The pictures accompanying this review are only two and this is due to the fact that only 50 pieces of this watch (the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph) have ever been released on the market. The chances to get in touch with one of the 50 lucky owners of this timepiece are extremely slim, a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack! My passion for this brand is well known to my readers and every time that I am lucky enough to cross path with an Audemars Piquet, with its octagonal bezel and with the Tapisserie motif that ornates its dial (a MegaTapisserie motif in this specific case) I immediately start writing about it, simply take a look at the many articles that you can find on Horbiter about this brand and the Royal Oak and you will immediately understand what I am talking about.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph, which was originally launched at the 2014 Watches and Wonders exhibition, can be seen by some people as some sort of an experiment, it represents the concept of the Royal Oak Offshore collection taken to the extreme and it is also the missing link between this particular collection and that of the Royal Oak Concept; a collection that has eventually become an essential component of the success of the brand from Le Brassus. The company's manufacturers have skilfully inserted the in-house-built 2897caliber into the 44mm wide forgedcarboncase of the Royal Oak Offshore; this is an extremely high quality automatic wristwatch with a rate of 3Hz that sports a peripheral rotor visible from the dial side and made of solid 950 Platinum in a satin finish. All in all a very elegant technical solution that completely eliminates the classic presence of the rotor on the back of the watch, while the movement, which can be seen through the back case, sports the very same "aesthetic grandeur" of a manual caliber.
During the short period of time that I have spent in the company of this watch, when I was also able to wear it for a while, I noticed that it was as if I weren't even wearing an automatic watch, since the movement of the rotor is virtually unnoticeable and it is mounted on ball bearings; a characteristic that makes it extremely efficient. The rotor consists of a 180° ring rotating within an annular hollow that exists between the dial and the most inner edge of the back case. The idea of crafting this rotor in platinum is probably dictated by the need for using a precious metal with a higher specific gravity than gold so as to balance its extremely slim geometry. Beside being a very original solution, the use of platinum highly reduces the thickness of the watch and it is a valid alternative to the less refined solution that uses a micro rotor winding mechanism.
The chronograph with a column-wheel is virtually waggle-free; a phenomenon that is typically experienced during the chronograph's start/reset/scrolling phases and that is easily avoided by fitting the watch with a coupling fork. The Tourbillon appearing at 6 o' clock sports a variable-inertia balance and a spring with a Phillips terminal curve that improves the isochronic movement. The finishing touches of this timepiece are as well refined as its technical solutions, every single component of the movement is finely decorated with a Perlage motif or hand-filed with rounded off edges. The bezel, the crown and the push-buttons are all made of ceramic, the push-buttons are also protected by titanium elements. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph won't probably be remembered as the most elegant Royal Oak Offshore timepiece ever crafted but, when you consider the high-quality of its details, the high-tech materials used for its making and the modern technic applied to its mechanisms, it is definitely the finest example of the Offshore collection.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting, courtesy of Audemars Piguet)