It is always an interesting situation to see when a luxury watchmaker decides, after seeing that one of their watch lines has been very successful, to do an offshoot watch under that same line’s name. The reason for this is that, whether they are aware of it or not, subconsciously, it invites comparisons between the two timepieces.
For the purposes of this article, we have decided to compare two of Audemars Piguet’s most popular watches: the Royal Oak, and its companion piece, the Royal Oak Offshore. As a leading manufacturer of high-quality custom rubber watch bands and rubber straps, we believe it is important to spotlight companies and products who share similar ideals to ours where dedication to quality is concerned. Both the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and its younger Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore are two of the finest timepieces created today.
What Is Important to Know About the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak?
The Royal Oak has long been considered one of the flagship lines in the esteemed collection of Piguet timepieces. The design of the watch dates back to the early 1970’s, and at the time, it was seen as very radical and somewhat futuristic. The origin of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak began in 1971 when Audemars Piguet hired superior watchmaker Gerald Genta to design the first luxury sports watch. This was right in the middle of the Quartz crisis, when traditional watchmaking seemed old fashioned and many predicted it was an end of an era. However, Genta took a piece of old fashioned diving history and was inspired by the exposed screws on the metal diving helmet. He modeled the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak on this helmet idea, using a unique octagonal shape and exposing the screws on the bezel.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak looked different than most of the timepieces at the time. It was thicker than many timepieces with a 7 mm width and a 39 mm case. Genta gave the new timepiece the name “Royal Oak.” The name Royal Oak had been applied to many ships in the British Navy over the years – creating a very nautical reference for this timepiece.
However, Royal Oak has the historical significance of being part of the story of when King Charles II hid in a oak tree during the battle of Worcester in 1651. He was able to survive the battle. And there was no question that Audemars Piguet and most traditional watchmakers during the 1970’s were looking for ways to survive themselves. The craftsmen, the artistry, and the future of watchmaking all were under attack.
The timepiece was not initially successful when it was launched. However, the Royal Oak was one of the few timepieces that paved the way for a new luxury watch market. This makes the Royal Oak one of the most important pieces of horological history, as it helped bring mechanical watches a new audience – a new market which was far more lucrative than the old market. No longer were watches just a mere tool for telling time. They became a status symbol – a symbol of wealth, prestige, and power. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has since become a beloved cult classic and prized by collectors around the world.
The modern Audemars Piguet Royal Oak comes in several sizes. Most have a sizable 41 mm case with an octagonal bezel and has a thickness of 10.4 mm, which is bigger than the earlier Royal Oak models. However there are many other sizes to choose from including 33mm, 34mm, 37mm, 39mm, 42mm and 44mm. Thickness also varies from piece to piece. They even have “extra thin” versions that drop the width to 9mm.
Unlike a lot of other luxury timepieces, it is notable in its design for the fact that it has exposed screws and the tapisserie pattern that appears on the dial. The case is made out of stainless steel, titanium, platinum, white gold, pink gold, ceramic, or yellow gold and is designed to be worn while playing sports or other outdoor activities.
There are multiple models including a chronograph with pushers on the timepiece which stand out from the rest of the watch. The strap is integrated into this watch, and the strap is held together by a traditional Audemars Piguet folding clasp. Even the models that come with a leather strap, have a strap that is custom fitted to connect to the case with the same precision as the metal straps. The leather straps produced by Audemars Piguet often match the color of the dial on the timepiece.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak also contains a hobnail textured dial, which is officially referred to by the company as being in the “Grande Tapisserie” style. On the Piguet Royal Oak, the subdials are located at the 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 positions. However on the Perpetual Calendar version there are dials at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock.
What Is Important to Know About the Piguet Royal Oak Offshore?
The follow-up model to the original Royal Oak, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore was released in 1993 as a commemoration of the original watch which started the luxury watch revolution. It was launched at the 93 Baselworld fair.
One of the places where astute observers will immediately notice a difference between the AP Royal Oak and the AP Royal Oak Offshore is in the overall size of the watch. The AP Royal Oak Offshore is a bit larger, as it has a 42 mm case and a thickness of 14.90 mm. The considerable increase in thickness was a necessary implementation, as the Piguet Royal Oak Offshore has an added rubber gasket lining which has been placed between the bezel and the case of the watch.
At the time the big increase in size was a unique change in the industry which had valued smaller case sizes. It got the nickname “the beast” due to its size. Today, the 42″ case size might be ridiculed as small in comparison to truly gigantic 47mm, 50mm and larger timepieces.
Another area where the two timepieces truly differ is in their respective dials. The Piguet Royal Oak Offshore has a dial that has been printed in the “Mega Tapisserie” style, and as its name implies, it is a larger pattern than the previously mentioned “Grande Tapisserie” style from the original watch. Essentially the embossed squares that appear throughout the dial are much fatter and sportier looking than smaller squares that appear on the original. The subdials on this timepiece are located at 6:00, 9:00, and 12:00. & other differences is that the AP Royal Oak Cosmograph has the subdials located at 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00.
Like its predecessor, the Offshore has its strap integrated into the overall design of the watch. However, unlike its predecessor, this watch is secured with a traditional pin buckle instead of a folding clasp.
Overall, the most significant difference between these two timepieces is the fact that the Piguet Royal Oak Offshore seems to have taken the mantra of “bigger is better” to heart. They use different internal chronographers but are both incredibly precise, and ultimately, there isn’t a clear “winner” when trying to determine the superior model in this particular instance. As with so many things in life, which timepiece is the better fit for someone will ultimately come down to being a matter of personal taste.
Need a Custom Rubber Watch Strap For Your Audemars Piguet Watch? Visit Rubber B Today
If you are looking for a way to further accessorize your beautiful Audemars Piguet timepiece, the team at Rubber B would be more than happy to help you do so. We carry a wide variety of custom rubber watch bands and rubber straps for various Audemars Piguet products, and you can see our complete lineup of watch bands here on our website.
Black Strap for Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 44mm – SwimSkin® Sailcloth$320.00
Black Strap for Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 44mm – SwimSkin® Alligator$320.00
Black Strap for Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 42mm – SwimSkin® Sailcloth$300.00
Blue Strap for Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 42mm – SwimSkin® Alligator$300.00
Black Strap for Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 42mm – SwimSkin® Alligator$300.00
Black Strap for Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 39mm – Velcro® Series$300.00
Black Strap for Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41mm on Metal Bracelet – Velcro® Series$300.00
Blue Rubber Watch Strap For Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41mm$250.00
Black Rubber Watch Strap For Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41mm$250.00
for more information on this watches you can go to audemarspiguet.com