To mark the 30th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore, Audemars Piguet is unveiling a 43mm Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph in black ceramic. The watch features new striking green accents and will be available in a limited edition of 100 pieces. For the first time in the 43mm Royal Oak Offshore collection, these watches will feature ceramic case backs with sapphire display window that allows a full-blown view of the Calibre 2967 and its blackened 22-carat pink gold rotor that is a perfect match with the case hue.
In 1993, 21 years after the unveiling of arguably one of Gerald Genta’s most important creations, the Royal Oak, came the Royal Oak Offshore. Nicknamed The Beast, this was a big watch with a lot of presence on the wrist. Where the original Royal Oak had created a whole new segment in luxury sports watches, the Offshore took this to a whole new level. The watch was initially envisaged as a 20th anniversary Royal Oak. The then CEO of Audemars Piguet, Stephen Urquhart asked the young, 22 year old designer Emmanuel Gueit to design a watch that “young men would want to wear”. The original design was a bold reimagining of Genta’s original design, to which Gueit stayed faithful.
Revolution founder Wei Koh has always been a fan of the Royal Oak. Says Koh, “The Royal Oak had become the definitive sports chic watch of the haute monde, this new watch looked like it wanted to batter down the doors of their gilded palaces and impregnate their daughters with a smirk on its face. It was in essence a Royal Oak that had been furiously hitting the weights room and practising Shaolin Kung Fu, while reading Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathusa. It had emerged from the chrysalis an earth shattering; awe inspiring Ubermensch. A symbol of testicular bombast and primal power. It was the watch on Odin and Thor’s wrists while toasting with the skulls of vanquished enemies in the halls of Valhalla. Its definitive characteristic beyond its totemic ursine heft was an all-encompassing, never before seen in the rarefied milieu of high Swiss watchmaking, unabashed bad-assitude.”
This “bad-assitude” was in a large part to the oversized case. In the current world of mega-sized watches, it’s easy to forget just what a serious size the Offshore was in the early 1990s. It was massive and was ground-breaking in the luxury watch segment. But what exactly was it that was so different about it other than the size? Rubber. Luxury and rubber weren’t seen as compatible bedfellows and yet the watch had rubber clad chronograph pushers and a ring of rubber around the winding crown as well as an exposed rubber gasket between the bezel and midcase. The rubber clad pushers (yes they wrapped precious metal in rubber too) have now been superseded by ceramic on the latest Offshores. The Offshore is also credited with the mega-movement in black-coating watches, a craze that went into overdrive in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, with the End of Days edition that was PVD coated. It was at this point also that AP moved to rubber straps on the Offshore. It’s important to remember that AP had never done anything this bold, having been a very conservative haute horology brand up until this point. Consumers, however, lapped it up and the Offshore became one of the hottest watches on the market.
The 2023 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph in black ceramic is the latest riff on a deisgn that was first introduced in 2021s 43mm collection. This new ceramic piece is the perfect opportunity for the brand to demonstrate its unique way of fusing the latest technology with traditional craftmanship. The manufacturing of the case requires the very highest level of modern industrial watchmaking technology including highly skilled personnel and the latest computer-driven machining and finishing. Finishing is all important at AP and so the ceramic case has the manufature’s signature alternating polished and satin-brushed finishes. I’ve often heard it said that refinishing a Royal Oak case is the hardest thing to do for a watchmaker. Finishing a ceramic case is no joke and yet it has been done to perfection here!
With the launch of the 2021 models, AP introduced its new rapid strap change system. The last decade in watch collecting has witnessed a surge in popularity for changing straps and the fun element of mixing and matching straps to give your watch a new look or a fresh feel on the wrist.. Audemars Piguet completely removed the laborious aspect of a strap change by introducing this new interchangeable strap system. Both straps and buckles can be swiftly swapped using the double-push system that are built into the buckles and case studs. This new model has a green rubber strap can be switched, quickly and simply, with the supplied second black rubber strap and both straps work with the titanium clasp.
The new Offshore is driven by the Calibre 2967 movement that was first launched in 2021. This 526-part flyback chronograph movement is regulated by a flying tourbillon, whose single underlying bridge holds the rotating cage at 6 o’clock. The black PVD-coated titanium bridges, finished with satin-brushing and hand-polished angles, feature green inserts with an aluminium coating, achieved through an electrolytic process called “anodisation.” Lastly, the bright external polished chamfers highlight the bridges’ titanium base and add depth to the multi-layered movement. Atop the movement sits the PVD-coated titanium dial with anodised green accents and green anodised inner bezel. The two chronograph dials are open to allow a view of the movement beneath and the tourbillon sits at six.
Audemars Piguet Offshore 43mm Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph in Clack Ceramic
Movement: Selfwinding Calibre 2967
Functions: Flying tourbillon, flyback chronograph, hours, minutes.
Case: 43mm Black ceramic case, black ceramic push-pieces and screw-locked crown, water-resistant to 100 m.
Dial: Black PVD-coated titanium dial with anodised green accents, 18-carat pink-gold hands with luminescent coating, green anodised inner bezel.
Bracelet: Interchangeable green rubber strap with satin-finished titanium AP folding clasp. Additional interchangeable black rubber strap.
Availability: Limited to 100 pieces