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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

There are some watches out there that, one might feel, appear to have always been around. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph works so well as a natural extension to the Diver collection that, to me, it is certainly such a watch. A couple weeks ago at SIHH 2016, Audemars Piguet finally enhanced their “ROO Diver” – originally released at SIHH 2010 – by adding a chronograph function to it. Do the math, and you’ll find that It took six years for the brand to make the first considerable, major update to this collection. To make up for that lengthy wait, the Le Brassus-based manufacture premiered not one, but four different color options. Here’s our hands-on look.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

In 2016, the luxury watch industry (and many of its peers) are still in a phase where for a renowned manufacture to debut colorful new pieces can be widely considered a “controversial move.” I can’t help but feel inclined to point to the numerous, considerably more pressing industry issues, that we covered at length here – things that should arguably come sooner than being afraid of a brand “losing it” just because it debuted a few colorful watches.

Sure, whether you would want to wear a bright yellow (or green, or orange, or blue) watch or not is surely down to your personal preference, but to suddenly find a brand to be “controversial” or “polarizing” for its use of colors on a sporty collection may be one unnecessary step too far in watch-snobbery.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

When approached with a more open mind, the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph may just surprise you with its blend of popping bright colors and AP-standard craftsmanship – I could feel its genuinely fun vibe get to me even in snowy-foggy Geneva in the middle of January. While the deemed success or failure of color schemes may very well be down to personal taste, I can only applaud it when brands leave behind their usual – and, for the most part, not very fascinating – black-silver-white colorways and dare think out of the box a bit. At a time when such an overwhelmingly large number of high-end brands dedicate most all their attention to “heritage,” “tribute,” “anniversary,” and “vintage,” to see something as fun, unapologetic, and bold as the new ROO Diver Chronograph, was a truly refreshing experience… even if, technically, it is based on a 1972 design.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

This new chronograph version brings that modern approach to the next level as, at the time of release, there actually are no truly conservative color options for the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph: you can have it in bright yellow, vibrant orange, deep blue (with a splash of yellow), or in-your-face green (facts: that latter one is not an official color code, and it is being reserved for the Geneva boutique only – seriously).

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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The new Diver Chronograph retains many of the original Diver’s trademark design elements. The inner rotating flange ring that can be adjusted via the ceramic crown at the 10 o’clock position is still present, and so is Audemars Piguet’s trademark “Méga Tapisserie” dial pattern with those chunky, well-defined blocks that, to this day, still work so well with the overall theme and looks of the watch. The massive hour and minute hands remain, and so do the applied indices with the faceted edges – upon a closer look, you will find numerous high-end details to keep the new Diver in line with what you would expect from AP when it comes to quality of execution.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The Royal Oak Offshore case is as impressive as ever, too: built like a tank, crafted from beautifully machined and polished steel in a size of 42 millimeters wide and 14.75 millimeters thick. The ROO strikes a fascinating balance, looking like the love child of weapon-grade equipment and fine jewelry. Just look at that profile shot two above: it is chunky, blocky, and yet in some weirdly cool way, justifiably over the top.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

To create some much needed contrast to all this muscle-flexing, the thin, polished and beveled edge that runs along the side of the crown protector bridge, the side of the case and lugs, and also the edge of the bezel all work in tandem to give a high-end feel to a watch that otherwise could easily just come off as a block of brushed steel that tries too hard to impress.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

It was a relief to see Audemars Piguet not shy away from using a see-through case-back, using the 300-meter water resistance rating as an excuse to hide what’s inside. Hence, what you will discover turning the new Diver Chronograph over is the impressive-looking Audemars Piguet Calibre 3124/3841 – a manufacture base caliber with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module on top. That’s right, AP has stuck with this modular construction,  while Vacheron Constantin has at last updated its Overseas (hands-on here), and Patek Philippe’s Nautilus (hands-on here) also has their in-house chronograph movement, albeit at a much higher price.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph Watches Hands-On Hands-On

An easy way to spot and distinguish a modular chronograph movement from an integrated one is to check the pushers and crown of the case: if the chronograph pushers are not on the same level as the crown but further up, then you know there has been a module installed on top of a base movement. Just check the profile shot two above, for a “once seen, you can never unsee” experience. This little detail may or may not be an issue for you – although, arguably, the higher the price, the more expected a fully in-house movement becomes.

