Our guest contributor Angus shares his views on the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Forged Carbon that was released earlier this year. Not only the Royal Oak had something to celebrate this year, but the Royal Oak Offshore, or ROO called by collectors, had something to celebrate; it was first launched 20 years ago.
My son is 13 years of age and a precociously developed Adonis. I may appear somewhat biased but most parents will forgive the rose-tinted adoration of my handsome heir. On a recent holiday my son broke the news that he longer wished to pursue his chosen sport of rowing but return to the perilous game of rugby. He explained he missed the camaraderie of being in a large team.
My heart sank, my gorgeous boy was informing me he wished to jeopardise the lovely features of his beautiful face to the perils of stamping boots and crushing blows. I began to envisage the resultant cauliflower ears and broken nose which could otherwise mar his august appeal.
After a lengthy period of reflection, I nervously agreed to his request and granted my permission. I am now resigned to early morning chauffeuring duties to matches around northern England on cold winter mornings. Sometimes, you have to accept some risk and push your own personal boundaries. This led me to think about the brief received by Octavio Garcia when his team designed the latest variant of the Royal Oak Offshore Diver.
The steel cased version has been in the range for a few years and is a personal favourite. However, to potentially jeopardise your reputation with new models is a professional risk. The Offshore has somewhat been overshadowed this year by the Royal Oak celebrating its fortieth birthday. Yet, the Offshore celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year as well. It has found favour with watch collectors around the globe.
I have admired many models in the Offshore range, yet on a few occasions some models have not appealed due to the chosen colour scheme, bezel design or even the shape of the pushers. But, then we do not all share homogenous tastes and several of my least preferred models have been commercially very successful for Audemars Piguet.
It is the measure of the gladiatorial bravery of any designer, that they push boundaries and break design rules. This should be encouraged. The pleasing outcomes of the designer’s imagination, once realised, can be admired by the many.
Now Mr Garcia and his team have entered the Coliseum with a new Offshore Diver. The question is, will they triumph or succumb to the clawing paws of the lions?
The dial features a black “Mega tapisserie” pattern. The larger squares which form the tapisserie pattern have a more relaxed, less formal style when contrasted with the “petite tapisserie” dials of the Royal Oak. This is perfectly attuned to the character of the watch.
The inner rotating flange is predominantly black with the exception of the first 15 minutes which are depicted in yellow. Here, minutes are marked with black minute integers and white strokes every five minutes. Elsewhere Arabic numerals in a modern font are marked, “20”, “30”, “40” and “50”. At noon a triangular index is used.
The dial uses clean, white gold applied batons to indicate each hour and at noon double batons are used. The presentation of the batons and numerals is wonderfully legible and will find favour with any wearer who desires to explore oceans deep. The date is located at 3 o’clock. The maximum depth is shown towards the base of the dial near 6 o’clock, an impressive 300 metres.
The Royal Oak hands are luminous coated and pay homage to Gerald Genta’s classic design icon. However, modernity is provided by the vivid yellow of the minute hand which matches the hue of the diving scale of the aforementioned rotating flange. The slender second hand is black, tipped with yellow, repeating the colour scheme of the watch.
The case is a significant departure from the previous diver model. Forged carbon has been selected in favour of stainless steel. The forged carbon bestows a totally different character to the watch when contrasted with the steel case version. It exhibits marvellous modernity and the marble-like pattern to its surface proffers a unique aesthetic.
The octagonal shaped bezel features eight white gold screws with chamfered slots all perfectly aligned to follow the form of the dial. The rubber clad screw-locked crowns echo the profile of the bezel, octagonal in shape. The crown at 3 o’clock adjusts the hands and date as well as winding the mainspring when the watch has not been worn for some time. It also features a hacking seconds facility, whereby the seconds can be stopped by pulling out the crown. This is a useful feature when adjusting the watch. The crown at 10 o’clock is for adjusting the inner bezel.
The union of the rubber strap to the case is faithful to original Royal Oak design. The absence of conventional lugs further differentiates the watch and imparts a neoteric character despite 40 years elapsing since its original conception.
The self-winding Calibre 3120 features a 22-carat rose gold oscillating weight. It is flawlessly engraved with the brand’s logo and name and it oscillates in both directions on ceramic ball bearings.
Audemars Piguet are a Manufacture of the highest order. This movement encapsulates all that I adore about haute horology. Whereas, some brands are reliant on the efforts of others, bringing together a watch by assembling the work of suppliers, Audemars Piguet craft their movements in-house.
The finissage is sublime. The upper surfaces of the bridges feature Côtes de Genève motif, yet on their reverse, away from prying eyes they are finely decorated with snailing, a spiral shaped pattern which further testifies to the quality of the movement. Circular graining is visible on the plate.
If you admire the back of the movement, petite perlage is visible whilst on the opposite side of the plate grand perlage is perfectly presented. Bevels of bridges are further testament to the artisan’s craft. They are diamond graved and beautifully illustrate the distilled excellence of the movement.
The Royal Oak Offshore Diver is a handsome watch. It has an extrovert persona with the bright yellow details and carbon forged case. I like the styling of the watch and would be pleased to own it. Mr Garcia has triumphed once more in the Coliseum.
Is it my favourite Offshore Diver of all time? No, that place in my heart is occupied by a Boutique only version released a few years ago, the Scuba Blue Boutique (reference 15701ST.OO.D002CA) with a 44mm stainless steel case. The metallic blue of the internal bezel is gorgeous. Sadly, the Scuba Blue Boutique is no longer available.
Sometimes you have to be brave and push boundaries and Octavio Garcia has never lacked courage when designing watches. I wonder whether he ever played rugby?
Technical Specification – Royal Oak Offshore Diver (Reference: 15706AU.00.A002CA.01)
- Case: Forged carbon case; diameter 42.00 mm; Height 13.90 mm, Water resistant to 30 bar (300 m); sapphire crystal to front and solid case back.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; centre seconds and date.
- Movement: Calibre 3120, self-winding; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz); 40 jewels; power reserve 60 hours.
- Strap: Rubber strap with titanium pin buckle.
More info at the Audemars Piguet website.