Flash News: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Self-Winding Tourbillon 44 mm Forged Carbon

By Thierry Ané on August 11, 2014

Since its launch back in 1993, the Royal Oak Offhsore has become one of the most iconic timepieces of modern watchmaking history. It surely inherited several design codes from its more refined predecessor, the Royal Oak, designed by Gerald Genta in 1972 but it is with its bolder and sportier side that it won the watch aficionados over. Considered bulky at the time with a 42 mm diameter, it was also extremely sturdy thanks to a soft-iron inner cage and external protections like rubber coated crown and chronograph pushers.

What set this watch apart, however, and largely contributed to its incredible success, remains its sense of modernity and luxury. Since the beginning, cutting-edge materials have always been mixed with the most precious metals and the use of rubber and steel never prevented the brand from offering this remarkable timepiece the most exceptional finish. Over the years, so many interpretations of the legendary Royal Oak Offshore have been presented that one could fear the creativity of the brand’s watchmakers has been drained.

With the new Royal Oak Offshore Self-Winding Tourbillon 44mm, the brand brilliantly demonstrates how inexhaustible their talent is as they manage to amaze us one more time with a model that adds all the watchmaking expertise of Audemars Piguet to the captivating look of the Royal Oak Offshore.

The new watch bears the reference 26550AU.OO.A002CA.01 and the die-hard AP-addicts may remember it from the Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Tourbillon 44mm presented in 2011. We inquired about the double use of a reference and the brand representatives told us it was not a mistake: since the model presented in 2011 has never been released they decided to recycle the reference for this year's edition limited to 50 units that will officially be unveiled at “Watches & Wonders”, the Haute Horlogerie Exhibition that will take place for the second time in Hong Kong from September 30 to October 2, 2014.

Aesthetically, the new watch features a 44 mm case crafted in forged carbon and paired with a black ceramic octagonal bezel with 8 stainless steel screws. The facetted crown is also made of black ceramic and the push-pieces combine this material with titanium known for its lightness and resistance. In line with the sporty nature of the “Offshore”, the designers opted for a black rubber strap secured by a large titanium pin buckle. The watch presents the iconic waffle-like “Méga Tapisserie” dial and, to be consistent with the aesthetic codes of the new Royal Oak Offshore 44 mm models, it features a contrasting silver flange with a black minute track enhanced by red markers for each of the 5-minute Arabic numerals.

The watch is equipped with the 2897 calibre especially designed, developed and produced in-house for this model. As the name of the watch implies, this exceptional movement made of 335 parts presents a tourbillon escapement visible through the aperture at 6 o’clock under its blackened titanium bridge. Like most “Offshore” models, it also features a chronograph. Through the sapphire crystal on the back, watch lovers will be able to admire its column-wheel that has been finished to the highest standards like the rest of the movement.

To allow for a better view of the mechanical beauty of this calibre while benefiting from the versatility of an automatic movement, the expert watchmakers opted for a peripheral oscillating weight: a 950 platinum mass mounted on ball bearings thus rotates on the outer edge of the movement making for a slimmer overall profile (the watch has a thickness of only 14 mm) and allowing the exceptional movement to be clearly viewed: mirror polishing, hand chamfering, circular graining and hand-drawing are among the classic finishes you will be able to observe.

The Royal Oak Offshore Self-Winding Tourbillon 44mm is a true summary of what Audemars Piguet is all about: innovative technical solutions, respect for the codes of traditional Fine Watchmaking and a unique sense of style.

For more information please visit the Audemars Piguet web site.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: