When talking about the Royal Oak, blue dials are a natural fit. After all, the first Royal Oak featured a blue Tapisserie dial in 1972 and the colour has become somewhat of an Audemars Piguet trademark. The Royal Oak Offshore debuted in 1993 and has been a successful, highly masculine sequel to the original series. Although many sported blue dials in the past, the Bucherer BLUE Royal Oak Offshore models have features unique to the collaboration. They’re also the first special editions of the 42mm variant since its 2014 launch. Both Audemars Piguet and Bucherer have rich histories going back over a century and these latest models continue a successful partnership since 2016.
Founded in 1888 by entrepreneur Carl-Friedrich Bucherer in Lucerne, Switzerland, Bucherer went from a single watch and jewellery store to the largest retailer of its kind in Europe with 36 locations. A wide selection of the most prestigious watch brands is offered, including one of the most extensive ranges of Rolex models, along with its own pieces under the Carl F. Bucherer brand. Royal blue is Bucherer’s signature colour and in 2016, Bucherer BLUE launched as a collaboration with nine luxury watch brands for colour-centric special editions, available exclusively at Bucherer retailers. Audemars Piguet was among the first with the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph and Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin Bucherer BLUE editions. Although such watches sell out quickly, both companies are back with the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph Bucherer BLUE with a new black rubber strap with interchangeable folding clasp.
The 42mm brushed steel case has an 18k pink gold octagonal bezel, a combination that’s unique to the Bucherer BLUE editions. The case height is 14.54mm and both the front crystal and rear exhibition window are sapphire. Of course, this is one of the most coveted sports watches in the industry, so we have the classic integrated bracelet aesthetic, eight exposed screws on both the bezel and caseback and 100 metres of water-resistance. The crown and round chronograph pushers are black ceramic, contrasting well against the steel and gold, and all three are shrouded by steel guards. Gold lug extensions to the strap complete the bicolour theme.
The deep blue “Méga Tapisserie” dial features the larger squared pattern of the Royal Oak Offshore line, differing from the smaller and tighter “Petite Tapisserie” from vintage models and “Grande Tapisserie” that falls between the two. A large circular date window sits at 3 o’clock with white print on a black background and is framed in gold. The chronograph layout has the small seconds at 12 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, and all sub-dials have a snailed pattern. The applied gold Arabic numerals and hour and minute hands have white Super-LumiNova inserts. An internal tachymeter sits over the patterned dial in matching blue, while the applied AP logo and name are on a flattened section of the dial to the left of the date.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph Bucherer BLUE features the Manufacture calibre 3126/3840 found in other Royal Oak Offshore chronograph models. This in-house automatic uses a cam chronograph module from Dubois Depraz and has 59 jewels, beats at 21,600vph (3Hz) with a 50-hour power reserve. Functions include central hours, minutes and chronograph seconds, 12-hour counter, 30-minute counter, small seconds and date. The movement is decorated with Côtes de Genève and perlage, and the oscillating weight is 22k gold with ceramic ball bearings.
The new strap this year is black rubber with the familiar blue rubber and black crocodile with gold stitching also included. This Bucherer BLUE edition (ref. 26471SR.OO.D101CR.01.20) is priced at CHF 34,900, EUR 34,900 and GBP 33,700, and Audemars Piguet watches purchased through authorized channels now come with a five-year warranty (up from two years). No words regarding a limited production for this watch only available through Bucherer boutiques or online store here.
For more information and to make a purchase, visit Bucherer.com.