This Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph (ref. 26400SO.OO.A002CA.01) was reviewed on 10 different criteria. The review is for this specific watch, other models may perform differently. Evaluation is based on my wrist size, personal opinions, experiences, and preferences.
Overall Design | 15 out of 15
Inspired by its classic and iconic Royal Oak brother, the Royal Oak Offshore (ROO) collection is the much sportier sibling. In 2011, Audemars Piguet released this ROO in stainless steel. There is really not much to not like about most ROOs to be honest... for the most part they are all attractive in their own way and this one is no exception. The panda dial with the mega tapisserie pattern, the ceramic bezel, the ceramic chrono pushers and crown, the subtle red accents, the details on the case, and the list goes on and on... this watch is just gorgeous, period. An absolute home run for Audemars Piguet.
Case | 10 out of 10
The 44mm case looks and feels more like 47mm, it is big and bold. Probably too large for some, but I love the size. Like all Royal Oaks, the octagon shaped bezel (which has become synonymous to the brand Audemars Piguet) is one of the first things you will notice on the watch. The brushed and polished finish on the black ceramic bezel is just stunning... combine that with the equally stunning case (those graduating polished beveled edges!) and the result is a perfect 10. The ceramic bezel not only looks great, but it also helps eliminate the unwanted and distracting scratches that are so common on the regular steel bezel models. The overall quality of the case is just jaw dropping. The flat ceramic chrono pushers is one of my favorite features on the watch, which was previously only available in Limited Edition ROOs. The open case back allows viewing pleasure of the in-house movement.
Dial | 10 out of 10
Though I do miss the arabic numerals on the dial (which is on most of the 42mm ROOs), the applied white gold indices are a more elegant and attractive alternative. The design of the white gold hour and minute hands matches perfectly with the hour indices. The tachymeter scale is printed on an elevated ring that adds depth and dimension to the dial. The font choice for the subdials is exactly the kind of font I would pick for this watch, modern and sporty... too bad the date font is different. But perhaps the most attractive part of the dial is the combination of the panda look in conjunction with the mega tapisserie pattern... However, I would have preferred a more pure "white" dial versus the light silver one used (which sometimes appears to be white depending on the lighting and angle). The inconspicuous magnification on the date is gracefully executed (which I must prefer over Rolex's bulky exterior magnification) and works like a charm. The subtle uses of red on the dial is constrained but just enough to remind us that despite all of its elegant elements, this watch is sporty by nature.
Strap | 9 out of 10
Most of the watches from the 44mm ROO range come with a standard matte black rubber strap on a spring bar tang buckle. The tang buckle is pretty basic, with the letters "AP" engraved on the very top. The finish on the buckle is brushed for the most part with some polished surfaces. The simple buckle works great and does not have any weird angles that could end up digging against your wrist. The stock strap was unfortunately too long for me, so I had to order a short length strap to accommodate my 6.5" wrist (for about $250!). The strap is soft, though other colored straps from the ROO line are significantly softer. According to Audemars Piguet the black version has an extra coating that gives it that rough texture and appearance, while also making it less soft.
Movement | 9 out of 10
The manufacture 3126/3840 calibre consists of 59 jewels and 365 parts. Power reserve rated at 50 hours. Thanks to the open case back, one can admire the beautiful movement through the rear sapphire crystal. Watch has been keeping time exceptionally since I have received it.
Legibility | 5 out of 5
It is easy to tell time on this watch... nothing on the dial is a distraction. The hour indices and the hour and minute hands have lume for night time viewing. Unfortunately, the running second hand (located in the subdial at 12 o'clock), although white in color, does not have any lume. So in the dark, it will not be immediately obvious if the watch is actually running or not.
Operation | 5 out of 5
The ceramic crown is easy to unscrew and pull. Besides being insanely sexy, the flat ceramic chrono pushers makes using the chronograph function extremely effortless. All chrono hands reset to their intended position.
Features | 9 out of 10
Magnified date, chronograph, tachymeter scale, ceramic bezel, ceramic chrono pushers, ceramic screw-down crown, 100m water resistance, open case back, in-house movement, gorgeous Panda dial with mega tapisserie pattern, white gold hour markers and hands, and a top-notch quality case... win, win, win. The use of ceramic in some of the components is a plus in my books, a much more charming and durable material compared to rubber or steel.
Comfort | 9 out of 10
As mentioned earlier, the strap is soft and quite comfortable to wear. The claimed 44mm case size really feels more like a 47mm watch, but the lugless design of the case and the tang buckle makes sure that despite the large size the watch remains comfortable on the wrist. The tang buckle on this ROO is perfect... on my stainless steel Diver though, the bottom edges on that tang buckle were razor sharp and it was uncomfortable on my wrist (more on this in my stainless steel AP Diver review coming soon). I had to sent that buckle back to APSC to have the sharp edges removed.
Value | 11 out of 15
The retail price on this ROO is $33,400... which is a lot of money for ANY watch. Usually at this price point you can expect the watch to be made of gold, but not this one. Like many other stainless steel watches in the market, this one has a date, chronograph, and tachymeter complication... several ceramic components and an in-house movement. But unlike many other stainless steel watches in the market, this one has a price tag of a car. Try explaining that to your non-WIS friends. How can they price this watch this high? Because they are Audemars Piguet. The good news? Audemars Piguet ROOs are usually pretty good at retaining their value in the second hand market, so start splurging!
TOTAL SCORE: 92 out of 100
The bold and the beautiful.
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