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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph "Black Themes" Luxury Watch Review

http://www.thewatchbox.com/watches/audemars-piguet Here's a rare beast. While the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph is familiar to luxury watch collectors, the finest of the 120+ variants (really) of this watch amount to perhaps a dozen models. This Royal Oak Offshore measures 42mm in classic stainless steel; it stands among the apex predators of the high horology landscape. And this one, on the rarely seen full "Offshore" integrated bracelet, is a truly rare species. Collectors who love big watches cannot do any better than this. While other brands trade traditional craft content for visual impact and profit margin, Audemars Piguet continues to construct the Royal Oak Offshore using the same old world diligence as its original Gerald Genta Royal Oak. Even better, this example's full stainless steel bracelet restores the "integrated" sports watch aesthetic pioneered by Genta's 1972 original. Genta designed the Royal Oak to flow as a seamless continuity from bezel to clasp, and the Offshore bracelet endows the mightiest "Oak" with the same visual punch. While the Royal Oak Offshore is best known as a strap-slinger, examples on the exquisitely polished bracelet are show-stoppers that stand apart even among their elite leather-clad brethren. Even AP die-hards are inclined to lose composure when one of these monsters breaks cover. This Royal Oak Offshore is graced with an extraordinary all-black dial known to collectors as the “Black Themes.” Applied 18-karat white gold Arabic numerals jump from the complex texture of the black “Mega Tapisserie” guilloche dial base; diamond-polished white gold hands with SuperLuminova plots complete the composition. All elements of the dial are framed by a graceful concave tachymeter rehaut that sweeps downward from the bezel to provide aesthetic unity to the “Black Themes.” Hand-polished movements, dials turned on 19th century-style pantograph tables, and laboriously finished case components (and the Offshore has many) are the eternal hallmark of the original oversized sports watch. While many have done their best to emulate the Offshore, these efforts amount to shadows of the original. When it comes time to throw down and show the cards, the only extrovert sports watch with the substance to match its style wears "AP" on its dial. An Audemars Piguet caliber 3126 with 3840 vertical-clutch chronograph module provide precision and strength in equal measure. Its 50-hour power reserve decisively trumps the 40-hour autonomy of the older 2326 base movement. In the interest of true sports watch durability, a free-sprung balance with dual-anchored balance bridge keeps the movement beating through shocks that would derail or even disable the more delicate JLC-based 2326. High-efficiency ceramic winding rotor bearings improve winding rate, and their unlubricated races require no maintenance. Finally, because this is Audemars Piguet’s own movement, the standard of finish has been improved over the already impressive JLC predecessor. This 42mm stainless steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore is available from thewatchbox.com in outstanding condition. When shopping for a Royal Oak or Offshore variant, the condition of the bezel and case are critical. Because these watches are extraordinarily labor-intensive to finish and refinish, buying one in immaculate condition is essential. View the ultra-high resolution photography of this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore on our website, and the singular condition of our example will speak for itself. Video and content by Tim Mosso.