There are two ways to make a vintage reissue. Either adhere so precisely to the original that it ends up being essentially a photocopy, or take only the vintage aesthetics and upgrade everything else to modern specifications. There is no right or wrong way on this and both approaches depend on the watch in question.For the new [Re]master01 Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Chronograph 40mm, it’s obvious that Audemars Piguet has taken the second path, a fact that is blindingly obvious by the name.
To remaster something means to return to the original creation, and to make new copies of it with the benefit of improved techniques. In the context of filmmaking, it means going back to the original negative and rescanning it at a higher resolution for modern screens, then using digital techniques to correct errors, improve quality and maybe add new elements.
That certainly explains the “[Re]master 01” bit in the name of the new watch, which frankly has a little of the new naming style of the brand, seen in the uncommon way the CODE:11.59 collection was named. It does take a little getting used to but it does inject a certain kind of energy into the feeling of the new watch.
The source of the inspiration then is reference 1533 from 1943, with the new watch essentially keeping the signature features of the vintage.The old bits that are retained in the new [Re]master01 include the stainless steel case and lugs, that are contrasted by the bezel, olive- shaped pushers and chamfered crown in 18-carat pink gold. On the wrist, the teardrops lugs in stainless steel differ from the gold colour of everything else visible, which is a nice contrast. The 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 is similarly faithful to the original and strikingly charming.
Even the dial design with the Art Deco-inspired numerals and the use of the old Audemars Piguet logo script signed “Audemars Piguet & Co Genève” adheres to the reference 1533, and come from a time when the company had a workshop in Geneva to be closer to end clients and facilitate distribution within Europe and beyond. The new differences in the [Re]master01 include the large 40mm diameter, as opposed to the original’s 36mm diameter, which not only ensures better legibility but is more in line with modern preferences.Secondly, on account of the use of the new calibre 4409, the latest generation automatic chronograph movement from Audemars Piguet with column wheel and flyback function, that differs from the calibre 4401 by having no date function, the chronograph counters have been rearranged.
While the reference 1533 had running seconds at 9 o’clock, 30 minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock and the 12 hour counter at 6 o’clock, the new [Re]master01 switches things up – by having running seconds at 6 o’clock, the 30 minute chronograph counter at 9 o’clock and the 12 hour counter at 3 o’clock.One nice detail though that has been kept, the [Re]master01 has retained 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. It’s a charming little quirk from the original and comes from a request 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.
A word on the reference 1533, it is part of an exceedingly small number of Audemars Piguet’s vintage chronograph wristwatches that were made between the 1930s and the 1950s. All told, there were only 307 units that were made between the 1930s through to the 1950s which makes acquiring one from that era very difficult nowadays. Not to say that the limited edition of 500 pieces of the new [Re]master01 will be easy to acquire, just relatively easier, by comparison.All in all, this is a satisfying release from Audemars Piguet, and the name of the watch does give a clue that it is the beginning of a series of this type of vintage reissue to come.