In 2010, Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak Offshore Diver to us, reference 15703 (a review can be found here). That watch made quite an impression on me to be honest. I am a sucker for the original Royal Oak references, from the 5402 to the current 15202, so I actually surprised myself that I liked that Diver so much.
Last week in Geneva, we had the opportunity to go hands-on with the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph. A two-register chronograph version of the Offshore Diver. These four new Offshore Diver Chronograph watches will be exclusively available in Audemars Piguet boutiques. Audemars Piguet decided to come colorful this year and will offer this timepiece in orange, green, yellow and blue. In the official press release, Audemars Piguet talks about tangerine, lime, citron and blue. Just so you know.
No in-house developed chronograph movement this year yet, but another piggy backing movement based on their in-house caliber 3120 movement. This chronograph calibre 3124/3841 movement has two registers, one for the seconds and one for recording the minutes using the chronograph function. The large second hand is the chronograph seconds-hand of course. The watch has no hour recorder and no date feature and I personally like what it does to the dial. It keeps it clean and uncluttered.
Although CEO François-Henry Bennahmias said in an interview with Revolution (2014) that there will be a truly integrated chronograph movement rather sooner than later, this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph still has a module movement (or piggy backing movement). Is that bad? In terms of functionality, it isn’t bad or giving different results than a dedicated chronograph movement. Also, the base movement and module are finished up to Audemars Piguet’s high standards and there is little to criticize there. However, spending just below $30K USD on a chronograph that doesn’t have a dedicated movement feels kinda strange.
Especially for a company as Audemars Piguet who belongs to the highest regions of fine watchmaking, it’s probably difficult to explain why they don’t have an integrated chronograph movement for their Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore models. The regular 41mm Royal Oak Chronograph at least uses the F.Piguet chronograph movement. Not in-house, but it is a dedicated chronograph movement. The Offshore models use this module that is being placed on top of the base movement and takes care of all the chronograph functionality. It is the reason that the date in the Offshore Chronograph theme models (Safari etc.) needs a cyclops, this function was located in the base movement that was under the module chronograph.
So although it doesn’t matter much in terms of functionality or appearance (the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph has no date), let’s hope Audemars Piguet will come up with that movement soon. Would it be wishful thinking that this can be done without increasing the prices?
I applaud for the use of colors, although I would probably go for the safe one myself, the blue dialed version. On the dial, you will find that the color was also used for the inner diving bezel. The dial uses the famous Me?ga Tapisserie pattern and white gold applied hour markers. The hands are made of white gold as well, of course. The sub dials are black except for the blue version, which has blue sub dials. The orange, yellow and green models also have the inner diving bezel in black, with matching colors for the markers (60 minute scale) and the last 15 minute track. The blue version has a blue inner diving bezel with yellow accents, matching the small seconds hand, tip of the chronograph seconds hand and frame of the large minute hand. The bezel is being operated by the ceramic crown at 10 o’clock. The other crown – for setting and winding the watch – and the chronograph pushers are also made of black ceramic. No more use of rubber on these, which they used for previous Offshore models. After a couple of years, that would look pretty worn out is my own experience.
This 42mm stainless steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph has a wonderful finish, as all Royal Oaks have, and is a feast for the eyes. This brushed finish is also the reason that scratches show very well, so I’d suggest you think twice before you will actually start using this watch as diving equipment. According to the specifications (300M water resistant) it should be no problem and the watch is legible and has a diving bezel, but if you are scared of damaging it and get ‘wear’ on it, then don’t use it. For me, a little bit of scars are no problem as watches are made to wear in the end. It also adds a bit of character to the watch. But to each his or her own.
- Blue version, reference 26703ST.OO.A027CA.01
- Green version, reference 26703ST.OO.A038CA.01 (Geneva Boutique only, therefor not on images)
- Yellow version, reference 26703ST.OO.A051CA.01
- Orange version, reference 26703ST.OO.A070CA.01
Price $27,900 USD. More information via www.audemarspiguet.com