By Matt Himmelstein
What better way to commemorate the winter season, especially here in the US where much of the country is being buffeted by the Polar Vortex, with a white watch. Audemars Piguet introduced a white ceramic model to the Royal Oak Offshore line for the 2014 line-up. The watch is done in “super ceramic,” a material that is claimed to be significantly harder than the previous ceramics used in the line. The white watch, strap and textured face, complemented with blue for the hands and markers, is quite a statement. For me, it looks like it would be more at home on the slopes than in the ocean, but at around $24,000 it is really going to be seen more in boardrooms and courtside at NBA games.
The bezel is very prominent on the watch, held in place with 8 hexagonal head screws (they must have quite tight tolerances to sit flush in a hexagonal inset). In reality, though I doubt I will get to take one apart, I assume they mate with the 8 more conventional screws holding the exhibition caseback, and those are the ones you loosen to access the movement, an in-house calibre 3130 with a beautifully decorated 22 carat rotor. For the timer functionality of a diver, the watch utilizes an internal rotating bezel that is adjusted by the crown at 10:00.
The watch hits the right notes for a luxury diver, minus perhaps a helium escape valve and a silly 1000m depth rating (this one limits you to 300 m, so no world record free dives). You have an exotic case material, ceramic and titanium, an internal bezel, pricey metals (gold rotor and white gold in the markers), exquisite attention to detail, an in-house movement, and a synthetic strap (for diving). Price for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver White Ceramic is $23,900. audemarspiguet.com
Matt Himmelstein – Contributing Writer
Engineer, weekend warrior and mechanical watch enthusiast. He prefers value oriented brands because, well, those are the ones he can afford while still paying for all his weekend warrior hobbies. New watch makers are also an interest because you can get often get a unique look, and the watch now comes with a story. His favorites in his small collection are a Christopher Ward altimeter style and an Anstead dive watch from a Kickstarter campaign.