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  • word-merchant

    Do you get a discount if you buy the full rainbow?

    • Roma KLM

      Aha, you’ll be complimented with a Certina. ))

      • word-merchant

        Cool! I’m in for a set.

  • Chaz

    Ridiculous poseur watch

  • IanE

    So how many Royal Oak designs are there now? Too many IMHO (esp of the ROO)!

  • I don’t think the Méga Tapisserie dial works very well with the color as this fully eliminates the “light catching” beauty of the original Tapisserie dial as seen on the non-Offshore Royal Oaks. The dials come off as plasticy – in the photos anyway. Besides the lower chronrograph pushers that David noted, another clue that the chronograph function is probably implemented via a module is that none of the chrongraph gizmos (column wheel, levers, clutch wheels, etc.) are visible via the exhibition case back. At this price point, I’d except to see an in-house integrated chronograph movement and a modern 4 Hz frequency.

    • Chaz

      And please add the $5k premium for an AP “in-house”

      • Please don’t add $5K to this already pricey watch 🙂

  • wallydog2

    re the yellow AP (and ‘m dating myself) : “I tot I taw a puddy tat!”

    • Raymond Wilkie

      i did i did i did. : )

      • wallydog2

        A kindred spirit. You must be really old…over 35?

        • Raymond Wilkie

          fourty bluddy seven !,……………i know, am ancient !

  • Raymond Wilkie

    For the same price i would by something a little more understated, This piece although beautifully crafted does nothing for me. Its a bit ” in yer face “. The braclet cheapens it.

    • Shinytoys

      Ray, they got the screws right !!!!!

      • Raymond Wilkie

        And who said it couldn’t be done ! . Pity they didn’t take as much care on the back , shoddy workmanship, moving on,……….

  • frustin

    I’m just not an AP fan.

  • Jerry Davis

    Love this watch as I am a collector of sports watches more than dress watches.
    The price however does seem to be a bit out of line.
    Also would rather see it in a 45mm case.

    • wallydog2

      No disrespect, but when someone says $28,000 for a watch, especially a toy watch, is “a bit out of line”, I know I’m hanging out with the wrong sort of people.

      • Jerry Davis

        Well the $28,000 is the MSRP.
        My guess is that when this watch is released, if you want
        one you will be able to find a much more attractive price.
        It’s all relative though. A $100 fossil watch will tell you the time just fine.

  • Mark Baran

    AP has had some notable achievements over the years. The RO design has certainly become iconic. (The original three-hand RO is still one of my all-time favorite watches.) And the 3120 movement is arguably one of the best automatic movements ever manufactured. It would be really interesting for them to take a shot at a new sports watch design, as opposed to just putting different dial/strap colors on an older design.

    • Jyri

      If original RO is your all-time favourite you should know that it has two hands.

  • WINKS

    As a diver chronograph, will the chronograph function under water like the IWC Aquatimer?

  • Jyri

    AP goes wrong here. I can’t see demand for these at that price point. The lack of integrated in-house movement unjustifies these prices.

    • imageWIS

      And yet the RO OF sells like hotcakes.

  • DanW94

    The 80’s neon colors are not for me, I personally find them off putting as it doesn’t jive with my personality, but I respect the man that can self-assuredly pull these off. It might help if he was a rather large and intimidating man. ” No fine sir, that doesn’t resemble a large chunk of rainbow vomit on your wrist, it’s so you”

    • Dean Walsh

      jibe

  • anonymous

    I don’t understand watch prices these days. Every time I look at a price, I say, “What the f…”?!

    In this case, I swore louder than usual. Who the hell would pay $27,900 for a steel cased (ugly garish coloured) watch with a rubber strap?

    • Chaz

      “Who the hell would pay $27,900 for a steel cased (ugly garish coloured) watch with a rubber strap?” D-bag poseurs that base their decisions on instagram and such, take too many selfies and consistently quote “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”

    • JimBob

      Yeah, it seems pretty nuts.

