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Is there any reason to believe that the "old" building wasn't just recently repointed? This seems like the most likely answer.

No amount of repointing could make the modern joints as even, or as narrow, as the old ones. Though to be fair I don't think the modern builders were even going for that look.

Modern builders rarely go for the tightly fitted brick look. It's possible to get brick and concrete pavers with precise dimensions and cement them tightly together, and this is common for brick and stone paving work. Walls could be made that way, but seldom are.

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