RE Mastering the past by Audemars Piguet
Like a remastered recording from the 1940s, [Re]master01 Selfwinding Chronograph reinterprets one of Audemars Piguet’s rare chronograph wristwatches with the Manufacture’s latest technology and a dial design increasing legibility for the present day.
Audemars Piguet’s vintage chronograph wristwatches are among the rarest in the world with only 307 units made between the 1930s through the 1950s. This first remastering project brings forward the Manufacture’s creativity during the tumultuous and transitional World War II era. This limited edition of 500 pieces evokes the highly distinct design attributes of the original chronograph wristwatch from 1943, with its two-tone steel and pink gold case enhanced with a champagne dial.
By uniting mid-20th century design with contemporary horological technology, [Re]master01 speaks directly to the blend of heritage and forward thinking which continues to infuse Audemars Piguet’s timepieces.
Faithful to the original design language of pre-model 1533 from 1943, [Re]master01 features a round case and lugs in stainless steel, enhanced by a bezel, olive-shaped pushers and chamfered crown in 18-carat pink gold. The teardrops lugs highlight the two-tone case’s harmonious curve, while the very thin bezel provides unobstructed view on the dial’s detailed work. The case has been meticulously polished by hand.
The case’s two-tone polished aesthetics is complemented by a satin-brushed gold-toned dial enriched with black transferred hour-markers, pink gold hour, minute and seconds hands, blue chronograph hands and a blue transferred tachymetric scale. Although the dial design has retained the original timepiece’s classic features and Art Deco-inspired numerals, the watch’s enlarged 40 mm diameter ensures better legibility fit for a contemporary use.
The chronograph counters have also been rearranged for improved readability. Yet, [Re]master01 has subtly kept the original watch’s 4/5 indication above the 15 minutes mark inside the 30-minutes counter at 9 o’clock to allow the wearer to record up to 45 minutes. This indication was requested by Audemars Piguet’s third-generation family-founder Jacques-Louis Audemars (1910 – 2003) to satisfy his taste for soccer and indicate his favourite sport’s half time.
The light brown hand-stitched calfskin strap adds an elegant touch and the watch also comes with an additional dark brown alligator strap.
Bringing the past into the present, [Re]master01 is equipped with the Manufacture’s newest generation of selfwinding chronograph mechanism: an integrated chronograph with column wheel and flyback function. Contrary to the original wristwatch of 1943, [Re]master01 features a glareproofed sapphire crystal caseback which reveals the beauty of the chronograph mechanism and the dedicated 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight matching the bezel. The oscillating weight is satin-brushed and decorated with “Clous de Paris” — a traditional decoration technique used since the 1950s at Audemars Piguet.
Similarly to the 1943 wristwatch, [Re]master01 features the signature “Audemars Piguet & Co Genève” on the dial. From around 1885 to the mid-1970s, Audemars Piguet had a workshop in Geneva to be closer to end clients and facilitate distribution within Europe and beyond. When Audemars Piguet started to sign its watches in the early 20th century, the city of Geneva was frequently mentioned on the dial.
Every Audemars Piguet watch was unique until 1951. The Manufacture’s vintage chronograph wristwatches are among the rarest in the world today. This ultimate sports function started to equip Audemars Piguet’s wristwatches in the 1930s at a time when the measure of performance had become an integrant part of society. During World War II (1939–1945), when pre-model 1533 was crafted, chronograph wristwatches accounted for just under one-tenth of the company’s total watch production.
Only three stainless steel and gold chronograph wristwatches with the present case design were sold in 1943. The watch’s 36 mm diameter was quite large for the era when most chronograph wristwatches used to measure between 31 and 34 mm.
Highly contemporary for its time, pre-model 1533 epitomises Audemars Piguet’s relentless quest for technical mastery and artistic excellence.