Credit must be given to Audemars Piguet for building on a good thing. Since the introduction of the very first Royal Oak, they have built upon the original framework creating many styles and finishes that expands their reach into the market while remaining true to their original vision- a luxury sport watch for a very discerning customer. The basic Royal Oak has been expanded to contain a tourbillion, a chronograph, a perpetual calendar, a grand complication, and more!. You can even get a Royal Oak fully covered in diamonds if that is your thing. Whether it is to your liking or not, AP is always willing to try something new, bold and daring. Speaking of extremes, I love the Royal Oak Offshore Arnold Schwarzenegger Legacy that sits 48mm wide, but unfortunately Ariel already reviewed it, so I can’t.
The strap and case are muted, and black, creating a cohesive design which reminds me of why I fell in love with the Royal Oak thirty-six years ago. With the exception of the new Steel ref. 15400, which tries to come as close to the original “Jumbo” as possible, this watch is the purest, most monochromatic watch, in my opinion (though there is that strip of orange). At first glance, you simply see a black case, eight screws, two strap anchors on the top and bottom of the case where it connects the strap. Bold white numerals pop out from the flange ring, there’s a beautiful orange line from 12:00 to 3:00, and one beautiful orange-and-white minute hand. Upon closer inspection, all of the other magnificent details reveal themselves, like the Mega Tapisserie patterned dial, the titanium case back and buckle, the white gold applied markers, with brilliant white luminescent coating, the rotating inner bezel ring, and all of the other subtle design elements. Note that if you prefer yellow trim versus orange, the Royal Oak Offshore Diver in Forged Carbon (hands-on) is worth looking at.
Flip the watch over, and for the first time in an Offshore Diver, you have a window that shows you the magnificent movement. The juxtaposition is jarring…in a very good way! The 22k rose gold rotor, is magnificently engraved. The contrast between “hard” and “soft” has such a visual impact. The movement is AP’s in-house made caliber 3120. With 40 jewels and 280 components, it has a 60 hour power reserve. It runs at 3 Hz (=21’600 alternances/hour), which is probably the only complaint I have as 4Hz is a more modern frequency. Water resistance is 300 meters, as this is a true diver watch. The Black Ceramic, Royal Oak Offshore Diver will be available later this month or in early November 2013 here in the US. The piece is “boutique only” and the retail price is $23,600. audemarspiguet.com
>Brand: Audemars Piguet
>Model: Black Ceramic Royal Oak Offshore Diver 15707CE.00.A002CA 01
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Anyone who wants a sophisticated, elegant, under the radar “ diver” watch
>Worst characteristic of watch: I have been staring at it the whole time I have been writing this article, and the only element that I would prefer would be a 4 Hz movement, which would make the second hand rotation a bit smoother.
>Best characteristic of watch: Simple, cohesive, iconic design