Audemars Piguet [Re]Master01 Flyback Chronograph
A new era for Audemars Piguet?
The [Re] Master01 Flyback Chronograph looks more than just a re-issue of a vintage Audemars Piguet chronograph. With this timepiece, the manufacturer confirms it embarked on a journey towards building alternatives to the Royal Oak while bringing its heritage under the spotlight. The source of inspiration to the [Re] Master01 is, according to AP, a chronograph from 1943, a landmark among historical chronographs of the brand from Le Brassus.
Audemars Piguet has claimed this is "the first re-issue project," something that hints to other vintage-inspired timepieces along the way. Is Audemars Piguet striving to compete against players like Vacheron Constantin, for instance? We'll find out. As far as this project concerns, let's try to discover what is the [Re] Master01 offers. At first glance, it truly is a brilliant nostalgia operation. In essence, the case has grown to 40mm, but lay-out, lines, the combination of materials and flavor stay true to the original reference 1533 it draws inspiration officially from. A two-material case on a classic Chrono is a gamble, and the final customers will judge whether Audemars Piguet is right or not: the mid-case and case-back are in steel, while the bezel, crown, and push-piece buttons come in 18-karat gold. Two-tone watches were popular in the 1940s as were gold-plated steel wristwatches in the accessible luxury, back then.
The Audemars Piguet [Re] Master01 is a sweet, gently proportioned timepiece, hard to understand if we look at the brand's mainstream collections, yet genuinely Audemars Piguet while taking a look back in time, and forward, since the modern-classic CODE 11.59 came out. Audemars Piguet has almost faithfully reproduced the original, including the old logo, where the word "Genéve" stood until the brand had a workshop opened in the Swiss city. The dial is a beauty: the three registers touch the "Chemin de fir" chapter ring and are slightly recessed, perfectly sized, and spaced. Equally pleasing is the contrast between fonts adopted on registers and the big twelve on the dial.
Such a lovely design helps minimize the 15mm case-thickness, a letdown for a timepiece that aims at mimicking an original hand-wind chronograph. The Audemars Piguet [Re] Master01 houses an automatic movement which, "Clous de Paris" decorated winding mass (and the date display) excluded, is close to the one that equips the CODE 11.59. It is a refined caliber, nicely decorated in and out, featuring a column wheel with a vertical clutch and, interestingly, separate reset hammers for each register. The [Re] Master01 is not, as you might expect, a bargain. Retailing for more than € 50,000, it is a masterpiece of style and craftsmanship, somehow too contemporary from a technical standpoint, although it is flawless from virtually any angle.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Audemars Piguet)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®