Hubert Burda Media

Pre-SIHH ’18: Audemars Piguet

There are two types of men – those that believe Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak is design perfection and the others that believe its sibling, the Royal Oak Offshore is where the real deal is at. If you’re part of the latter, just know that the ROO is celebrating its 25th anniversary next year and a slew of novelties can be expected.

First up, the brand will be showcasing a re-edition of the original Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph with the original rubber pushers for the chronograph functions (the updated ROOs have used ceramic pushers for sometime now) and will be made available in a 42mm case, the same as the first that debuted in 1993. It’s hard to imagine that just a quarter of a century ago, 42mm was considered largely oversized and if anything, goes to show how Audemars Piguet has continually predicted trends.

All the finer points of the Royal Oak are there – the beautiful Petite Tapisserie (rather than the Mega Tapisserie that’s on modern ROOs), the many different finishes across the case and bracelet, and an in-house chronograph movement. It’s a handsome watch and perfect for the Goldilocks-like consumer who feels that the 45mm ROOs have evolved too much.

For those that like the modern ROOs though, Audemars Piguet has also released a new 45mm Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph 25th Anniversary (the two on the right) with an entirely redesigned movement available in pink gold or stainless steel. If the piece on the left is AP looking at the past, the two on the right are definitely examples of the brand looking to the future. While the case shape and most of the external aesthetics aren’t a far departure from the core Royal Oak Offshore collection, the real kicker is in inside that.

The eight screws around the watch’s bezel aren’t used to secure the bezel (as with older Royal Oaks) but used now as anchors for the movement and dial. The architecture of the watch is stunning and the placement of these screws sits under the sapphire glass instead of the bezel, evolving the ROO look. As for the movement itself, while the functions are close to the previous version of the ROO Tourbillon Chronograph, Audemars Piguet has stepped up with the way it’s been put together.

You can see the two main barrels for seven days of power reserve (kinda shaped like a figure eight), the tourbillon regulator at nine o’clock and the chronograph at three o’clock but with this new suspended architecture from the bezel in, everything ties in subtly and perfectly. There’s plenty of depth to a piece like this and it’s going to be hard for the brand to top this one at the fair.

But you already knew they would, didn’t you?