Watch of the Month: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
Audemars Piguet’s iconic Royal Oak needs no introduction. Its octagonal bezel, secured with perfectly aligned, polished hexagonal screws made of white gold, and the way it strikes a balance between elegance and sportiness have sealed its place as one of the all-time greats in watch design.
The original Royal Oak made its debut in 1972, followed up by the sportier and more generously sized Royal Oak Offshore in 1992. The more recent Royal Oak Offshore Diver is built on the foundations of the beefed up Royal Oak. Released in 2010 at SIHH in Geneva, the Royal Oak Offshore Diver was a natural extension to the Royal Oak line. Despite the Royal Oak’s link to the naval world – it shares the name with several British warships – the line year- had lacked a proper diver’s watch for almost 40 years.
So what do we mean by “proper?” Well, the key specifications of any purpose-built dive watch are be extra water resistance – 300 m for the diver, compared to 120 m for the ordinary Royal Oak – and a dedicated timing device that allows for the measurement of dive times. Instead of the more common external rotating bezel, the Diver has a rotating flange on the periphery of the dial operating by the ceramic crown at 11 o’clock.
The Royal Oak Offshore Diver has seen a number of cool and high-tech iterations over the last six years. It started with a basic 42 mm wide model in steel, unsurprisingly, but that was followed up with variants in carbon composite cases with ceramic bezels, and subsequently even cases entirely in white or black ceramic. All these three-handed versions are powered by the beautifully finished, in-house caliber 3120 movement that features a solid gold rotor sporting the Audemars and Piguet families’ coat of arms.
In 2016 Audemars Piguet has released the latest extension of the Diver line: the Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph. A two-sub-dial configuration for the chronograph is the result of the in-house 3120 base movement and a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module. Through the sapphire crystal case-back the base movement is visible – no signs of it being a chronograph, as all components of that mechanism are located on the dial side, thanks to the modular construction.
Audemars Piguet kept all the features that makes the Diver a diver’s watch, retaining the inner rotating bezel and 300 m water resistance. Available in steel with four different dial colors, the Diver Chronograph is surely going to be a line of coveted dive watches that we are going to see expand in the future, through the use of new materials.
View the full range of Audemars Piguet’s collections.