INTRODUCING: The 2021 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore reinvigorates the original designZach Blass
In 1989, designer Emmanuel Gueit, who, at the time, worked for Audemars Piguet, presented a conceptual sketch that introduced a more robust take on the classic Genta designed Royal Oak. Its design, later realised for commercial release in 1993, came at a time where bigger and bulkier watches really spoke to a younger generation and their sense of horologically derived masculinity. Nicknamed “The Beast”, AP’s watchmakers initially hedged their bets – remembering the slow-burn of the original watch in 1972. To make matters worse, Gerald Genta himself did not give his seal of approval to the design. So they created a batch of 100 pieces, engraved with Royal Oak on the caseback as a precautionary measure in case the collection ended there. But the Offshore proved to be a success, its aesthetic hitting home with the more active lifestyle buyer. It would continue to find success over the years, with limited editions created in partnership with icons such as Arnold Schwarzenneger, Shaquille O’Neal, Lebron James, and more. Today AP unveils the next evolution of the Offshore: a 2021 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm that largely shares the design framework of the original, but with slightly revised “Petite Tapisserie” dials, the latest generation in-house calibre 4404, and a recently introduced interchangeable strap system.
There are three configurations, 42mm in diameter and 15.2mm thick, to choose from: stainless steel, titanium, and 18K pink gold for the first time in this 1993 design-inspired format. Each of them are 100 metres water resistant, with a signature gasket under the bezel, gasketed rubber push pieces for the chronograph, and a screw-down crown for the utmost security against moisture. Both the stainless-steel and pink-gold models have blue push pieces and bezel gaskets, but the titanium variant distinguishes itself from the other two with a black gasket sealing the bezel to the case and black chronograph push pieces. As expected, highly executed mixed finishes reveal themselves on the case with rich vertical brushing and mirror-polished chamfers and accents.
All three dials leverage the beloved “Petite Tapisserie” pattern, with the chronograph registers situated at 12’, 9’, and 6’. At 12’ and 9’ you’ll find the elapsed hours and minutes registers respectively, with the register at 6’ pleasantly utilized as a small running seconds indicator. This is one component of this new dial’s slight variation from the original 1993 dials, as the hours and small seconds registers have been inverted. At 3’ a date complication peers through a loupe glass magnified circular aperture that ever so briefly interrupts the “Petite Tapisserie” pattern.
The stainless steel and pink gold dials are both rendered in the iconic blue shade of the 1993 original, with a colour known as “Night Blue, Cloud 50” within the brand’s archives. While the blue dial on the stainless steel model has blue chronograph counters that blend into the backdrop, the dial on the pink gold watch has contrasting pink gold counters that really pop against the blue. The titanium Offshore, however, has a grey dial with a “Petite Tapisserie” pattern and black counters that match the bezel gasket and push pieces of the chronograph. In order to better match the case and bracelet, the steel and titanium watches have white gold hands and indices, while the debuting pink gold watch has these components fabricated in case matching pink gold. Being a sports watch, the central hours and minutes hands, as well as the hour indices, are filled with SuperLuminova® to ensure visibility in darkness.
While the hand-finished bracelet is absolutely stunning, buyers are treated to a complimentary rubber strap – blue for the steel and gold variants and black for the titanium. Both the bracelet and strap feature the interchangeable strap system that allows you to quickly change the paired strap with absolute ease.
Inside the watch, beneath the sapphire glass of the exhibition caseback, is the in-house flyback vertical clutch column wheel automatic chronograph calibre 4404. The column wheel ensures butter-smooth start, stop, and reset pusher actuation and the vertical clutch architecture theoretically allows you to continuously run the chronograph with minimal added wear and tear to the movement. It has a guaranteed minimum power reserve of 70 hours, and is exquisitely hand-finished with Côtes de Genève, satin-brushing and polished chamfers. For added luxury and rotor efficiency, a 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight is utilized in each of the three watches.
2021 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 42mm pricing and availability:
To purchase the 2021 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 42mm, please inquire with your local Audemars Piguet Boutique or Authorized Dealer.
Pricing: $37,500 USD in stainless steel and titanium, $76,000 USD in pink gold