Audemars Piguet celebrates the 30th anniversary of its Royal Oak Offshore with 4 new automatic chronographs
Expect black ceramic timepieces that pay tribute to the rich heritage of the iconoclast affectionately known as “The Beast”.
When Audemars Piguet first revealed its nautical-inspired Royal Oak Offshore in 1993, it’s said that creator of the original Royal Oak, Gerald Genta himself, was shocked by its appearance. He described it as “an elephant in the sea”, undoubtedly for its chunky, pimped-out proportions that rendered it almost unrecognisable from the octagonal iconoclast he had designed two decades prior.
Despite the loud outcry from naysayers bemoaning the watch’s brazen looks, the Royal Oak Offshore soon found its loyal army of fans — especially among the younger set that saw beauty in the beast (as the watch was affectionately nicknamed). The watch’s unapologetically bold profile appealed to their aesthetic sensibilities and provided them with a much-welcomed alternative to the timepieces worn by the generations before.
The Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm (ref. 26238C) reinterprets the original 1993 Royal Oak Offshore model entirely in black ceramic (bracelet included) — making it a first for the collection. It is arguably one of the sleekest looking Offshores in existence, thanks to its monochrome palette. Its black Petite Tapisserie dial features white gold applied hour markers, white accents, and luminescent-coated Royal Oak hands. And much like the Royal Oak Offshore 42mm models that debuted in 2021, this timepiece is equipped with the Calibre 4404, a column-wheel flyback chronograph with vertical clutch and 70-hour power reserve.
The 43mm version (ref. 26420CE) is presented in a black ceramic and yellow gold bicolour design and comes with the brand’s interchangeable strap system — something that will prove useful since the watch comes with a black alligator strap and an additional black rubber one. The Méga Tapisserie dial is dressed in yellow gold details (namely the applied hour-markers, hands, minute track, and subdial outlines) accompanied by gold crown guards, strap inserts and caseback. Driving the watch is the automatic Calibre 4401 — a fraternal twin of the Calibre 4404 mentioned above but with a horizontal dial layout.
For its third commemorative release, Audemars Piguet looked to yet another historical design: The Offshore that played a starring role in the action horror flick, End of Days (1999), alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was already a big fan of the audacious collection. Turning again to black ceramic, this 43mm number (Ref. 26420CE) bears a Mega Tapisserie dial accented with yellow details in homage to its 90s muse, and titanium push-pieces, studs and caseback. Equipped with the Calibre 4404, this timepiece is a limited edition of just 500 pieces.