By Nick A. Meijer
The Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication, a contemporary 44 mm-diameter titanium and ceramic watch teamed with a rubber strap, features powerful, generous lines. Its carefully designed structure serves to reveal its wearer’s inherent masculinity through the subtle characteristics of its simple yet complex geometrical shapes. It is also endowed with the rare ability to transcend the potential of a traditional self-winding movement uniting the supremely refined minute repeater, split-second chronograph and perpetual calendar complications.
The Royal Oak Offshore was born in 1993. This model, an ultra-sporty and virile extension of the model designed two decades earlier by Gérald Genta, has become an icon within the luxury world. 20 years on, this watch is now being enriched for the first time ever with an exceptional Grande Complication movement. Its mechanical self-winding heart houses four advanced functions, three of which were chosen as belonging to one of the three groups that form what are known in trade jargon as “classic complications”. In practical terms, in addition to providing a standard time display, this contemporary and eminently masculine watch 44 mm-diameter makes it possible to perform timekeeping operations and to read off intermediate or “split” times thanks to the addition of a split-second complication. Its amazingly charismatic titanium and ceramic case also houses a minute repeater mechanism, a rare complication serving to chime the hours, quarters and minutes on demand. And as if all that were not enough, the watchmakers have also added the perpetual calendar complication that is keenly appreciated by connoisseurs. As its name implies, it provides a perpetual display of calendar indications, as well as of lunar cycles.
This classical work of art, interpreted in a resolutely modern way by Audemars Piguet, establishes itself as a compendium of the art of watchmaking. It is the material expression of the talent and mastery exercised by the watchmakers united within the workshops of the Manufacture. Within this impressive horological accomplishment, the 648 parts sharing the 8 cm3 space allotted to the movement are finished with exemplary care. Contemporary finishes such as sandblasting are designed to highlight more traditional treatments such as bevelling or hand-drawn flanks. To reveal the exceptional nature of this model, the parts composing this exceptional art are partially visible through the transparent sapphire dial and by a fitted exhibition back. The latter in particular provides a view of the solid gold oscillating weight featuring a black coating serving to accentuate the overall contemporary touch that the watchmakers have chosen to give this model.
Such a resolutely futuristic interpretation of a movement crafted in an entirely traditional manner is a clear-cut statement that in order to break conventional rules, you must first master them. The movement thus becomes a material embodiment of this an initially abstract principle. Nonetheless, it is precisely the tailoring of this Grande Complication movement to today’s world that endows this timepiece with a truly iconic dimension. This is because, above and beyond mere words, this contemporary horological work of art remains a creation made individually and exclusively to order by a single artisan who will devote over 700 hours of patient craftsmanship to every single watch. At the end of the day, each detail of this finished titanium and ceramic watch fitted with a rubber strap demonstrates the extent to which the Manufacture Audemars Piguet entirely masters the art of classic horology and is capable of offering a decidedly modern take on tradition.
GRANDE COMPLICATION ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE TITANE
Titanium case (44 mm), glareproofed sapphire crystal and case-back, black ceramic bezel, crown and pushpieces, water-resistant to 20 m.
Sapphire dial, white counters, white gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating, light silver-toned inner bezel ring
Minute repeater, perpetual calendar, split-second chronograph, hours, minutes, small seconds
– Calibre 2885, self-winding
– Total diameter: 31.60 mm (14 lignes)
– Movement thickness: 8.95 mm
– Number of jewels: 52
– Number of parts: 648
– Minimum guaranteed power reserve (hours): 45
– Cadence of the balance: 19,800 vibrations/hour
– Grande Complication movement
– Column-wheel chronograph mechanism
– Striking mechanism sounding on two gongs placed on the same level
– Metallised sapphire moon-phase indicators
– Customisable oscillating weight
– Hand-finished cut-out parts (polished bevels, beadblasted, matt surface underneath)
-Hand-finished bridges (rounded-off and polished bevels, satin-brushed flanks, circular-grained recesses)
Black rubber strap with titanium pin buckle
3-piece limited edition