Audemars Piguet’s latest Royal Oak Offshore is the standard-bearer of a new generation of ROO models. Although the medley of a tourbillon and chronograph complication is not new to the ROO family, the case has been redesigned in a new 43mm size, and the movement is a contemporary, edgier adaptation of a calibre introduced on board the recent Code 11.59 collection. Limited to 100 pieces, the new Royal Oak Offshore comes with the brand’s interchangeable strap system for more versatility.
Icons pose a problem for watch companies lucky enough to possess one. Do you stick to the winning formula ad infinitum, or do you stretch the concept in new directions? Audemars Piguet’s iconic Royal Oak watch of 1972, the precursor of the luxury sports watch genre, is still one of the world’s most coveted watches. In 1993, AP decided to push the bold personality of the Royal Oak into more contemporary terrain with the Royal Oak Offshore. Still displaying the essential family traits of the RO, the ROO was an even bolder, more testosterone-fuelled model and generated the same degree of controversy as the original Royal Oak. Just like the Royal Oak, the shock and awe tactics of the Royal Oak Offshore ended up attracting more than they repelled, and the ROO is now a consolidated pillar of the brand.
No stranger to complications, the chronograph and tourbillon combo is a regular feature of the Royal Oak Offshore line-up, including dramatic openworked models like this 25th-anniversary model. Thanks to a refreshed and more technical design of a movement originally designed for a Code 11.59 model, this 43mm ROO notches up the performance level of the chronograph with the incorporation of a flyback chronograph and enhances the spectacle with a flying tourbillon.
Ergonomic 43mm case
The powerful identity of the Royal Oak Offshore is respected with its raised octagonal bezel with exposed screws and the strong angular build of the case. The new 43mm case, bezel, push-piece guards and studs are crafted in titanium with a contemporary sandblasted finishing. Apart from the new 43mm case size, the most salient difference with other ROO cases lies in the highly contrasted finishings. The case reveals wider hand-polished chamfers on the edges to contrast with the grainy matte sandblasted titanium. The contrasting black ceramic crown and push-pieces feature brushed surfaces and brightly polished chamfers, as well as a more refined curvature. Even the bezel and the glare-proofed sapphire crystal are vertically curved for a more dynamic and contemporary touch, in line with the ROO’s virile personality.
Although we don’t have information regarding the height of the watch, the plunge from the bezel to the openworked dial is dramatic. A black inner bezel with a seconds track with crisp white markings and Arabic numerals at five-minute intervals supports the openworked bridges that reveal the mechanics of automatic calibre 2967. The flying tourbillon, without the restraining presence of an upper bridge, is placed at 6, while the 30-second and 12-hour chronograph ‘rings’ are placed at 9 and 3 o’clock, respectively. All the chronograph functions are highlighted in red: the central seconds hand and the hands corresponding to the 30-seconds and 12-hour discs are red, as are all the numerals on the flange and chronograph discs. The 18k white gold hands, with a strip of lume, contrast well with the grey and black architecture of the dial. As richly finished as the case, you can appreciate the sandblasted interiors of the three apertures at 12, 5 and 7 o’clock with their hand-polished bevels. The AP logo is applied in rhodium-toned letters at noon.
As we mentioned, the calibre powering this model is an adaptation of the calibre 2952 introduced inside the Code 11.59 Flying Tourbillon Chronograph in 2020. A new interpretation of the automatic flying tourbillon and flyback chronograph, the calibre 2967 has been adapted to the watch’s new diameter and decorated in a sportier, edgier ROO fashion. Again, the multi-level architecture of the movement is highlighted with a host of different finishings. The titanium bridges are satin-brushed with hand-polished angles. The bridges’ external chamfers have been stripped of their black PVD coating and polished to heighten the contrast of colours and textures. Even the 22k gold openworked oscillating weight has been coated with black PVD.
The Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Flyback Chronograph comes with the versatility offered by AP’s latest interchangeable strap system, directly integrated into the case studs and buckle. A quick click and release system means the strap can be changed in seconds, and the double-push system ensures optimum security. The black rubber strap presented with the watch features redesigned grooves that flow from the studs. A second hand-stitched black alligator strap is also included, both with sandblasted titanium folding clasps.
Availability & Price
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Flyback Chronograph (ref. 26622TI.GG.D002CA.01) is limited to 100 pieces and will be available in June 2021. The price has yet to be confirmed.
More information at Audemars Piguet.