Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph | Image: Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet Drops First-Ever Black Ceramic ‘Beast’

Last year saw ultra-luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet unveil a host of exciting new Royal Oak models. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of its seminal sports watch, fans were hit with new sizes, colours and movements. For the first half of 2023, AP seems to be continuing that theme – but with a slight difference. This year marks 30 years since the brand introduced one of the Royal Oak’s most memorable iterations, the Offshore – affectionately known as the Beast. So far we’ve seen this watch in a host of colours and metals, but to really grab its fans’ attention AP needed to do something memorable with the first commemorative piece. And wow, didn’t they do that? The Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph is a stunning watch that gives the 1993 original a visual makeover.

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Audemars piguet royal oak offshore chrono

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph | Image: Audemars Piguet

AP’s Royal Oak is quite rightly an icon. Released in 1972, it’s widely acknowledged as the world’s first luxury sports watch and its octagonal design is instantly recognisable. But for a brief period, Royal Oak sales were in decline. The Le Brassus-based watchmaker responded with a new dynamic interpretation marketed to a younger demographic and the Beast was born.

To celebrate 30 years of that groundbreaking model, AP has unveiled a new blacked-out variation. We’ve seen black ceramic cases on previous AP watches, but for the first time ever, the brand is using the material in the ROO line. It makes for a robust and substantial piece, a sharp contrast to the Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin that we’ve also featured recently.

Audemars piguet royal oak offshore chrono

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph | Image: Audemars Piguet

Ceramic is a notoriously difficult material to work with, so AP’s expert watchmakers have hand finished the 42mm case. It includes both polished and satin surfaces. We’d love to tell you more details of its creation, but the exact composition of the ceramic case is a closely guarded secret.

Despite Audemars Piguet’s position as a luxury watchmaker, the overall impression here is of a militaristic tool watch with excellent legibility. The black ceramic case is paired with a matching integrated bracelet, giving the watch a very simple monochrome style (the case back is titanium and the screws on the dial are white gold). But the straightforward white markers on AP’s signature Petite Tapisserie dial offer a contrast and the round date window adds a distinctive touch.

Audemars piguet royal oak offshore chrono

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph | Image: Audemars Piguet

The Royal Oak Offshore is powered by the in-house Calibre 4404 Flyback Chronograph movement, operated by pushers that are also forged from black ceramic. They sit neatly alongside a ceramic crown, housed between prominent crown guards.

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This is an authentic homage to AP’s original Beast model and for the first time offers full ceramic construction. It’s a watch with true wrist presence and is only the first of the manufacturer’s Offshore anniversary models.

Check it out

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph | Image: Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph | Image: Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 26238CE.OO.1300CE.01

Diameter: 42mm
Height: 15.3mm
Case: Black Ceramic
Movement: In-house Calibre 4404
Bracelet: Ceramic
Crystal: Sapphire
Water Resistance: 100M
Price: USD$84,400


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Lee Smith
Contributor

Lee Smith

Lee Smith lives in Tynemouth, England. Having graduated with a BA(Hons) from Sheffield University (1996) he spent several years at a FTSE 100 software company. He left to pursue his love of literature and opened a bookstore. As well as exhibiting books at events around the UK, he also became manager of the annual Alnwick Bookfair. In 2016 Lee switched to his other passion - watches. He began retailing niche brands and launched his own microbrand. He then used his extensive knowledge of watches to write a popular blog. Since 2020 he's written about watches full time.