Monochrome Watches
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The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore “Beast” In Black Ceramic

The Beast appears for the first time in full black ceramic... And it's stunning.

| By Brice Goulard | 8 min read |
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Ceramic Beast 26238CE

The Beast… Probably the second most emblematic watch of Audemars Piguet. A watch that, like its Genta-designed 1972 ancestor, broke the rules and created an entirely new segment of watches. Extravagant, oversized and polarising at the time of its introduction 30 years ago, it defined the ultra-robust luxury sports watch genre. The first Royal Oak Offshore, a.k.a The Beast, truly was a beast of a watch. And to celebrate three decades of the ROO, Audemars Piguet has released a new version in full black ceramic… And surprisingly, this is a first for this collection. The result, this new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm Black Ceramic 26238CE, is simply stunning. The Beast in black ceramic is a gift for hardcore fans of the collection. 

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Ceramic Beast 26238CE


We’ve extensively covered the first-generation Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore “The Beast” in this article. Its genesis was the answer to a changing market, with customers wanting something more striking, more robust, and more in line with the extravagance of the 1990s. Just like the 1972 Royal Oak designed by Gerald Genta that changed the industry with a disruptive concept of a steel watch with an integrated bracelet, ultra-thin case and a construction as luxurious as a gold dress watch, the ROO also defined a genre. It was truly unprecedented. The Offshore had to be the answer to the decline in sales of the classic Royal Oak. For that, Emmanuel Gueit, a young designer about a year into the company, was asked to “create something young men would want to wear“.

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The result was a strong (really…) evolution of the design of the Royal Oak. The basics were kept alive – the octagonal bezel with screws, the overall shape of the case, the integrated bracelet like a chain, the tapisserie pattern on the dial – but everything underwent testosterone therapy. All the parts were beefed up and made more robust, and the choice was to equip the new Royal Oak Offshore with a chronograph movement – in line with the sporty vocation that the design evoked. The result was a 42mm watch, with gigantic proportions back then, which gave the watch its nickname: The Beast. The reactions when the watch was presented were mixed; Genta himself hated the concept. Nevertheless, once the initial blast was over, the ROO became a new icon in the brand’s collection, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

First-Generation Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 25721ST
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Talking about materials, the ROO has always been at the forefront of innovation. Initially released in steel with rubber inserts, AP quickly imagined variations around The Beast in titanium and forged carbon, as well as multiple models with ceramic parts. But, to my greatest surprise (I actually never thought about it), the ROO collection never featured a watch made entirely of ceramic, bracelet included. Actually, full ceramic watches aren’t that old at Audemars Piguet and first materialised in the Royal Oak collection in 2017 with the Black Ceramic Perpetual Calendar.

2021 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph steel 26238ST.OO.2000ST.01
A modern re-edition of “The Beast”, the 2021 Royal Oak Offshore 26238ST with in-house integrated movement.

We’d have to wait for Audemars Piguet to re-launch The Beast to see a full ceramic version. Indeed, the classic look of The Beast, the steel model with a blue petite tapisserie dial, was gone for many years (discontinued in the early 2000s, replaced by models with mega tapisserie dials). However, in 2021, Audemars Piguet brought back this watch, with a faithful design and modernised mechanics, under the reference 26238ST. Almost all elements of the habillage paid tribute to the classic Beast, with only minor updates on the case, bracelet and dial – ceramic replaced rubber on the pushers, and the dial had different sub-counters. The main update concerned the movement, now made in-house, with an integrated architecture.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Ceramic Beast 26238CE

And now, as part of its early 2023 collection, Audemars Piguet dropped this bomb of a watch… A ceramic edition of the Beast. Full black, full ceramic, including the bracelet, classic look of the ROO Beast, petite tapisserie dial and now a modern movement. This 26238CE is as good as it gets, at least if the Royal Oak Offshore is your thing.

