Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph.
A symbol of opulence, extravagance and success, the Audemars Piguet namesake is an institution in itself within the hallows of haute horlogerie. And no other collection better exemplifies the Audemars Piguet ethos than the Royal Oak. Its infamous octagonal shape has become the mark of true high-end watchmaking. Respected, revered and celebrated, the Royal Oak is perfection. So, what does that make the Offshore? I liken it to be the more confident, more outlandish and more adventurous brother of the Royal Oak. This is a brutal, unforgiving and confident timepiece whose sheer stature speaks for itself. Throw a chronograph and a tourbillon into the mix, wrap the thing up in 18k yellow gold, and what do you get? Well, you get this: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph.
This is not for the faint of heart. This is a serious watch that costs some serious money. We’re talking about serious car money. A nice holiday house money. A very lavish boat money. The 18k yellow gold case sits at 44mm in width and 14.43mm in height. Thick and wide. Like I said, it’s a brute, whichever way you look at it. It’s good for about 100m worth of water resistance, but with respect to its 18k yellow gold case and bezel, I’d say the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph is best kept dry. The black ceramic pushers and crown sit far from the case, which is typical of the Offshore aesthetic.
The skeletonised dial is picture perfect. I’ve come to expect nothing less from Audemars Piguet in terms of openworked dials and whatnot. They’re the kings of this game, no question about it. Through the sapphire crystal you’re met with an abundance of brushing, beveling, polishing and crisp edging. The chronograph counters are legible. The chronograph seconds-hand is distinguishable. The tourbillon bridge matches the case, and the tourbillon carriage is finished exceptionally well. The colour scheme of reds, yellows, greys, whites and blacks are a nod to a more youth-oriented approach, and I can see a large portion of these pieces being allocated to the Middle East and Asian markets.
The aesthetic of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph is extremely beautiful, whichever way you look at it. It flows wonderfully well, and its appeal can be attributed to the flawless finishing of the openworked dial just as much as the perfectly brushed care. The colours contrast and mesh well, and the flow is actually really quite seamless. The shift between warm colours, neutral colours and cool colours allows the piece to be worn in a fairly casual setting, as well as having the ability to be dressed up to a certain extent. The main colour combination of gold and black just works so well for the piece, and I’d find it difficult to opt for a different colour arrangement that would give the piece the same amount of pop. It’s a very difficult piece to fault, and with that being said I can’t find a single reason why you’d want to. It works to a degree that I absolutely did not expect it to.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph is powered by the Calibre 2943, an in-house manufactured manually wound movement that’s made up of 296 parts, has 28 jewels, beats at 3Hz and has a power reserve of about 3 days. Front and back, the Calibre 2943 is a work of art. In a way, it sort of sits in the very ostentatious, very loud 18k yellow gold case rather discretely, ticking away doing its thing. It makes me laugh in a way, thinking that in this very aesthetically focused piece sits a mechanism that is more complicated than you can ever imagine, made entirely by hand, assembled by an expert artisan, and able to live far longer than you or I could ever dream of.
As far as I’m concerned, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph is an exceptionally well made, well executed and well thought out timepiece. Will it appeal to the Royal Oak traditionalists? Absolutely not. Will it make the watch collectors of yesteryear liquidate some of their Pateks to acquire it? Hell no. Does it send shivers down my spine? Absolutely! Keep your eyes peeled for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph. It will adorn the Instagram pages of the elite very shortly. From your NBA superstar, to a Middle East oil tycoon. From a super wealthy Asian property mogul to your average AD. Everyone will be running around like a headless chicken trying to get their hands on it. Priced at about $280,000 it isn’t exactly affordable, but then again when has anything worth getting been cheap?
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