Watches

The Off­shore col­lec­tion turns 25 this year

Gulf Business - - FEATURES LIFESTYLE - VARUN GODINHO

We ex­am­ine the lat­est unique of­fer­ings from Aude­mars Piguet and H. Moser & Cie

THE ROYAL OAK OFF­SHORE was a watch with which Aude­mars Piguet faced the prospect of shoot­ing it­self in the foot. The Em­manuel Gueit-de­signed Off­shore was a larger and more ag­gres­sive take on the stan­dard Royal Oak – a de­sign that was rad­i­cal and con­fronta­tional. When it was in­tro­duced in 1993, the de­signer of the orig­i­nal Royal Oak, Gérald Genta, re­port­edly stormed into the AP pav­il­ion at Basel­world yelling, “You killed my baby!”

Genta was a bonafide watch­mak­ing leg­end hav­ing de­signed not only the Royal Oak, but also other iconic watches like the Patek Philippe Nau­tilus, the IWC In­ge­nieur and the Bul­gari Bul­gari, among oth­ers.

Con­se­quently, he was one of the world’s fore­most au­thor­i­ties on watch de­sign. Hav­ing some­one of his cal­i­bre call the 43mm Royal Oak Off­shore “the whale” could have been as shat­ter­ing a mo­ment as say Steve Jobs call­ing a piece of tech­nol­ogy rub­bish or Pablo Pi­casso trash­ing a piece of art.

Aude­mars Piguet, though, did not flinch. The Off­shore was meant to ap­peal to a cer­tain mind­set. That mind­set, for ex­am­ple, locked in per­fectly with the ripped body­builder ac­tion-man im­age of Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger. In 1999, AP man­u­fac­tured a spe­cial Off­shore T3 Ter­mi­na­tor Black edi­tion that was fea­tured in his End of Days film.

Be­yond smart col­lab­o­ra­tions, AP was also mov­ing to­wards sharp­en­ing the tech­ni­cal ca­pa­bil­ity of the Off­shore. The very first Off­shore Grand Com­pli­ca­tion was born in 2012 and fea­tured a minute re­peater, splits sec­ond chrono and a per­pet­ual cal­en­dar.

This year marks the 25th an­niver­sary of the Off­shore col­lec­tion and Aude­mars Piguet has once again upped the shock value with this Royal Oak Off­shore Tourbillon Chronograph that looks noth­ing like the orig­i­nal Off­shore. There is no fa­mil­iar blue Tapis­serie tile-like mo­tif on the dial, and no oc­tag­o­nal bezel on top too. We can only imag­ine Gueit feel­ing emo­tions sim­i­lar to the ones that Genta ex­pe­ri­enced that day at the 1993 Basel­world watch fair.

The dial, case and move­ment are all in­te­grated and there’s a great deal of skele­ton­i­sa­tion, al­low­ing you to peer into the heart of the move­ment while re­duc­ing the over­all weight of this 40mm time­piece.

The man­ual-wind­ing Cal­i­bre 2947 drives the tour­bil­lion at six o’clock and the 30-minute chronograph at three o’clock. De­spite those two power-hun­gry com­pli­ca­tions, the watch still has a power re­serve of 173 hours.

This 18k pink gold ver­sion is lim­ited to 50 units (there’s another stain­less steel ver­sion too) and is priced at Dhs1.27m ($345,748). It’s a state­ment piece that makes its pres­ence felt both on your wrist and in your imag­i­na­tion. Genta can rest easy.

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