Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet releases a new evolution of the original Royal Oak Offshore from 1993 with three references in stainless steel, titanium or 18-carat pink gold. Although retaining the essence of the original timepiece, the three 42 mm models sport the Manufacture’s latest selfwinding flyback chronograph, the new interchangeable strap system and a slightly revised dial design. The sapphire caseback also makes its come back, granting exceptional view on the hand-finished integrated chronograph.
The three new Royal Oak Offshore models are powered by a new selfwinding integrated chronograph, Calibre 4404, equipped with column wheel and flyback function.
Unlike a regular chronograph, the flyback function allows the wearer to stop, reset and start the chronograph in one simple action. The column wheel works in collaboration with a vertical clutch system. When the chronograph is started or stopped, the hands respond accordingly without any hint of jumping. Furthermore, the push-pieces feel smooth when pressed. A patented zero resetting mechanism ensures that each one of the counter hands instantaneously resets to zero.
Remarkable view on Calibre 4404
This new evolution boasts a glareproofed sapphire caseback that reveals the inner workings of Calibre 4404, including its column wheel and the so-called “dance” of the chronograph hammers* when the chronograph function is activated.
The viewer can also admire the dedicated 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight and the movement’s refined hand-finishing including “Côtes de Genève,” satin-brushing and polished chamfers.
*When the reset push-piece is activated, the hammers, driven by an operating lever, hit the chronograph’s heart-piece cams to bring the chronograph wheels and hands back to zero.
Reinterpreted in stainless steel, pink gold or titanium
The new Royal Oak Offshore is offered in stainless steel, as well as in two new case options: one in titanium and one in 18-carat pink gold. While Audemars Piguet released a previous model entirely crafted in titanium in 2004 (ref. 25721TI), it is the first time that it presents an evolution of the 1993 timepiece with “Petite Tapisserie” in 18-carat pink gold. The case and bracelet of the three timepieces have all been hand-finished with the Manufacture’s trademark alternation of satin-brushing and polished chamfers.
The stainless steel and pink gold references are complemented with blue rubber push-pieces and crown, as well as a blue rubber gasket sealing the bezel onto the case. In contrast, the titanium timepiece sports a crown, a gasket and push-pieces all crafted in black rubber.
A unique design marrying past and present
Faithful to the original aesthetics, the three new Royal Oak Offshore models incorporate a “Petite Tapisserie” pattern. The stainless steel variant features the iconic blue dial of the Royal Oak Offshore from 1993, a colour referred to as “Night Blue, Cloud 50” in the Manufacture’s archives. The pink gold reference highlights the “Night Blue, Cloud 50” dial with pink gold-toned counters, echoing the precious case’s colour. Last but not least, the titanium version adorns a light grey dial accentuated with black counters and a black inner bezel.
Although the timepieces have kept the original Royal Oak Offshore’s vertical counter display, the hour and small seconds counters have been inverted: the hour counter is now positioned at 12 o’clock, while the small seconds counter appears at 6 o’clock. For its part, the minute counter has remained at 9 o’clock. In addition, all the counters are now equidistant from the centre of the dial for more visual appeal.
In a nod to the original watch, the gold applied AP initials and the transferred “Audemars Piguet” signature are located at 3 o’clock. The date window has also been topped off with a loupe glass integrated into the dial to magnify the date numeral, like in the 1993 timepiece.
Interchangeable bracelets and straps
These new models are complemented with the Manufacture’s new interchangeable strap system – presented for the first time on metal bracelets. The interchangeability has been directly integrated into the buckle and case’s studs, in perfect harmony with the case’s aesthetic codes.
The ease and efficiency will allow clients to change the bracelets and buckles of their new timepiece themselves with a quick click and release, while the double-push system grants optimum security when the watch is worn on the wrist.
The metal bracelet can be replaced with a rubber strap for a sportier look and lifestyle as the latest 42 mm versions come with a second interchangeable rubber strap – blue for the stainless steel and pink gold versions; black for the titanium piece. Fully waterproofed, the three models can travel underwater to a depth of 100 metres when worn on rubber strap.
The 2021 interchangeable strap assortment for the 42 mm Royal Oak Offshore also includes a light blue and a khaki textured rubber strap, as well as a black calfskin leather strap.
An ever-more contemporary, yet timeless watch
The Royal Oak Offshore designed by Emmanuel Gueit hit the world of fine watches in 1993. While it retained the Royal Oak’s aesthetic codes with its octagonal bezel and hexagonal screws, the Royal Oak Offshore defied established conventions with its dramatic case size of 42 mm, its massive visible black gasket under the bezel, its rubber-clad crown and push-pieces, as well as its bracelet’s curved links. Nicknamed “The Beast,” this sturdy and muscular take on the Royal Oak set the trend of large-sized watches. As time passed, the Royal Oak Offshore became a platform for innovation, seeing a raft of new materials, case sizes, complications and colours, while remaining faithful to the timeless design of the original model.
In 2013, the original Royal Oak Offshore presented its first major redesign to celebrate the watch’s 20th anniversary. This limited edition of 20 pieces (ref. 26218) was equipped with Calibre 3126/3840, first introduced in the Royal Oak Offshore collection in 2006 (reference 26170). The watch was also fitted with a sapphire caseback, leaving unencumbered view on the hand-finished selfwinding mechanical movement ticking within. This piece also witnessed the exceptional return of the “Petite Tapisserie” pattern which adorned the original Royal Oak and which had last been used in the Royal Oak Offshore collection in 2008.
The Royal Oak Offshore underwent yet another design evolution in 2018 for the collection’s 25th anniversary. As the previous anniversary timepiece, this model featured the original “Petite Tapisserie” pattern, marking its official return in the Royal Oak Offshore core collection. In another nod to the original timepiece, the 2018 edition boasted a solid caseback engraved with “Royal Oak Offshore.”* However, this special edition presented subtle differences in terms of dial aesthetics, notably the rebranded logo from 2012 as well as harmonised typesets across the dial.
The latest evolution released this year evolves this iconic timepiece once more with the Manufacture’s latest integrated chronograph technology, interchangeable strap system and slightly updated dial aesthetics, gearing the timeless Royal Oak Offshore for ever-increasing performance and efficiency.
*In 1993, the Manufacture engraved the caseback of the first 100 Royal Oak Offshore pieces with “Royal Oak” in case the collection ended there. All subsequent pieces were engraved “Royal Oak Offshore.”