The Full Black Ceramic Beast

The full ceramic Beast… That says it all. First, there’s something particularly cool about full ceramic Royal Oak models. These are rare, highly desirable, highly coveted models and, yes, I must be honest here, highly expensive too. But AP doesn’t do things halfway. Even though it is crafted entirely in ceramic, these watches are everything a RO should be and are finished exactly like a stainless steel model. The work done on the case and bezel, as well as on the multi-link bracelet, is simply stunning. The level of detail is astonishing and required hours of work. Moving from steel to ceramic is easier said than done, at least if you want to preserve the same level of decoration and identical surfaces and angles.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Ceramic Beast 26238CE

As for the new Royal Oak Offshore Beast in Black Ceramic, the base is identical to the steel edition 26238ST, but also these titanium and gold versions. Essentially the same watch, just with different materials and a single colour all around. This means that we have the classic proportions of a ROO Beast, with a 42mm case, a substantial height of 15.3mm and an identical construction. The case retains its octagonal bezel with 8 hexagonal white gold screws and a black rubber insert between the bezel and the middle case. Mostly brushed, it retains all the facets and polished bevels of a classic steel model. And all elements of the habillage are dressed in black, including the black ceramic pushers and screw-down crown. And the new material doesn’t alter the 100m water-resistance rating.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Ceramic Beast 26238CE

The ceramic theme continues with the bracelet, which is a first for the Offshore collection. Indeed, this new reference 26238CE features a full ceramic bracelet, executed in classic RO style, with brushed surfaces and polished bevels on the sides. As expected, it’s perfectly integrated into the whole design and adds a unique look to this edition. No need to say that the overall execution is splendid. The bracelet is closed by a titanium folding clasp. Two important notes: this edition doesn’t feature the quick-release system of the steel model (allowing to swap for a rubber strap), and there isn’t a micro-adjustment device on the buckle – which would be appreciated on such a hefty watch.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Ceramic Beast 26238CE

The black theme is also present on the dial, which again pays tribute to the origins of the Royal Oak Offshore collection. In recent times, the ROO was mostly available with a mega tapisserie (stamped) pattern. AP brought back the classic, far more intricate petite tapisserie pattern into the ROO collection in 2021 and continues this year with this new Beast in Black. Here done in matte black for a homogenous look, the pattern is essentially the same as used on a classic Royal Oak. Yet, this new reference is the first to be totally monochrome in pitch black. Tracks and hands are treated in white for strong contrast, and the dial features a wide range of finishings and different surfaces that enhance legibility. The date, under a circular magnifier, is read on a tone-on-tone disc.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Ceramic Beast 26238CE

Under the titanium and sapphire caseback is a movement that makes this new generation of ROO Beast drastically more modern. Gone is the modular chronograph of the 1990s, replaced by an in-house, integrated flyback calibre based on the movement that was first introduced in Code 11.59. This calibre 4404 was specifically developed for the ROO to have the three emblematic counters of the Royal Oak Offshore with a vertical arrangement. However, compared to the 1990s, the hour and small seconds counters were switched to offer a top-to-bottom reading of the elapsed hours and minutes. This modern movement features a column wheel and is automatic, wound by a 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Ceramic Beast 26238CE

Conclusion, Availability & Price

Extending the use of ceramic to the entirety of the case and bracelet and reinforcing the presence of the petite tapisserie pattern with an entirely monochromatic look all over the watch creates what’s probably (to me, at least, but also to MONO’s founder Frank) the most attractive and desirable edition of the Beast ever. I know it is a bold statement, but seeing this watch in the metal triggers genuine emotions. The full black, full ceramic attire only reinforces the power of attraction of this watch. It makes this already polarising model, with its emblematic look, even more powerful.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Ceramic Beast 26238CE

This Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm Black Ceramic 26238CE is a watch for hardcore fans of the model, a watch that takes the aura of this collection to the next level. This Ceramic Beast is what the watch should have been from the beginning if manufacturing a watch entirely in ceramic would have been possible back then. It really is quite something. And keep in mind that ceramic has positive attributes: it’s lighter than steel, it’s highly resistant to wear, and the full black attire makes it a bit more sober, a bit less polarising, but also tends to make it slightly more compact on the wrist (visually at least).

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Ceramic Beast 26238CE

Availability… Like all full ceramic watches at Audemars Piguet, it will be a difficult watch to acquire. Even though the watch is part of the permanent collection and isn’t limited in number, the production will be fairly limited, and demand will surpass supply. In any case, the CHF 70,000 (excl. taxes) or EUR 84,000 (incl. taxes) price tag makes it an exclusive model. For more details, please visit

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