Audemars Piquet’s sporty Royal Oak Offshore today draws a dedicated following who love the watch for its variety, heft and oversized appeal.
This year, the brand dropped new versions of the Offshore in not just one size, but two – 42mm and 43mm – that come in a wide range of colourways and materials to appeal to different collectors. Both models introduce the Manufacture’s latest integrated flyback chronograph movements and come with new interchangeable strap systems to enable the wearer to change out their straps whenever they wanted to.
Talking about the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore often invites comparison with the 1972 original Royal Oak – the 1993 offspring was designed by Emmanuel Gueit as a tribute to the iconic steel watch for its 20th anniversary, a flashier and sportier reinterpretation that the brand hoped would appeal to a younger audience. It didn’t exactly pan out that way. At the time, the Royal Oak Offshore was largely panned – drawing, in particular, the irk of original Royal Oak designer Gérald Genta.
But fast forward to today, the Royal Oak Offshore’s popularity is on a whole other level, amassing legions of fans who clamour for its diverse options: in different case materials and colourways and varying sizes that run up to a colossal 48mm. It took some time but the brand did achieve its brief. The Royal Oak Offshore not only drew in new customers with its sportier and younger appeal, it also marked the beginning of a new trend for oversized watches – informing the aesthetics of robust sports watches for the modern-day consumer today.
The 42mm Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph
The new arrivals in the 42mm case size come with a Mega Tapisserie pattern on the dial and are available in two colourways. The khaki-green version is cased in ultra-resistant titanium while the light-blue version is cased in steel. Both versions come with black rubber push-pieces and matching textured rubber straps that feature AP’s new interchangeable strap systems, which we first saw in the launch of the Offshore Diver watches earlier this year.
The watch is powered by the new self-winding integrated chronograph movement, Calibre 4404, which is equipped with column wheel and flyback functions, showcasing the chronograph in a vertical sub-dial layout. The flyback chronograph function allows the wearer to stop, reset and start the chronograph simply in one action. And with the column wheel working seamlessly with the vertical clutch system, the hands of the chronograph respond immediately without jumping.
The back of the watch features a sapphire caseback to reveal the mechanism of the watch. Calibre 4404’s column wheel and chronograph hammers are clearly visible, as well as the 22K pink gold oscillating weight with embossed AP initials. The icing on the top? All the beautiful hand-finishing on the watch, including Côtes de Genève stripes, satin-brushing and polished chamfers.
The watch is water-resistant to 100m. Beating at 4 Hz, the Calibre 4404 comes with 70 hours of power reserve.
A Facelift: The New 43mm Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph
Bolder in style, the new release of the Royal Oak Offshore line in 43mm brings a wholly new sizing option for men with smaller wrists. The 43mm model comes in five variations honed from titanium, 18K pink gold or stainless steel and represents the first redesign of the Royal Oak Offshore line since the evolution of the 44mm collection in the early 2000s. Ergonomically, the new case size fits better and is extremely comparable to the 42mm version. The watch also features an interchangeable strap system, allowing clients to change the bracelet and buckles of their Offshore timepieces easily.
The watch is powered by the latest integrated flyback chronograph, Calibre 4401, which matches the Calibre 4404 in the 42mm model in terms of function (same complication, size, power reserve and all) but comes with a horizontal sub-dial layout instead. Other differences include applied hour-markers with luminescent coating, a date window at 4:30, and new push-pieces in black ceramic instead of a rubber coating.
Compared to the 42mm models, the colour palette of the 43mm is more muted. Whereas we saw more vivid blues and greens in the 42mm models, the 43mm chronographs come in darker and more neutral tones of black, smoked brown, blue and grey.
It’s an exciting year for the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronographs for sure, with several beautiful styles to choose from in two different sizes just a hair’s width apart.
With so many options to choose from, what better way to make up your mind than to book an appointment for private viewing? To learn more about Audemars Piguet, book an appointment at their Liat Towers boutique via this link.
This story first appeared on Prestige Hong Kong.