  • anonymous

    The style of this watch is about as tasteful as Colin Baker’s Doctor Who outfit:

    • iamcalledryan

      He could be wearing all of them and you would struggle to notice…

  • cescfab_4

    Too much thick…

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    Wow! What a FANTASTIC watch from AP! Already I can see all my superstar NBA and MLB pals buying these (and a few music industry legends, as well, whom I am intimate with!). Already I can imagine my next visit inside an NBA locker room, and all they’ve got on are these bright, magnificent AP Royal Oak Offshores! I mean they’ve all got these watches on. Well, you know what I mean! I’m so excited!

    • Emperius

      Might as well get an Invicta.

  • Lawrence

    high maintenance cost

  • Larry Holmack

    So now AP is copying Invicta’s color scheme’s????? I guess we’ll be seeing ROO’s with sky blue straps and purple dials soon????

  • Sarthak Sharma

    The navy one isn’t bad. It reminds me of the color scheme on some IWC Aquatimers. However, the orange and yellow versions belong in some late early 90s pop music video.

  • MJL599

    If you want something over-the-top without compromising on the engineering, this is something to think about. A nice change – most well engineered watches with top-class finishing are either conservative or very conservative and that does not suit everyone!

  • They are a lovely looking piece of engineering and very masculine. Making them available in a range of stand out colours is a great idea alhough it’s easy to get sick of an over bright colour. I’d go for one of the more under stated colours.

  • iamcalledryan

    Love them. The diver is my favorite iteration of the RO OS line. The internal bezel is great and there is something about the case that says “take me under”.

    This is my second favorite model to be offered a “Lamborghini” color palate. First place goes to the mighty UR-105 TA; which I have had the pleasure of trying on and will spend the next decade trying to find a great deal for one…

  • JimBob

    I kind of like the green one.

  • Twinbarrel

    Awesome! I love colours and AP. While probably out of my current price range I would definitely go for one if the watch budget didn’t exist or had a higher allotment.
    I will have a pretty hard time picking a colour though.

    I do believe outstanding colour in high end timepieces is conservatively withheld in fear of ‘change’ to the long established brand image. It draws attention in a big way.
    While I’m positive most brands must have already had a design or two ‘concepts’ on the boardroom table with plenty long meetings to find the right time for their concept watch to be released for production, we will probably never know.

    Bright bold colours have been included by some big brands a few years ago and often sell out before they even arrive at boutiques or AD’s.
    Even before that in our most conservative catalogues from the past we see that when a brand releases a limited edition watch it often stands out because of a bright blue (or other) coloured dial… almost in a frenzy the market responds.

    The market is more than ready for colour. Instagram is full of people showing off their high end bright coloured timepieces and some go as far as matching everything they wear to it or to their cars. For someone who wants to stand out…

  • Richard Baptist

    I like the watches, I would pair with a black rubber strap. The price is a joke.

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    I AM LOSING MY PATIENCE WITH THE COMMENTATORS ON THIS THREAD.

    This is conspicuous consumption at its best. Have you all lost your grip on what is important in horology? It’s about the STATEMENT. It’s about the LIFESTYLE. It’s about the MONEY. And this watch says those things in spades. In fact, the only way you could improve this watch would be for it to be done in gold. Yes, imagine the gold Royal Oak Offshore in not just gold, but yellow gold, with these wonderful sporty attention grabbing straps in orange and yellow!

    A yellow gold version of this watch would be HUGE!

    I am so excited by the idea of a Royal Oak Offshore in Yellow Gold with either the orange or yellow statement rubber strap, that I’m going to make the recommendation to President Trump tonight or tomorrow at one of the Iowa rallies I will be at (as official horologist in attendance) that these should be the OFFICIAL WATCH of the top-tier Trump supporters. With the Panerai as the base level — the full understanding that once President Trump is in charge, Panerais will be the watch of every middle class American.

    Now get your acts together, or I’m going to start banning people.

    The HO.
    Official Horologist to President Trump

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Sarcasm , right ? : ) Mr Trump has been banned from entering Scotland.

      • Dinkee, H. O.

        President Trump has not been banned from any civilized country.

        But I know where this anger is coming from. Don’t worry, Wee Willie Wilkie, he’ll be working for you to own a Panerai, too!

        • Raymond Wilkie

          Erm,………………………………………….ok.

    • Dr. Dunghorse

      Ha Ha go back to banging your erasers together retard! HAHA

      • Dinkee, H. O.

        You better not try posting on my blog, Doctor!

        • Dr. Dunghorse

          You have a blog? Never woulda guessed that one King Mongloid HA HAHA HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHA ALL HAIL BOULDER HEAD!

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      I’ve just fixated on the lime green one! Imagine that in yellow gold! Magnificent!

  • Ulysses31

    It looks like one of those IWC divers on steroids. So many colours. Just to round off the range, they should make the straps fruit scented according to their colour. Blueberry, orange, lemon, lime – the world is their fruit-basket. Don’t mind my confused friend below – there is no value in “conspicuous consumption” for its own sake, except for the soulless. Dinkee? That’s what she said.

  • Dr. Dunghorse

    At first it didn’t look appealing. But considering the brand, it’s a definite winner. It’s a solid watch. Had the back been closed off maybe not. I really like this watch.

  • Marius

    I never understood the appeal of the Offshore line. It looks like a caricature of the Royal Oak, which is not exactly the prettiest watch to begin with.

    Also, I can’t understand the pricing structure. A Royal Oak 15400ST, with a steel bracelet and the fantastic 3120 movement costs $17,000. This Offshore chrono, having a rubber strap and using a tarted-up chrono module costs $28,000. So, you are paying $11,000 for the Depraz chrono module. For $28,000 you could buy a proper Royal Oak 15400 AND a proper chronograph from IWC, GO, JLC, etc, equipped with an integrated, column wheel operated chrono movement.

    • commentator bob

      “I never understood the appeal of the Offshore line. It looks like a caricature of the Royal Oak, which is not exactly the prettiest watch to begin with.”

      AP can’t let Hublot be the only one selling Royal Oak caricatures.

      An integrated column wheel chrono can be had from Longines in a 300 M “compressor” case for about $3,000, so this watch is way past value considerations.

      On the modular chronograph issue: Are you familiar with the “fakewatchbusta” person that uses his huge amount of free time to call out rappers and celebrities for being responsible with their money? He identifies fake Royal Oak chronographs by pointing out that they do not have the deeply recessed date window that is a flaw/comprimise of a modular movement. Basically a Royal Oak chrono is not real unless it’s flawed.

      • Marius

        Thank you for pointing out the fakewatchbusta, it’s very hilarious. It appears that quite a lot of celebrities wear fake watches.

        • commentator bob

          Can’t blame celebrities for wanting integrated chronograph movements in their “Offshores”.

          • Marius

            You are right, it’s like instinct tells them that an integrated chronograph is the proper choice.

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      True, true that the pricing doesn’t make sense on a logical level. Or on an aesthetic level. However, the Royal Oak Offshore transcends logic and value and clear-headed thinking and taste! It is a testosterone buy. Arguments against it are futile. Much like a testosterone vote. It’s HUGE! Fantastic avatar, buy the way.

      • Marius

        Thank you. It is very important to help Donald win this race. Of course, not everyone is so rich as you or I, but every little help that Donald gets is crucial, and will assist him in taking over the White House. Just imagine his innaugural speech in front of the White House: it`s going to be HUGE!

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    I actually like these funky colours. Would consider buying one at about half of the asking price. It is kind of funny that in the original watch release article Arial was talking about lowering end consumer prices.

  • Sevenmack

    Why, oh why does AP kep ruining the Royal Oak legacy with these candy colored rejects from a Ken Kesey acid trip?

  • Coert Welman

    I don’t know. I struggle to get past a feeling of meh.

  • Josh Krut

    To me it only works if there are 30 in each color and it is boutique only. Otherwise, the market for these colors is small.

  • Flávio Maia

    Ap meets Hublot… No, thanks.

  • Simon_Hell

    Whats with those sextagon screws…how much more fake can you get? I like the screwdriver ridge, but how exactly do you unscrew it? This is the dumbest design idea i have ever seen, and don’t care the screw are fake. They shouldn’t scream it.

    • iamcalledryan

      It’s a bolt, it’s not a design idea. The screws are on the other side.

  • Michael Kinney

    That’s the first AP I’ve ever liked, and I like it a lot. Especially the blue colorway. It reminds me of a Hublot Oceanographic 4000, and I mean that in a very good way.

  • Time Swiss Shop

    Thank you for your very good informative article about watches!

    Get more advice and other details, please find it at http://www.timeswissshop.com

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