What to expect after the [RE]Master01? Well, the [RE]Master02, of course. But what would that second reinterpreted timepiece look like? Nothing like anyone expected. Instead of riding the wave of comfortable retro, Audemars Piguet chose to go asymmetrical. The [RE]Master02 Selfwinding is the result of a deep dive into a niche of the brand’s archives. In the search for something special to revive and under the guidance of Sébastian Vivas, director of the Audemars Piguet Museum in Le Brassus, something rare was found. It came to light that between 1959 and 1963, AP created more than 30 asymmetrical models and produced most of them in very limited quantities of less than 10 pieces. The Audemars Piguet [RE]Master02 Selfwinding brings back the age of experimental shapes with the revival of a watch of which only seven examples were ever made — the Model 5159BA from 1960.

Reviving a watch that was only made seven times… Well, we certainly can’t call the launch of the Audemars Piguet [RE]Master02 Selfwinding the revival of a historical bestseller. Instead, AP opted to do some kind of soul-searching. The result is a watch that connects not only with the past but also with the brand’s physical appearance. The Model 5159BA from 1960 shows influences of Brutalist architecture. The [RE]Master02 Selfwinding is an evolution of the Model 5159BA and also shows links to the architecture of Audemars Piguet’s Museum and the brand-owned Hôtel des Horlogers. Both buildings are Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) designs and have a lot in common with Brutalism; the use of raw concrete is the most obvious. But how do you translate concrete into a watch?

[RE]Master02 Selfwinding

Audemars Piguet [RE]Master02 Selfwinding — An architectural execution in precious “concrete”

Before answering the question, let’s first explain the term “Brutalism.”According to the British architectural critic and writer Reyne Banham, it was Swedish architect Hans Asplund who introduced the term “Brutalism” into architecture in 1956. It was a sarcastic remark about a project that was being built. The word originates from architect Le Corbusier’s use of beton brut, meaning “raw concrete” in French.

You could say “Brutalism” is a lost-in-translation term, but it’s also a deliberate one to express disapproval. It’s a bit sad when you know that Le Corbusier began to work with concrete out of love for the material. The first building he designed after World War II was La Unité d’Habitation, an apartment complex for 1,600 people of the working class made with reinforced concrete and located in Marseille, France. It was built with the best of intentions and a positive perception of the future, so other architects followed Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier’s La Unité d’Habitation in Marseille — Image: Cemal Emden

Angular, concrete buildings were a great success at first, but Brutalism began to fall out of fashion in the 1970s. According to Ashley Gardini of JSTOR Daily, “The outsize concrete structures no longer appeared as uplifting icons of post-war development. Instead, they were seen as overpowering, cold buildings that were more often than not associated with the ills of society.” Will the architectural [RE]Master02 Selfwinding also cause a stir? Will it be loved or controversial?

Audemars Piguet [RE]Master02 Selfwinding

The architectural [RE]Master02 Selfwinding

Back to the [RE]Master02 Selfwinding and the links to the concrete inside the two AP buildings by Bjarke Ingels. The asymmetrical watch is nothing like the conventionally round [RE]Master01 from 2020, which reinterpreted a chronograph from 1943. The new limited edition of 250 pieces features an asymmetrical 41 × 9.7mm octagonal case. The watch is much larger than the Model 5159BA that’s on display at the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet. The watch from 1960 has a very similar shape, but its case is 18K yellow gold and measures just 27.5mm across.

The 2024 reinterpretation is not only larger but also in a different alloy, 18K sand gold. This new precious metal, first seen in the Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked, has hues that shift between white and pink gold. The relatively large, angular case shows a horizontally brushed finish. While it doesn’t mimic the concrete surfaces you find in both the museum and the hotel, it does realize a visual connection.

[RE]Master02 Selfwinding

A linear finished “Bleu Nuit Nuage 50” dial

The dial of the Model 5159BA model is done in silvery white. The remastered watch uses a famous AP color, “Bleu Nuit Nuage 50.” But this time, there’s no Petite Tapisserie motif as you would see in a Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin. Rather, we find a linear satin finish on the dial that’s divided into 12 different triangles. Not only does the dial match the finishing of the case, but it also creates unique effects of light under the angular sapphire crystal.

