Black ceramic, titanium, pink gold, and rubber come together to encapsulate the new-for-2020 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph. A boutique-only range of three watches, Audemars Piguet doesn’t appear to have provided any further term, nickname, or other differentiation to these three models joining the ranks of over 30 Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph variations on sale today.
As far as case components go, a closer look reveals that Audemars Piguet really is flexing its muscles with this one. Not one component appears to have just one type of surface treatment; instead, it’s always a combination of brushed and polished decorations with a bit of micro-blasting. Hard enough to do with metal — all the more impressive when done to such high standards in ceramic.
Green, blue, and a combination of 18k pink gold over smoked gray create the three color schemes introduced to entice the well-heeled AP enthusiast looking for a more extravagant take on the Royal Oak. The middle case is in black ceramic that we know to look gorgeous when finished to Audemars Piguet’s high standards of exterior decorations. The pusher and crown guards are titanium that appears to be micro-blasted on the green and blue versions, replaced by 18k pink gold on the most expensive variant. The pushers and crown are always in color-coordinated ceramic with a gold end-piece adding a touch of extra flair to the crown.
The chunky-looking brushed ceramic bezels have polished and beveled edges, framing the Mega Tapisserie dial — it’s a variation of AP’s “tiled” guilloché dials with massive squares in relief, most often used on sportier iterations of the Royal Oak. All three dials have a reserved seat on the smoked dial bandwagon, a trend that has really taken over watch design in recent years. It helps lend the large, 44mm-wide package a more compact appearance. Sitting over the smoked periphery of the dial are large, nearly oversized Arabic numerals framed in pink gold.
All three versions of 2020’s colorful Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph come on color-matched, textured rubber straps with a titanium pin buckle. A sporty touch, for sure, complemented by the 100-meter water resistance rating of the case.
Inside the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph beats the Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Manufacture Calibre 3126/3840. Whereas the 3126 is indeed AP’s manufacture base caliber, its 3840 iteration incorporates a Dubois-Depraz module. Although beautifully finished and topped off with a stunning open-worked rotor, running at just 3 Hertz with a ho-hum power reserve of 50 hours, the 3126 is showing its age. Priced between $34,900 and $42,900, a modular movement with a tiny caliber revealed through a massive caseback is not a combination that does the manufacture’s otherwise stellar watchmaking prowess much justice. With 365 parts and 59 jewels, it sounds a bit like an overly complex caliber that is going to be expensive to service with not much to show for the high component count on its only visible side — through the sapphire crystal caseback.
The Royal Oak Offshore in all its ceramic-clad iterations displays world-class and class-leading surface treatments, decorations, and finishing techniques — and that’s true even if AP’s sterile computer renders of the watches don’t do well at showing off just how beautiful these pieces tend to be in person. Hold these in your hand and you’ll be blown away by just how well this manufacture handles different materials. The exterior, and the dial, for that matter, along with the Royal Oak status will have to counter-balance the average-at-best movement and the hefty price. And, in the eyes of many, successfully counter-balance they will.
There is a price to pay for what is arguably the most beautifully finished sports watch out there. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph in black ceramic for 2020 is priced at $34,900 in blue ceramic and green ceramic, and $42,900 with a bit of pink gold thrown into the mix. You can browse the Royal Oak Offshore collection on the brand’s website.