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Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph Watch

Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

In an unsurprising turn of events, Audemars Piguet has re-focused its attention to its past designs. With so many beautiful, albeit today little-known references in its history, that’s awesome news. The Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph is the first watch to launch the [Re]master line by reiterating the handsome design of a 1943 original in a slightly confused, albeit still very good-looking package.

Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

The original we are referring to here is the Audemars Piguet Reference 1533, a three-register, two-tone (in some versions), 36.5mm-wide, hand-wound chronograph produced in extremely low quantities in the early 1940s. The Remaster01, or [Re]master01, takes the core components of that exceptionally pretty aesthetic, namely the tear-drop lugs, two-tone case construction using steel and 18kt pink gold, and the three-register dial layout — a truly exotic detail for the time.

Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

There have been some considerable changes performed as the 1533 gets a new lease on life in a new millennium. First of all, replaced is the modest size, now inflated from 36.5mm to 40mm. The former size of 36.5mm would be perfectly acceptable today — just think of a Day-Date 36 or some smaller Breguet watches for some hard proof on that. Audemars Piguet’s choice of name with “[Re]master” works great in that it implies how the brand does not intend to create exact reproductions of its historical originals. Given limitations in original movement and other parts availability, maintaining the original details would be a tall order — though far from impossible, and we’ll say more on that a bit later.

Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

Also gone is the glorious, hand-wound Valjoux 13VZAH caliber, in favor of the brand’s recently launched, beautifully finished automatic chronograph caliber 4409 from Code 11.59 (where it was called 4401). The two changes may very well be intertwined: The 4401 caliber measures 32mm in diameter, over 2mm more than the Valjoux original. The caseback image already reveals how Audemars Piguet has done all it can to shrink-wrap the case around the movement as much as possible, so a smaller case closer to the 1940s original might not have been possible.

Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that the dial layout has also been changed. It just so happens that the modern movement has a completely different sub-dial layout, where all three of the subsidiary indications are in another location than on the Valjoux 13. Audemars Piguet had long been given a hard time over not producing its own manufacture chronograph caliber — relying on a base in-house AP movement with sourced modules on top, instead, all the while (let’s be honest) pricing itself comfortably among competition with proprietary movements. Over all the noise around Code 11.59, this new caliber may have been disregarded by many, which is a shame. It is a high quality movement that almost reaches to the heights that Audemars Piguet sometimes reaches in its communications. In its Caliber 4401 version, it comprised 367 painstakingly finished parts — all of which you can see in The Naked Watchmaker’s outstanding tear-down article here.

Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

At the start, we referred to the Remaster01 as a good-looking, albeit slightly confused package. Here’s why. The Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph is priced at a whopping $53,000 before taxes, and is limited to 500 pieces. The steep price for what is a two-tone watch with a reasonably simple dial and capable movement with a widely available feature-set implies that this may be aimed at the hardcore collectors, those desperate to own a watch that they reckon is a pivotal point in the history of a brand they love. I symphatize with Audemars Piguet trying to find a limitation where everyone who really wants one, gets one; however, limiting the Remaster01 to 500 pieces makes it hard to consider it extremely rare and highly collectible — something one might expect at this elevated price. Because even if 50 large ones is meaningless for you, perception likely isn’t. And buying something that your peers might consider less than great value will hurt perception — and for many well-heeled collectors, money isn’t the issue, but the perception of their carefully curated collection is.

Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

And it’s not like the Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph is entering into a void, either. Au contraire — the market has some truly strong offerings available right now, all to quench one’s thirst for some vintage-mixed modern horology. Sure, no two brands will have the same resources, financial background, and other specificities — but Audemars Piguet has, at times, really taken things to the next level in stressing its prowess and superiority. Armed with that, and a mighty impressive, billion-dollar turnover, it’s not exactly short of means either. Last, but not least, the resources at a brand’s disposal hardly rank among top considerations to the watch buyer out there looking to get the best value for hard-earned money.

Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

You can pick up the new Omega Speedmaster Ed White for $14,100, with a historically correct Caliber 321 re-introduced at tremendous expense and effort… That’s 40 grand less. If you are after posher names, you can pick up a Breguet reference 5287 with a solid gold case, hand-guilloché dial and caseback, and to-a-tee hand-wound caliber in the mid-30k range. Even Vacheron Constantin, a brand not exactly famed for its competitively priced alternatives, is some $13,000 cheaper with its Historiques Cornes de Vaches 1955 — though, in fairness, that’s in all-steel.

Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

Audemars Piguet has a past rich with absolutely outstanding watches and, on a personal note, I seriously cannot wait for more of them to resurface again in this “[Re]master” form. But from a powerhouse like AP, I feel many collectors will expect more than good looks, a hardly exclusive limitation and a steep, steep price for it to be truly considered as re-mastered.

Price for the Audemars Piguet Remaster01 Self-Winding Chronograph is $53,000, before taxes, and it’s going to be a boutique exclusive. You can learn more about the [Re]Master01 later when it eventually goes live on audemarspiguet.com.

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  • Visually, the elements that are the most important (the time and elapsed minutes on the chrono) are the hardest to read. I imagine that this watch is legible only inside the well-lit AP boutique. One you take it outside you can’t read the time anymore.

  • SuperStrapper

    So far this is the best 4401 based watch available. C’mon AP, do something exciting with it.

  • Simonh

    It would be the Omega for me!

  • AP used to make some of the most lovely dress watches in their past. Sadly, this isn’t one of them.

  • Pete L

    Not sure how legible the hour/minute hands will be in the cold light of day and the price is eye watering (also for the VC mentioned too to be fair as it is steel only) but there is something about this i really like. Nice to see something that is not RO based (I like the RO by the way) and hopefully will be the start of some more variation like the hideously named but actually really cool 11:59 collection.

  • Independent_George

    Gorgeous watch, but needs live pics and wrist shots.

    Just about every brand has jumped on the integrated steel sports watch bandwagon. It makes sense that AP would jump on the re-issue bandwagon. Turnabout is fair play, right?

    I don’t think AP is going for rarity. The RO didn’t become desirable because it was rare. It became desirable because enough people, “the right people,” bought them and wore them. Exclusive, but not rare. Then Instagram made the RO ubiquitous, and yet even more exclusive, being seen on the wrists of the rich and famous in locales like Mykonos and St. Bart’s. I would like to believe that AP knows what they are doing, and they are making just enough (500) so that they get this watch on “the right people’s” wrists and on to Instagram.

    Considering AP’s popularity among athletes and rappers, and considering that these are the folks driving the current demand for AP watches, making this watch as a 36mm handwound would be silly. Besides, AP can always release a small batch LE with tiny dimensions for the skinny-wristed nerds over on The Dink to fantasize over.

    The pink gold VC Historiques Cornes de Vaches is offered at $52K. I would imagine that if VC offered a similar two-toned version, it would fall between the steel and pink gold price, but closer to the pink gold, say in the $45-48K range. That wouldn’t make the AP seem so “overpriced” in comparison, as David implies.

    I like that this watch is reviewed a day after an MB&F is reviewed. This review illustrates why I think being an MB&F collector would be so fun, and why I would probably find being an AP/Patek/VC collector to be a drag.

    With MB&F you don’t have to carry along an obese “history.” You don’t have to memorize obscure references numbers, you don’t need know who the CEO was in order to appreciate the context of when a specific watch was made. You don’t need to analyze sub-context and sub-sub context.

    You don’t need to exhibit your encyclopedic “knowledge” by getting into primary-school online shouty-fights with other watch dweebs. You don’t need to correct non-watch people, roughly 99.999% of the human race, when they say your beloved rare Patek reference looks just like a watch they saw at Macy’s.

    You don’t need to care about re-sale value, and you don’t have to get into wiener-measuring contests regarding comparative value. You probably are never going to write the following sentence (on The Dink): “I recently bought a 5170G just this Christmas (2019) in Singapore whilst on holiday there . . .” Hopefully, when discussing your MB&F watch, you never, never, never say or write “whilst”, unless in mocking tones.

    It all seems so boring. No wonder folks like Dr. Fauci and billionaires like Bill Gates and Phillip Anschutz wear Timex and Casios.

  • I think it’s gorgeous.

  • Richard Baptist

    I feel I should be more excited about this watch, but I’m not. I’d rather get the ed white speedmaster and bank the difference. I’m trying to figure out why this doesn’t click with me as I love vintage watches, maybe I’m tired of watch companies going into the back catalog and resurrecting their vintage models. I’ll pass.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Very pretty watch. Pricey but what do you expect from a proper LE AP.

    How much is a Code with the same movement?

    I would however get the VC, or if in the same price range the Master rather than the (re)master.

    The VC is about the prettiest modern chronograph available.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    What a gorgeous colour.

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