Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph

The Royal Oak Offshore 25th anniversary (part 2)

Audemars Piguet's celebrations to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of its blockbuster men's sports watch have seen the brand take two very different directions to mark the occasion, with on one hand a fond retrospective look at the first edition Royal Oak Offshore, to reflect on its hesitant beginnings which I looked at here, and on the other, a bold and futuristic design which will be made available in two 50-piece limited editions of steel or rose gold.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph designed to commemorate the anniversary is an extraordinary ultra high end piece with spectacular three dimensional views of a complex technical construction and daring sculpted features, presented in an imposing 45mm case.

Pushing the Offshore to new and extreme aesthetic parameters, the 2018 Tourbillon Chronograph reinterprets many of the signature cues which have made it one of the most distinctive watches of our time, demonstrating the versatility of the iconic design, and while very, very different to the original of 1993, with its octagonal bezel, exposed screw heads and chiselled, angular profile, its family lineage is unmistakable.

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The Royal Oak Offshore has certainly seen a number of exotic and colourful variations in its time, yet in the main part the essentials have endured, but for the anniversary models, one of the most striking and noticeably different features is the bezel, which for the first time has been extensively modified in its appearance and how it is integrated into the case. Instead of the usual thick octagonal band on which sits on top, surrounding the dial far below, only the outer profile remains, and the eight hexagonal screw heads which are always embedded into the bezel are now under the cover of the large flat plate of sapphire crystal, and housed within triangular lobes which provide mounting points for the dial and movement, appearing to be suspended inside the case, and with a see through channel around its edge.

The dial is pared back to a thin chapter ring punctuated with luminous accents, revealing the ultra modern architecture of the bridges within and the effect, to my eye, resembles the spokes of a sports car's wheel rim, and each one aligns with a screw around the perimeter. Below, the two barrels which deliver seven days of energy, once the manual movement is fully wound, occupy much of the display, but it's the graceful rotation of the tourbillon at the 9 which animates the dial. The 30-minute chronograph counter at the 3 has a circular snailed finish, and it is activated via the elongated pushers inside their prominent protective fenders each side of the black ceramic crown.

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The Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph 25th anniversary editions are of course immaculately executed to the exacting Haute Horlogerie standards of Audemars Piguet throughout, from the finishing of the case, with brushed and polished surfaces, to the detailing of the dial features, and of course on into the 353 components of the manufacture Calibre 2947, which can be further appreciated through the sapphire caseback.

Both models are fitted on black rubber straps with pin buckles, and as mentioned will be available in fifty examples in each version. 

Fact file:

    • 26421ST.OO.A002CA.01 - Steel
    • 26421OR.OO.A002CA.01 - Gold
  • CASE SIZE: ø 45 mm
  • THICKNESS: 16.1 mm
  • DIAL: Open
  • MOVEMENT: Hand-winding mechanical. Power reserve: 173 h, 21'600 vph
  • FUNCTIONS: Hours, Minutes, Chronograph
  • BUCKLE: Pin buckle
    • Steel - CHF 285'000
    • Gold - CHF 325'000