Audemars Piguet [RE]Master02 Selfwinding

The creation of the shaped sapphire glass was a long and tough process (for a third-party supplier), but the efforts paid off. Because the new watch is so much bigger than the inspirational model, the result is a much more spacious object that, with the angled glass, offers a better view of the dial. The sloped glass also lets light hit the dial at different angles, resulting in a constant shifting from deep blue to black and back again.

Audemars Piguet

The heart of a “Jumbo”

The [RE]Master02 Selfwinding has the heart of a “Jumbo.” Yes, that’s the “Jumbo” because, inside the angular new timepiece, AP’s hour-and-minute-only caliber A7129 ticks away. Why isn’t it a shaped movement like AP once made for the models in the discontinued Edward Piguet collection? That’s because using an old movement with outdated performance was not an option. According to the brand, updating one was not possible, and creating a brand-new shaped movement would have been too expensive. It would have resulted in the [RE]Master02 Selfwinding costing over €100,000. By using the existing movement from the “Jumbo” the price of the [RE]Master02 Selfwinding is “only” around €47,400. That is still a significant amount of money, but not excessive when you look at AP’s catalog, in which the 41mm pink gold Royal Oak (ref. 15510OR.OO.D315CR.02) is priced at €43,700.

Audemars Piguet

Final thoughts on the [RE]Master02 Selfwinding

Kudos to AP for doing something unexpected. With the [RE]Master02 Selfwinding, the brand shows it dares to do more than make countless variations on the “RO” theme. And when it does, it does so in spectacular style. How does it wear on the wrist, you ask? Well, it feels present. It’s not a small watch. Staying true to the original size of the inspirational watch would have resulted in a tiny timepiece by modern standards.

Would 38mm have been a better size, especially since the watch is asymmetrical, very geometrical, and architectural as well? Well, quite possibly, caliber 7129 with its 29.6mm diameter would not have fit. After asking, I learned that an in-house movement was preferred for a special creation like the [RE]Master02 Selfwinding over a movement with a Vaucher lineage, such as the caliber 4302 that beats inside the 37mm Royal Oak Frosted Gold Selfwinding ref. 15550BA.GG.1356BA.01.

Audemars Piguet [RE]Master02 Selfwinding

The statement piece

More than anything else, the [RE]Master02 Selfwinding is a statement piece you won’t wear every day. This is a watch for a particular audience — not so much the hardcore RO- or ROO-wearing audience — that dares to wear something different and is willing to pay for that. It also looks like a watch every self-respecting architect should own, even the ones who distance themselves from Brutalism. I was very much impressed by the shape, the finishing, the angled sapphire crystal, the way the light hit the dial, and the prominent place it took on my wrist.

What is interesting in these times of great global turmoil that leaves people desiring comfort and reassurance is that AP decided to release a watch that is not for everyone. And I don’t mean the fact that it’s limited to 250 pieces and that the price is exclusive. The [RE]Master02 Selfwinding is a watch that will polarize its onlookers. Very much unlike the [RE]Master01, a round and soft traditionalist, the [RE]Master02 Selfwinding is a bold and strong objet d’art that doesn’t want to please. Therefore, there is hardly a middle ground when it comes to judging the watch. This watch is a love/hate affair. And I choose love. I would wear it to the Met Gala, a wedding, another wedding, a fancy party, and to the office sometimes to provoke a nice conversation.

What do you think? I think the Audemars Piguet [RE]Master02 Selfwinding gives us plenty to discuss.

Watch specifications

[RE]Master02 Selfwinding
12-section “Bleu Nuit Nuage 50” dial with linear satin finishing and sand gold hands
Case Material
18K sand gold with a horizontally brushed finish
Case Dimensions
41mm (diameter) × 9.7mm (thickness)
Glare-proofed sapphire crystal
Case Back
18K sand gold with glare-proofed sapphire crystal
Audemars Piguet 7129: automatic winding, 28,800vph frequency, 52-hour power reserve, 31 jewels
Water Resistance
3 ATM (30 meters)
Alligator leather strap in contrasting shades of blue with matte finishing and 18K sand gold pin buckle
Time only (hours and minutes)
Special Note(s)
Limited edition of 250 pieces