The answer to this question is simple: everybody. What I mean with this is that there are two very distinct groups of luxury watch purchasers: the collector along with the basic “watch lover.” The collector would be the guy who spent the previous 15 years living on TimeZone along with also the PuristS, the type of guy who hears the name Walt Odets and understands exactly who I’m talking about. The collector is the type of man who knows the distinction between hand handmade and polished. He’s gotten well past the point of arguing about brands and understands enough to talk about individual projects. He also reveres Patek Philippe for exactly what it intended to watches over the previous 100 years, understands the importance and appeal of classic Rolex, but buys precisely what talks to him. An eye lover, on the other hand, is somebody who might be a little newer to luxury watches, and remains very brand conscious. He could be readily swayed by ambassadors, retailers, and advertising. Both purchase watches from Audemars Piguet, but probably different models, and certainly for different reasons.Let’s start with the collector. The collector purchases Audemars Piguet due to its history in great complicated pocketwatches. The collector buys AP because when Patek Philippe wanted some help on the complex repeater of this Henry Graves Jr.. Supercomplication, it turned to AP. The collector purchases AP because of watches like this, this, and this. They buy AP because the Le Brassus manufacture has been at the very forefront of engineering and materials, showing off incredible watches such as the very first minute repeating wristwatch way back in 1892, the initial jump-hour wristwatch in 1921, the first skeletonized pocket watch in 1934, the debut of an whole class in 1972, the first ultra thin perpetual calendar wristwatch with central rotor in 1978, the very first self-winding ultra thin tourbillon in 1986, the initial grande and petite sonnerie wristwatch in 1994, the first self-winding grand complication in 1996, the first wristwatch equation of time together with perpetual calendar in 2000, the high frequency chronometer with double-balance AP Escapement in 2009, also, a ton of different things.
Three years ago Audemars Piguet gave its bestselling sports chronograph a major overhaul with an in-house movement as well as ceramic buttons and crown. Now a quartet of new models unveiled at SIHH 2017 joins the second generation Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph line-up, including a heavyweight version with a platinum case and bracelet.
The basic models are in stainless steel, starting with the blue on black (ref. 26470ST.OO.A028CR.01). This has a black dial with dark blue chronograph registers, matched with a dark blue chapter ring and alligator strap.
The other steel model has a brown dial (ref. 26470ST.OO.A820CR.01) fitted with pink gold hands.
Then there’s the 18k yellow gold that has a blue dial and gilt sub-dials (ref. 26470BA.OO.1000BA.01) that’s anything but subtle. This is delivered on a matching 18k gold bracelet, but accompanied by a spare alligator strap and 18k gold pin buckle.
The top of the line version is the all-platinum (ref. 26470PT.OO.1000PT.01) that marks the return of the model to the catalogue after a hiatus of several years. Impractically but impressively heavy – it tips the scales at over a pound or half a kilo – the platinum Offshore is a limited edition of 50 pieces with a pale grey dial and black sub-dials. Like the yellow gold model, it’s accompanied by a spare alligator strap with a platinum pin buckle.
All four models share the same specs, with a 42mm case featuring a sapphire case back that reveals the calibre 3126/3840 inside.
Price and availability
The new Offshore Chronographs are available from Audemars Piguet retailers and boutiques, with Swiss francs priced excluding taxes as follows.
Steel and black ref. 26470ST.OO.A028CR.01 – SFr23,500
Steel and brown ref. 26470ST.OO.A820CR.01 – SFr24,000
18k yellow gold ref. 26470BA.OO.1000BA.01 – SFr78,000
950 platinum ref. 26470PT.OO.1000PT.01 – SFr122,000