Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Tourbillon 25 Anniversary
Come forward if you have ever dreamt of adding an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak to your watches collection; some collectors are after the time only reference, whereas the more refined ones, who are into chronographs and big sized timepieces, are eyeing the “vitaminized” Royal Oak. This is the Offshore version that, over the years, has wrapped the wrist of actors, Formula 1 drivers (Montoya, Barrichello, Trulli) and super-champions like Michael Schumacher; the 7 times world champion was also named after incredible complications like the Lap Timer. It might sound strange, but 25 years have passed by since the moment when a “simple” chronograph turned into an item of desire with a collector’s price, most of all in its versions dedicated to the former Formula 1 drivers; Juan Pablo and Rubens.
Mind that the 25 years I am talking about are those of the Offshore (not of the classic Royal Oak launched in 1972); a timepiece that, personally, I have always preferred over the time only version, possibly because of the alchemy existing between its peculiar looks and its strongly masculine personality given by the “Offshore” trait. If you were to ask me which one my favourite is, I would start listing quite a few of them, including the Shaquille O'Neal, the Alinghi, the Volcano, the Trulli and so on, I could go on forever quoting other names like the Bartorelli, for instance.
Audemars Piguet will give us a new present in 2018; a new Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Tourbillon. Actually there will be two top of the range timepieces that will add a new flavour to the Royal Oak Offshore as we have known it until now. The watches are made of stainless steel and pink gold and they share the same base concept; an entirely skeletonized dial with an architecture that reminds us of a cut Shuriken thanks to the bridges holding together the small parts and connected to the tourbillon’s bridge, the 30 chrono minutes counter and the double winding barrel of the 2947 manual calibre that guarantees at least 7 days of power reserve.
If you look through the case-back, you will enjoy a beautiful sight of the calibre with its small column wheel in full view on the left hand side. On the dial side, the ever-present octagonal bezel, has been also skeletonized so as to offer a full view on the movement, whose crafting, according to the technical characteristics on hand, makes me think that Renaud and Papi had a hand in this (although mine is only an hypothetical guess rather than a real confirmation). When Audemars Piguet released the first still life images of its Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Tourbillon 25 Anniversary models, it wisely avoid unveiling all the secrets of its new top of the range Offshore that we will see in the PalaExpo in less than two months’ time. It was almost a statement of what awaits us and also a preview, as I reckon that this is only the tip of the iceberg of a new collection and of a new chapter in the world of sports collecting.
The design of the case completes this preview; two big chrono buttons, now made of ceramics, covered with big protections, in stainless steel and in 18-carat-pink gold, respectively, and a ceramics made crown entirely secured, delicate, but not too generously sized if compared to the chronographs from the competition; in particular to Richard Mille’s pieces. A new technical and aesthetical chapter for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Tourbillon 25 Anniversary; what is your opinion? Do you like it? Share your comments with me and see you soon live from the SIHH 2018! Yours Gaetano.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Audemars Piguet)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®