside the 30-minute totaliser is also a nice touch, and harks back to the original 1943 chrono.
This original wristwatch will be exhibited in the brand’s Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet which will open to the public on June 25, 2020.
Just 500 examples of the Audemars Piguet [Re]master01 Selfwinding Chronograph will exist, and they’re being exclusively sold through AP boutiques across the globe with a RRP of CHF 49,500 (roughly $90,000 AUD).
It’s also worth mentioning that the naming strategy of this new AP is intriguing, as the [Re]master01 moniker implies that there could be more … remasterings to come. We shall wait and see, and based on the first remaster, we shall hope.