Audemars Piguet just announced the new Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher limited edition at a press conference in Berlin. Michael Schumacher is not only a seven time Formula 1 world champion, but also a serious watch collector according to industry sources.
|From left: titanium ref. 26568IM, pink gold ref. 26568OM and platinum ref. 26568PM
AP says Schumacher himself was “personally involved” with the design of this watch, which is certainly an upgrade from the Omega Speedmaster limited editions that were churned out year on year when he was world champion.
As is usual for ROO limited editions, this will be available in titanium, pink gold and platinum (refs. 26568IM, 26568OM and 26568PM respectively). And like previous ROO editions, there are many design elements that subtly refer to the theme of the edition. Though the watch itself, the sum of the parts, is remarkably oversized and loud, the design elements are subtle. The case is 44 mm with a Cermet bezel – secured by Allen key hex heads – and a rubber strap. First used for the Kidz Horizon Royal Oak piece unique, Cermet is a ceramic composite that is glossy and smooth.
Titanium is used for the exceptionally large chronograph pusher guards, while the pushers themselves are ceramic and titanium. And the metal of the crown, which is shaped like a gear wheel, matches the case (except for the platinum version which has a white gold crown).
Schumacher’s seven world championships are commemorated on the dial with with seven small stars starting at 12 o’clock. The two in blue represent the two championships Schumacher won for Benetton, and the five red stars are a nod to his victories driving for Ferrari.
The automotive theme continues with the checkered flag motif of the minute track, while the chronograph counters are meant to look like dashboard instruments. And the hands, which are a new shape for the Offshore, are meant to evoke the monocoque shell of an F1 car. Inside is the calibre 3126/3840 which is AP’s in-house automatic calibre with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module on top. The movement, along with the grey-galvanised 22k gold rotor, are visible through the display back.
AP’s in-house caliber is a well finished and strongly built calibre, but the module is not exceptionally interesting or uncommon. At this price point it can and should be better, but the buyers of this watch will probably not care. 1000 pieces will be made in titanium (retailing for USD42,500), 500 in pink gold (USD75,000) and 100 in platinum (USD110,000). Most AP Offshore limited editions look best in pink gold, and this is no exception. – SJX
|Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher titanium
|Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher pink gold
|Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher platinum