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Back in black

Audemars Piguet uses monochrome ceramic to mark 30 years of the Royal Oak Offshore 'Beast'

Back in black
Yellow gold contrasts with black ceramic in the latest Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 43mm powered by Calibre 4401.

The oversized Royal Oak Offshore, fondly nicknamed by collectors "The Beast", debuted in 1993 when smaller watches were all the rage. Just like in the fairy tale, the beast turns out to be a prince in Audemars Piguet's universe.

The Royal Oak Offshore is the constantly-evolving sporty timepiece dressed in various materials, such as steel, gold, titanium and forged carbon.

Audemars Piguet explores black ceramic as an armour for three recently-launched models that mark the 30-year milestone.

The ceramic's exact composition is a well-kept secret, but it's partly made of zirconium oxide powder.

Its homogeneous colour only appears once the material is sintered at temperatures over 1,000°C while the resulting hardness makes the black ceramic challenging to work with.

Other challenges include marrying the complex lines of the Royal Oak Offshore case with the signature alternating polished and satin finishing that further reveals the material's subtleties.

Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm in black ceramic with a Petite Tapisserie dial. (Photos courtesy of Audemars Piguet)

This juxtaposition of the finishing techniques gives life to the multifaceted case, which plays with the light following the movement of the wrist.

For the first time, Audemars Piguet has used black ceramic for the case, bracelet, push-pieces and screw-locked crown of the new monochrome Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm.

Eight white gold screws attaching the bezel to the case along with luminescent applied hour-markers and titanium caseback stand out on the dark design.

This chronograph is one of the collection's three current models, whose dials differentiate with a Petite Tapisserie instead of the usual Méga Tapisserie pattern. The dial is in the same matte black colour.

Three emblematic counters unfold around two large luminescent hour and minute hands. The vertical layout has the small seconds at 6 o'clock, chronograph minutes at 9 o'clock and chronograph hours at 12 o'clock.

Each of the counters is accompanied by a white hand offering a distinct contrast that is further accentuated by a disc of white Arabic numerals. To further enhance legibility, a wide range of finishings have been developed for this timepiece.

Yellow gold contrasts with black ceramic in the latest Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 43mm powered by Calibre 4401.

On the caseback, the sapphire crystal reveals Calibre 4404, its pink gold oscillating weight and column wheel.

The flyback function, unlike a traditional chronograph, allows it to be restarted without having to first stop and reset it.

A patented zero resetting mechanism ensures that each one of the counter hands instantaneously returns to the starting position.

The other two new black ceramic watches with striking accents are in a generous size of 43mm.

Yellow gold elements shine against black ceramic on the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 43mm. The ergonomic case design incorporates large polished chamfers on the edges while the bezel gently arcs from 6 to 12 o'clock.

An array of textures, depths and lines has been incorporated into the two-tone dial with a gold AP monogram atop the black Méga Tapisserie motif. The yellow gold Royal Oak hands and hour markers are decorated with black lacquer.

Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph 43mm sports a full black ceramic case and an architectural dial combining black and green hues.

Besides appearing on the dial, push-piece guards, studs and buckle, yellow gold frames the pane of the caseback's sapphire crystal, which gives a view of Audemars Piguet's latest chronograph movement, Calibre 4401.

Following its launch in 1993, The Beast became bigger in 2021 when Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph 43mm.

On the occasion of the collection's 30th anniversary, a reinterpretation in a full black ceramic case is designed with green accents to highlight the micro-mechanics.

Based in Le Brassus since 1875, the Swiss maison has expanded its manufacturing to a second site in Le Locle, where the development of complications advances its haute horlogerie.

A dramatic evolution of Calibre 2967 ensures the performance of the latest Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph 43mm, which is a limited edition of 100 pieces.

The 526-part movement is regulated by a flying tourbillon, whose single underlying bridge holds the rotating cage at 6 o'clock.

Selfwinding Calibre 2967.

While calling on traditional techniques, it aesthetically sports a contemporary 3D architecture. Bright external polished chamfers highlight the bridges' titanium base and add depth to the multi-layered movement.

Finished with satin-brushing and hand-polished angles, the architectural black PVD-coated titanium bridges are enriched with vivid green inserts endowed with an even aluminium coating, achieved through an electrolytic process called anodisation.

A green anodised inner bezel serves as the minutes track while pink gold hands with luminescent coating circle the dial and red chronograph hands add a flash of colour.

Outlined with a black outer ring, two translucent chronograph counters leave an unencumbered view of the two-tone movement that reinforces Audemars Piguet's prowess in complications.

Moreover, the latest-generation Royal Oak Offshore is fitted with an interchangeable strap system that allows swapping with a quick click and release mechanism. A double-push system further grants optimum security when wearing the oversized sports watch for any activity.

Selfwinding Calibre 4404.

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