Watches: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph Platinum

By Thierry Ané on February 27, 2014

When Audemars Piguet decides to put a high-end movement with complications in a Royal Oak Offshore case, every single time the result is a hell of a watch!

To give a few examples, the Automatic Tourbillon Forged Carbon, the Perpetual Calendar models, as well as the numerous version of the Grande Complication (pink gold with black ceramic bezel, all titanium and black dial, or titanium with black ceramic bezel and sapphire dial with white or black rubber strap) are all, in my opinion, absolutely exceptional models that most watch collectors would die for.

Among these wonders, one has always had a special place in my heart: the Tourbillon Chronograph Pink Gold released in 2010. There is something so resolutely “technical” about its openwork dial, something so unique in the way it blends with the Offshore case, that it places Audemars Piguet in a class of its own. There is a raw beauty in the design that even the most stunning Richard Mille models can’t achieve.

At the SIHH this year, the Le Brassus-based manufacture unveiled the latest version of this sensational watch: the Tourbillon Chronograph Platinum… And, to tell you the truth, I am now short of qualifying adjectives to express how blown away I am by the beauty of this timepiece!

Now in platinum, the 44 mm case has been slightly reworked: it no longer presents the four carved out corners around the bezel. This is a good thing in my opinion since they gave a too pronounced angular aspect to the watch. Fortunately, however, the brand kept the hollowed lugs that give a lot of character to this model. The other big change is the use of black ceramic instead of the forged carbon for the bezel. Let’s face it: forged carbon does not age well. It indeed lacks lustre with time and is not scratch-resistant enough. Moreover, the uniform colour of the ceramic gives a cleaner, sharper look to the watch. The rest of the case, namely the crown and pushers are left unchanged: they are crafted in black ceramic like on the previous version.

The openwork dial is simply sublime! Symmetric and asymmetric at the same time, it features a blue and silver 30-minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock almost encircled by the two apertures on the parallel twin barrels located at 6 and 12 o’clock. The mesmerizing tourbillon held by an anodised aluminium bridge occupies the remaining position at 9 o’clock. On the beautiful blue colour of the dial and the flange, the white Arabic numerals and the tachymeter scale provide a striking contrast. White gold index hands covered with the same white luminescent material as the numerals provide the finishing touch.

Inside this amazing watch beats the manually-wound 2912 calibre. Comprised of 328 parts, this high-end movement sports a tourbillon escapement and a column-wheel chronograph. When fully wound, it provides almost 10 days of power reserve (237 hours to be exact). The sapphire case back of the watch allows the owner to fully appreciate the superlative manual finishing that has made the reputation of Renaud & Papi.

Maybe to assert the sporty character of this timepiece, the brand opted for a black rubber strap secured by the iconic “AP” folding buckle in platinum. I would have preferred a blue hand-stitched «large square scale» crocodile strap but I am sure that if it is the only detail that stops you from buying the watch, Audemars Piguet should be able to find a solution for you! One last tiny detail that I appreciate: the ridiculously low water resistance of the pink gold version, namely 2 ATM, has been improved to 10 ATM for the platinum model. This is certainly not the model of choice to splash around in your pool but it is always nice to know that you don’t have to worry about some nasty water disturbing such a refined movement!

All in all, this is an impressive watch that could very much be my grail timepiece…

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: