Since it’s arrival at Baselworld in 1993, the Offshore often known as the bigger and bolder reiteration of the iconic Royal Oak has clearly created a niche for itself amongst watch aficionados globally. Launching a 42mm watch back in the 90’s certainly attracted some outrage and fair bit of ridicule back then. Infact, rumor has it that Genta himself was extremely disappointed with Audemars Piguet for “ruining” the original design. But, alls well that ends well right? Today the Royal Oak Offshore is one of the most sought out and commercially successful collections at Audemars Piguet.
Reiterating that very thought, Audemars Piguet has just dropped two new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronographs! Available in ultra-resistant titanium or stainless steel case complemented with a “Méga Tapisserie” dial in light blue or khaki hue, these new 42mm beasts are complimented with matching interchangeable textured rubber strap.
The two new Royal Oak Offshore models are powered by a new selfwinding integrated chronograph, Calibre 4404, equipped with column wheel and flyback function, which means that you can 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. The patented zero resetting mechanism ensures that each one of the counter hands instantaneously resets to zero.
Turn it around and the sapphire caseback reveals the column wheel and the so-called “dance” of the chronograph hammers when the chronograph is activated. So 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.The movement also boasts a dedicated 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight featuring the embossed AP initials, as well as refined hand-finishing, including “Côtes de Genève,” satin-brushing and polished chamfers.
Aesthetically too these new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronographs are quite pleasing to the eye. Meticulously hand-finished with the alternation of satin-brushing and polished chamfers, both these pastel watches sport a black rubber crown and push-pieces.
The steel version with a light blue dial featuring the “Méga Tapisserie” pattern is enhanced with contrasting black counters and a black inner bezel. Adding a pop of colour here are the orange Arabic numerals and the chronograph’s central seconds hand . In contrast, the titanium model combines a khaki “Méga Tapisserie” dial and a matching inner bezel, enriched with silver-toned counters with printed black hour-markers, Arabic numerals and chronograph hands.
Although the two timepieces have kept the original Royal Oak Offshore’s vertical counter display, there are a few noticeable changes on the face of the dial. The hour counter is now positioned at 12 o’clock, while the small seconds counter appears at 6 o’clock. In contrast, the minute counter has remained at 9 o’clock. Moreover, all the counters are now equidistant from the centre of the dial for more visual appeal, while the date window has been topped off with a loupe glass directly integrated into the dial. The AP initials too now appears at 3 o’clock without the long-form signature for a more sportive look. The white gold hour-markers, Arabic numerals and Royal Oak hands, all endowed with luminescent coating, complete the design of the two timepieces in an echo to the case colour.
Both these new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronographs are fitted with interchangeable straps that have been directly integrated into the buckle and case’s studs, in perfect harmony with the case’s aesthetic codes. With a quick click and release you can now change the straps and buckles in the comfort of your own home. Easy and efficient!
Available with light blue or khaki shade textured rubber straps echoing the respective dial colour, both the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronographs come with a second black interchangeable calfskin leather strap. The 2021 interchangeable strap assortment for the 42 mm Royal Oak Offshore collection also includes a dark blue and a black rubber strap.
With its size and general demeanour the Royal Oak Offshore is often categorised as a relatively large and masculine watch and rightly so. However with these new colourful summery versions I’d say they could be talking to a whole new audience!
The two references, geared for adventures, will be exclusively available in Audemars Piguet boutiques around the world.