Editor’s Note: Watches & Wonders (formerly SIHH) and Baselworld 2020 are canceled but that hasn’t stopped watch brands large and small from debuting their new wares. To stay on top of this year’s best new watch releases, visit our tag page.
Audemars Piguet made some of the most stunning chronographs of the 20th century, but unfortunately, only 307 were manufactured between the 1930s and the 1950s, and each was unique. (In fact, during WWII, chronograph production accounted for just a tenth of the company’s total production.) Meaning: you ain’t getting your hands on an original any time soon.
However, you can get your hands on a modern interpretation, which is where the [Re]master01 Selfwinding Chronograph comes in. An updated take on a chronograph from 1943 (which, though not originally produced in series, is dubbed the reference 1533), the new watch is a limited edition of 500 pieces in a beautiful two-tone, steel-and-pink-gold case with a stunning dial.
And of course, the dial is indeed the star of the show here: A satin-brushed champagne color, it further features black hour indices, pink gold hands and blue chronograph hands, and a blue-transferred tachymeter scale. A 12-hour counter is situated at 3 o’clock, while a 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock features a “4/5” indication above the 15-minute mark to demarcate the half-time of a soccer match — a whimsical touch originally requested by Jacques-Louis Audemars (1910 – 2003) himself. Done up in all its Art Deco-inspired glory, it’s a dial that could only have come from a company with AP’s expertise, history and taste.
Detractors may wish that the Chronograph were housed in a slightly smaller case (myself included), though one can hardly blame the maison for updating a 36mm watch from 1943 with a 40mm size for the modern wearer. Housed within (and behind a sapphire crystal for your viewing pleasure) is AP’s newest automatic chronograph movement cal. 4409, a column wheel-activated calibre featuring flyback functionality (rather than needing to start, stop and rest the chronograph hand, a single push will send the hand back to its starting position and start it again). Topped off with a 22k pink gold rotor with satin brushing and gorgeous “Clous de Paris” decoration, it’s a handsome movement, and one you’ll be glad you can view through the back of the watch.
Accompanying the watch is a light brown, hand-stitched calfskin strap as well as an additional dark brown alligator strap. Given the incredible movement and case design (let alone the stunning dial) and the name on the dial, the $53,100 price tag probably won’t stun too many folks out there. Is this a timepiece for the casual enthusiast? Probably not. But if you’re a serious collector or an AP devotee, than the [Re]master01 Selfwinding Chronograph is worth investigating.
(If you’re not a guy with a cool $50k to spend on your next watch purchase — as I myself am indeed not — than I would highly recommend investing in a copy of the book “Aduemars Piguet 20th Century Complicated Wristwatches.” It ain’t cheap at around $153, but at .29% the price of the above watch, it provides a good fix of what you’re missing out on, albeit in print form.)