Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver has been updated. The prestigious maison has simultaneously unveiled this sublime version, Ref. 15710ST.OO.A002CA.02, with a silver-toned dial and an exhibition caseback.
This detailed review of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver includes live images, specification details and pricing.
On the rare occasions I’ve attended the theatre, my eyes have gazed at the performance ahead and I’ve shared the same perspective as the rest of the audience. However, I have also felt a compunction to observe the wings of the stage, eager to glimpse a behind the scenes look at the ungarnished actors, free of their theatrical veneer.
Over the years, I have eaten in many restaurants and enjoyed the culinary delights on offer. Sumptuously appointed seating areas and attentive staff have enhanced my experience. Nevertheless, somewhere in my subconscious a small voice has urged me to sneakily peek through the swinging kitchen doors and observe the hidden goings-on. I suspect my motivation is to validate the establishment’s hygiene practices ‘back of house’.
Quite simply, I am nosy.
When it comes to purchasing a fine timepiece, I have always felt an overwhelming urge to view the movement finishing at close quarters. Thankfully, many wristwatches are conveniently equipped with an exhibition caseback, according a view behind the dial. Indeed, many maisons are blissfully aware that likeminded, pernickety souls derive much pleasure from seeing a finely crafted movement.
One genre of timepiece which I adore is the diver’s watch. The robust character of these watches proves very practical for daily wear. The notable degree of water resistance perfectly suits an active lifestyle and the strong emphasis on legibility, even in restricted light, provides a powerful argument for acquisition. However, traditionally divers’ watches have been equipped with solid casebacks, frustrating my inquisitive eyes.
Audemars Piguet is one of my favourite watch brands and I am no stranger to the delights which AP ownership confers. Furthermore, I have long admired the sturdy nature of its Royal Oak Offshore Diver collection with their ‘Méga Tapisserie’ dials, albeit until recently, these watches have thwarted my voyeuristic tendencies owing to their solid casebacks. In 2013, the Swiss maison unveiled a special, ‘Boutique Only’ version of the ROO Diver in black ceramic with a sapphire crystal gracing its dorsal plane. It was love at first sight and I have often dreamt of adding this watch to my short list of horological assets.
In 2015, Audemars Piguet launched the Royal Oak Offshore with an ‘open caseback’. While the brand had unveiled the aforementioned ‘Boutique Only’ model two years beforehand, this was the first time the ‘standard’ model revealed its mechanical thought processes to the wearer. This specification change also coincided with the launch of a new colour scheme, an achingly gorgeous silver shade.
This version of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver discloses a sumptuous dial vista. The silver-toned dial evinces a luxurious character which seems slightly at odds with the typically utilitarian nature of a diver’s watch. This is not merely a diver’s watch, but a stylish, masculine expression of horological grandeur.
The shimmering nature of the gleaming dial does not detract from the functionality of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver. Its ‘Royal Oak hands’ and white gold applied hour-markers successfully unite to relay time with clear, concise dialogue.
At 3 o’clock, the date is presented with black numerals against a silvery-white date disc. Despite the chosen font being slender, the legibility of the numerals proves excellent. A crown, positioned adjacent 10 o’clock, allows the wearer to adjust the internal rotating bezel. The bezel is ‘silver-toned’ and marked with Arabic numerals every 10 minute integer, except for the decompression zone (60 to 15 minutes) which is black and marked with contrasting strokes, denoting each minute.
The supremely slim centre seconds hand blends silver and black hues to harmonious affect. Indeed, one of the strengths of this dial composition relates to the restricted number of colours employed. At no stage does the wearer feel overburdened with conflicting colours, busy details or overly styled elements.
Unlike the Royal Oak models which feature intricately formed ‘Petite Tapisserie’ or ‘Grande Tapisserie’ dials, painstakingly gestated with engraving machines, the ‘Méga Tapisserie’ pattern found on the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver is stamped. However, do not misconstrue, the beauty of this motif remains profound, bestowing a seemly depth to the dial vista and shimmering sweetly in ambient light.
The 42mm case diameter confers universal appeal, proving optimally sized for the majority of prospective purchasers. The stainless steel construction proffers an honest-to-goodness appeal and, courtesy of its hewn from granite construction, a pledge of long-term service.
The two black rubber-clad screw down crowns suggest a capacity to shrug off minor impacts, while offering ease of adjustment. The crown at 3 o’clock nestles between crown guards, augmenting the robustness of the watch. The crown at 10 o’clock employs a ratcheted mechanism to prevent wearers inadvertently increasing the indicated dive time whilst underwater.
My encounter with this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver revealed an impressive level of wearer comfort. The black rubber strap envelopes the wrist snuggly, feeling secure but without imposing an undue presence upon the arm. The stainless steel ardillon buckle features a broad, flat pin which engages with rectangular shaped apertures in the strap, providing secure fastening.
There is an obvious virtue to the case. The iconic octagonal bezel sports eight gleaming, octagonal screws which contrast against satin-brushed surfaces. The highly polished chamfered edge of the bezel also attractively sparkles, exuding a sense of opulence.
One reason for my affection for this watch relates to the said exhibition caseback. However, there are other reasons to admire the rear of this watch. The caseback shares a similar octagonal profile to its dial-side counterpart, again it features a highly polished chamfered edge and is retained with eight purposeful flathead screws.
Thankfully, Audemars Piguet no longer chooses to be bashful by hiding its exalted craftsmanship behind a solid caseback. The self-winding Calibre 3120 is freely disclosed via the caudal flank of the watch.
Discerning eyes are indulged with a beautiful view of the 22-carat gold oscillating mass. The especial rotor is beautifully adorned with a series of relief engravings and rotates on ceramic ball bearings.
The bridges are executed with exquisite Côtes de Genève. Indeed, each line of the Geneva Stripes is silky smooth, contrasting superbly with its neighbours. The bevels of the bridges are ‘diamond graved’, betraying the glistening splendour only found with the finest examples of haute horlogerie.
Polished sinks for the jewels and screws reinforce the sense of horological propriety.
The balance is equipped with in-board positional weights in order to fine tune the rate of the watch. The chosen location of these weights mitigates air turbulence, which can be a potential problem with a screwed balance, aiding precision. A screwed mobile stud holder for the balance spring is another indication of the exacting standards found with this Audemars Piguet timepiece.
Finally, the prestigious horological maison from Le Brassus has revealed another spectacle for the delectation of connoisseurs. Adjacent the oscillating balance wheel, matchless spotting can be seen on the mainplate. Frankly, there are a multitude of details to sate the desires of the most demanding connoisseur.
To date, this is my favourite example of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver. Its restricted use of colour, crisp hands and applied indexes all collaborate to impart time with simple to interpret tone. Moreover, the sturdy case construction suggests a lifetime of faithful service.
The fitment of an exhibition caseback seems befitting of a timepiece of this stature. By setting aside the tradition for divers’ watches to feature solid casebacks, Audemars Piguet has been able to showcase the mechanical prowess it has gained since its foundation in 1875. Indeed, here is a watch that allows me to see behind the curtain where master watchmakers craft splendiferous horological creations and indulge my inquisitive nature.
- Model: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
- Ref: 15710ST.OO.A002CA.02
- Case: stainless steel; diameter 42.00mm; height 14.10mm; water resistant to 30 bar (300 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central seconds; date.
- Movement: Calibre 3120, self-winding movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz), 40 jewels; power reserve 60 hours; 280 parts
- Strap: Black rubber strap with stainless steel pin buckle