Audemars Piguet Audemars Piguet [Re]issues a treasure from their archive
An obscure steel and gold chronograph from the 1940s serves as inspiration for a new re-issue program at Audemars Piguet.
It was the end of January in Le Brassus. Audemars Piguet had set up a preview visit of their highly anticipated Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet. The opening, initially scheduled for the end of April but since then postponed to the end of June (with public access granted from this autumn on), should have been the occasion to go back in time and review the brand's past deeds and watchmaking ethos. It was to double as the launch of a new type of watch, even though the watch itself isn't exactly new: the [Re]Master01 Automatic Chronograph.
Audemars Piguet chose the name [Re]Master to convey a new take on life for a historic timepiece. Just like when a music recording's original tapes are extracted from the archive and headed back to the studio. The works come out true to the original takes, but cleaner, better, with a quality that's closer to modern standards. The brand previously tried its hand at re-issuing, like it did with the now phased-out cushion-shaped Tradition collection. But this time, they picked a much more esoteric piece, which aims to please collectors.
The AP ref. 1533, the original behind the [Re]Master01 © David Chokron / WorldTempus
The [Re]Master01 is based on an Audemars Piguet timepiece from the 1940s. The ref. 1533 is in the Audemars Piguet archives, and they are very pleased to show you exactly where. It's on a ledger, where the numbers and details are hand-written in the beautiful calligraphy that was de rigueur for book-keeping back then. It's a hand-wound (couldn't be otherwise at the time) chronograph, with two counters and a steel case with the bezel, crown and both oval pushers in rose gold. Its water-drop-shaped lugs are as curvy as the bezel's profile, which give the watch a certain amount of sensuality. Even more striking is the dial. “Champagne” is how they describe the dial hue, even though it's closer to pink gold. It's got thin printed markings and indices, as thin as the hands themselves. The tachymeter scale is printed in blue, just like the other indications related to the chronograph. Nine units of the historical ref. 1533 were manufactured, the whereabouts of which only two are known.
Audemars Piguet [Re]Master01 Automatic Chronograph © David Chokron / WorldTempus
Initially, the ref. 1533 was 36mm in diameter. Now it's grown to a full 40 in order to keep up with the times and the contemporary norm. In the same spirit, Audemars Piguet have fitted it with their new calibre 4409, with a column-wheel and a 70-hour power reserve, a calibre which first came to light with the launch of the Code 11.59 collection. Unlike the latter, its rotor isn't skeletonized but a solid half-disc made of gold with a clous de Paris pattern on the rim.
The 500 pieces that will be made in total are just the first step in the [Re]Master program. There will be other models, all based on the brand's archive and made to entice those lovers of vintage timepieces that can only be found at auction. Considering the archival depth of Audemars Piguet, a company ceaselessly active since its foundation in 1875, one can only anticipate good things to come.
Audemars Piguet is one of the few independent family-owned watch businesses and has been based in Le Brassus, in Switzerland's Vallée de Joux region, at the heart of the fine watchmaking industry, ever since the company was first established in 1875.Find out more >
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