Audemars Piguet: Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 30th Anniversary7 April 2023
When launched in 1993 at the Basel Fair, the Royal Oak Offshore made quite an impression with its massive proportions (42 mm in diameter and 14.04 mm thick) and bold design. It was not until a few years later, however, that its success would really take off. The Royal Oak Offshore quickly made connections with different fields far removed from Haute Horlogerie, such as the worlds of sport, music and entertainment. Arnold Schwarzenegger was entrusted with the first special edition of the collection which was released in 1999 for his film End of Days (ref. 25770SN). It was an immediate success, projecting the Offshore collection into the limelight and launching a tradition of special editions.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the collection this year, Audemars Piguet is paying tribute to the key model that marked a turning point in the destiny of the Offshore with its new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph inspired by the 1999 model.
“In 1999, the collaboration with Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Royal Oak Offshore End of Days started putting the collection on the map of a wider public for the first time. For the 30th anniversary of the Offshore, paying tribute to this specific timepiece is an obvious choice.” François-Henry Bennahmias CEO Audemars Piguet
This new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph is presented in a 43 mm case, which is in line with the models introduced in 2020. This edition is made entirely of black ceramic with the addition of titanium details, such as the studs, push-pieces and case back. There are also eight steel screws that attach the octagonal bezel to the case. The choice of these materials gives the watch a light and ergonomic feel despite its generous proportions (the total weight is only 103 grammes).
The ceramic used by Audemars Piguet is partly made of zirconium oxide powder combined with a specific binder and its homogeneous colour only appears once the material is fired at a temperature exceeding 1000oC. Each component is then pre- polished and pre-satin-finished. Lines, angles and bevels are painstakingly hand-finished to achieve the Manufacture’s signature alternating polished and satin surfaces.
As a nod to the black and yellow aesthetic of the original 1999 model, the new Offshore features a black dial decorated with the new-generation Mega Tapisserie pattern and is illuminated with touches of yellow on the tachymeter scale, as well as on the hour markers and the blackened white gold hands enhanced with yellow luminescent coating. The applied gold AP logo stands out at 12 o’clock, while black counters grace the dial at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock.
Limited to 500 pieces, the new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph comes with a black calfskin strap featuring a textile effect and yellow stitching. Thanks to the watch’s integrated interchangeable system, the owner can easily change his or her strap for a yellow calfskin version with black stitching.
THE CALIBRE 4401
This new reference is powered by the Manufacture’s latest selfwinding chronograph movement, Calibre 4401, which is fully integrated with a column wheel and flyback function. This function allows the chronograph to be reset and restarted with a single press of the push-piece – a patented process that allows the chronograph counter hands to instantaneously return to the vertical position. The column wheel works in conjunction with the vertical clutch and when started or stopped, the seconds hand responds immediately, without jerking. Additionally, gentle pressure is enough to activate the push-pieces, further enhancing the ergonomics of the timepiece.
The oscillating weight is visible through the sapphire crystal case back. Crafted in 22-carat pink gold, it has been coloured by NAC process to give it an anthracite grey hue. The sapphire case back also reveals the movement’s refined decorations, including Côtes de Genève, circular graining, sunray finishing, circular satin finishing and polished bevels. Last but not least, the titanium case back is engraved with the words “Limited Edition of 500 Pieces”. (Price on request)