Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak series is one of the most recognisable in the world. Its bold octagonal face has as many incarnations as it does admirers, and in this year’s SIHH show it added several new faces to its line up which show a true sense of innovation from one of the world’s leading watch brands.
Launched in 1993, the larger, sportier Royal Oak Offshore celebrates its 20th anniversary this season, and to mark the event, Audemars Piguet has established the Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication – a stunning timepiece that combines three”classic” complications: a split-seconds chronograph, a minute repeater and a perpetual calendar. Audemars Piguet has been producing high complications since 1882, but that is the first time that the Royal Oak Offshore was graced with a Grande Complication. The motion – created and constructed entirely by hand in the house’s ateliers – is the Calibre 2885, that includes an impressive 648 parts, visible through the facial skin and via the sapphire glass caseback window. A conventional movement in a daring, confident human anatomy, this highly limited timepiece is available in either pink gold or titanium, with only 3 pieces being made in each finish.
Several other Royal Oak Offshore models also made their debut at the SIHH 2013: the Chronograph along with the Diver. The Chronograph 44mm is a first for this particular collection, the only Offshore to feature an all-ceramic case and bezel in a brushed-satin finish. Pairing a ceramic construct together with all the Royal Oak Offshore gives it a strong – and highly durable – aesthetic. Ceramic is far harder than steel, and it would take the hardness of a diamond to sully its surface. The Diver 42mm is also fitted with a black ceramic case and bezel, plus easy-grip crowns for sub-aquatic use. To improve underwater readability, a luminescent orange hand was fitted over its black dial, which bears the traditional’Méga Tapisserie’ design. This matches with the zone between 12 and 3 o’clock on the rotating inner bezel ring. Designed for that discerning of Audemars Piguet watches admirers, it’s motivated by a 1920s cushion-shaped pocket-watch from the brand’s private museum. As moment repeaters go, its has the excess benefit on its rivals – very literally. The harmonious balance of light and hard materials contained inside the 47mm titanium case gives the ultimate acoustic performance. This hand-wound second repeater view, with tourbillon, chronograph and tiny seconds at 6 o’clock, will be generated in two 10-piece limited editions, one in pink and white gold, another in titanium and white gold.