Audemars Piguet Introduces the First All-Ceramic Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph

Black ceramic case and bracelet.

Amongst the usual Royal Oaks just debuted by Audemars Piguet (AP) is the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm Black Ceramic. It’s the very first Offshore entirely in ceramic – both the case and bracelet are ceramic, as are the pushers and crown. And like all newer Offshore 42 mm models, it’s powered by the in-house cal. 4404.

Initial thoughts

The new Offshore is a straightforward proposition – monochromatic in black and white, and mostly ceramic. It’s essentially the original Offshore in a fancier execution, both in terms of materials as well as the movement. So you appreciate the relative simplicity of the original Offshore design, this is easy to like.

Part of the appeal comes from the material. The all-black ceramic livery suits the no-frills aesthetic of the original Offshore well.

At the same time, AP excels at finishing ceramic so the case and bracelet have the same lustrous surfaces as their metal counterparts. As a result, the watch has a tangible, tactile quality that is appealing. That said, ceramic is slightly glossier than metal, so the brushed surfaces don’t have the same matte finish as the metal equivalents.

The only downside is the price – CHF70,000 before taxes. That’s almost double the model in steel and only a little less than the version in rose gold. According to AP that’s due to the difficulty of finishing the ceramic bracelet, but the price is still difficult to rationalise.

Ceramic end to end

While AP does offer Royal Oak models with a ceramic bracelet – the perpetual calendar and 34 mm model come to mind – this is the first Offshore with a ceramic bracelet. As a result, the watch is almost entirely ceramic, right down to the crown and pushers. But the exposed nuts on the bezel are white gold, while the folding clasp and case back are titanium.

Though the ceramic bracelet is novel, the design is classic Offshore. It takes after the original Offshore of 1993, with almost the same styling. The overall design is the same, as is the 42 mm case diameter.

The dial retains the petite tapisserie dial of the original model, but the position of the hour and minute registers have been inverted. Now the seconds register is at six, while the hours are at 12, as they are on other current 42 mm Offshores.

That’s a consequence of the cal. 4404 inside, which replaced the modular movements with a Jaeger-LeCoultre base in the original. The cal. 4404 is a far more sophisticated calibre than its predecessor. Amongst other things it is an integrated construction with a flyback feature. And it also incorporates the typical features of a modern movement, namely a column wheel and vertical clutch.

Key facts and price

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm Black Ceramic

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 15.3 mm
Material: Black ceramic
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Cal. 4404
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, and flyback chronograph
Winding: Self-winding
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Black ceramic bracelet with titanium folding clasp

Limited edition: No
Availability: At AP boutiques and AP Houses
Price: CHF70,000 without taxes

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