Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore DiverIntroduced in January at the SIHH watch fair, Audemars Piguet’s new Royal Oak Offshore Diver joined the Royal Oak Offshore Grand Complication and Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph as part of the Swiss brand’s celebration of 20 years of its Royal Oak Offshore watch. The new Diver is the third such model to be introduced, and the first to be offered in a ceramic case (previous models have had stainless steel and forged carbon cases) and the first to incorporate a sapphire exhibition caseback.

The case, which is water-resistant to 300 meters, also includes a bezel and easy-grip crowns made of deep-black, high-tech ceramic — a material that is approximately seven times harder than steel and extremely scratch-resistant. Because of this high level of scratch-resistance, machining of the complex case was extraordinarily difficult, using special machines and tools with diamond-tipped milling cutters. The finishing, which includes both polished and satin-brushed surfaces, was also a challenge due to the material’s inherent abrasion-resistant properties. (Photos can be enlarged with a click.)

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver ceramic front

The timepiece complies with the NIHS 92-11 (ISO6425) standard for professional-grade divers’ watches, and its design is geared toward underwater legibility and functionality. Its black dial, which features Audemars Piguet’s familiar “Méga Tapisserie” motif, is fitted with a luminescent orange hand matching the diving scale on the rotating inner bezel ring and the orange zone between the 12 and 3 o’clock positions. The watch’s unusual dive-time pre-selection device, positioned inside the case, is more complex to make than the more traditional, exterior rotating bezel, and offers other advantages to divers that the latter type cannot. Protected under the crystal from shocks and agents such as water, salt, and sand, which could jam an exterior bezel, this mechanism, controlled by a watertight crown at 10 o’clock, reduces the parallax error and also enhances safety: once the crown has been screwed back in, the dive time cannot be accidentally changed. Both the inner bezel and the winding crown can be operated underwater thanks to a system of watertight gaskets.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver ceramic

The back of the high-tech case is made of titanium and fitted with a sapphire window, which is secured to the ceramic case middle by screws. Visible though the caseback window is the movement, Audemars Piguet’s automatic Caliber 3120, which has a a 22k gold rotor, a balance frequency of 21,600 vph and a power reserve of 60 hours. The embellishments and decorations on the movement include diamond-pland levels on the bridges and reversed circular côtes de Genève pattern on the bridge pavements. The black rubber strap with titanium pin buckle enables the wearer to adjust the strap easily, even while wearing over a diving suit.

The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver will be available this summer, at a retail price of $21,800.

Audemars Piguet Calibre 3120
Audemars Piguet Calibre 3120

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