Despite the svelte profile though, the gold 15202 is a surprisingly hefty watch. This tactile illusion is due, of course to the fact that gold’s density is almost 3 times that of stainless steel, lending the assertive wrist presence of a much larger sports view to one which can otherwise slip easily under the cuff of a dress shirt. When you examine the bracelet and case when thinking about the weight of the gold, the slim profile but strong gold appearance presents a contrasted personality that works well. It is safe, but a modern design icon within an old-school material.From the dial-side, the appearance and texture of this 15202 is distinctly timeless — such as a vintage re-issue of this original 5402 in golden. Inside though, beats another story. Here we’ve got the Caliber 2121, currently produced in house by Audemars Piguet Most Expensive Watch 2012 Replica (in the Royal Oak’s formative years, the 2121 was really created by Jaeger LeCoultre). It’s an ultra-thin automated movement measuring 3.05mm thick, and characterized with a particular 2.75Hz (19,800 vibrations per hour), although marginally lower-than-average alternance isn’t easily visible as the 15202 doesn’t feature a running moments hand. Contrary to the 5402 that prompted it, the 15202 has a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback, through which the cal. 2121’s 21-carat gold rotor is observable, as it slides back and forth about the circular rail running the circumference of the motion — one of the tricks allowing the 2121’s signature thinness.In complete, the 15202 will be available in three variants — the newest gold alternatives (yellow gold onto champagne yellow, or yellow gold on blue) combine the existing stainless steel 15202 that was re-introduced back in 2012. While the stainless steel Extra-Thin Jumbo Royal Oak starts at approximately $22,000, people looking to ‘remain gold’ could expect to part with more double that — $55,000 for the 18-carat gold variants.
In a striking departure from the original design, Audemars Piguet just unveiled the Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph, in an aggressive restyling for the 25th anniversary of its iconic oversized sports watch. Excepting the Royal Oak Concept of 2002, the 25th anniversary Offshore is arguably the most radical reimagining of the octagonal design to date.
Slated to mark its birthday next year, the Royal Oak Offshore was introduced in 1993, itself a commemorative model meant to mark the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak. Designed by a Emmanuel Gueit, now an independent designer whose greatest triumph was the Offshore, the watch was a beefed up, 42mm version of the slim, original Royal Oak, making it almost abnormally large for the era. While it was met with criticism from the industry – Royal Oak designer Gerald Genta reputedly disliked it – the Offshore grew to become one of the most influential watches in contemporary watchmaking, surpassing the Royal Oak in pop cultural significance.
In the early to mid 2000s the Offshore was arguably the hottest watch of the era, acquiring a cult status among celebrities and athletes, especially in the United States, with over 120 iterations and special limited editions, including versions dedicated to Jay-Z, Arnold Schwarzenegger and LeBron James.
The Offshore undergone slight tweaks over the years – once in 2006 and again in 2014 – but never to the extent undertaken with the new Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph. Slated for an official launch at SIHH 2018, it is both edgy and open-worked, gaining a menacing profile thanks to an entirely redesigned dial, movement and bezel.
While the complications and movement are based on an existing model (the refs. 26388PO & 26288OR), the anniversary model is defined by a new bezel. The famous octagonal bezel was slimmed down and hollowed out around the exposed screw heads (which are actually nuts as Royal Oak fans will know). In turn, the dial has been reduced to a series of eight skeletonised bridges that are secured by the eight nuts. Four of the largest bridges secure each of the twin barrels, as well as the tourbillon.
While the case has retained its signature style, subtle changes have given it a more athletic profile. The bevels on the flanks of the lugs are wider and more pronounced, for instance. It measures 45mm in diameter, and is available in both stainless steel and pink gold.
And as with the second generation Offshore chronograph, the crown and pushpieces are now in black ceramic instead of rubber-coated metal. On the steel model the pushpiece guards are titanium, while while the gold version they are in pink gold.
While the cal. 2947 movement inside is new, it is a variant of the existing cal. 2933. It is hand-wound, with both an integrated column wheel chronograph and tourbillon regulator, as well as double barrels that offer a seven-day power reserve.
Price and Availability
Limited to 50 pieces each, Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph in stainless steel (ref. 26421ST.OO.A002CA.01) is priced at SFr275,000 and the pink gold (ref. 26421OR.OO.A002CA.01) at SFr310,000; prices exclude taxes.