We have a reminder today of why we will still be in love with watches and the watch business long after the Coronavirus crisis has passed in the form of a stunning revival of a 1943 chronograph from Audemars Piguet called the [Re]master01.
The automatic chronograph borrows the design aesthetic from a wartime era (and decades either side) when AP was virtually unknown for chronographs.
Examples from the 1940s fetch huge prices at auction today.
[Re]master01 is a modern interpretation of a rare 1943 watch, made it in a limited edition run of just 500 pieces, and bristling with today’s technology, engineering and materials.
It has a perfectly round stainless steel hand-polished case with steel lugs. Its golden dial is framed by an 18ct pink gold bezel and its crown and pushers are the same precious material.
The satin-brushed dial has black hour-markers contrasting with pink gold hour, minute and seconds hands and a blue chronograph hand tachymetric scale.
It is worn on a light brown hand-stitched calfskin strap.
Inside beats an AP manufacture self-winding chronograph Caliber 4409, exposed through a large exhibition caseback.
According to AP, only three stainless steel and gold chronograph wristwatches with the [Re]master01’s case design were sold in 1943. They were somewhat oversized at that the time, with a 36 mm case. Today’s model is a more contemporary 40mm.
Audemars Piguet’s choice of name, [Re]master01, is certain to have watch aficionados’ imaginations racing for what other historic references may be brought back with 21st century interpretations.
Michael Friedman, AP’s head of complications, does little to suppress the speculations. “People are very cognizant of the design shake-up that took place in the 1970s and in the early 2000s. However, creative expressions of case form and dial design have occurred during every decade of our history. For [Re]master01, we chose to explore the strength and elegance of one of our chronograph wristwatches from 1943 through the prism of 2020. This is not a historic reissue – it is a contemporary remastering of one of our past creations,” he says.
It goes on sale at AP boutiques for $53,100.