While the fruit of Audemars Piguet’s new partnership with Marvel took the lion’s share of attention this year, the more subdued yet significant news was the redesign of the Royal Oak Offshore, beginning with the Royal Oak Offshore Self-winding Chronograph and now the Royal Oak Offshore Self-winding Flying Tourbillon Flyback Chronograph.
Sporting a new 43mm case diameter as well as a more ergonomic design, the watch combines a flying tourbillon with a flyback chronograph, using an adaptation of the movement that was first unveiled in the Code 11.59 collection. Notably, the calibre features redesigned bridges for a more contemporary architecture along with a highly unusual finish; though it is PVD-treated, the bevels have been polished to remove the coating, making it one of the few black-coated movements on the market that features anglage.
Marking the start of a new generation of Royal Oak Offshore, the watch features a smaller case diameter of 43mm versus 44mm before. It retains its impressive presence but has much more refined profile. The most apparent difference is the larger crown, redesigned pushers that have chamfered edges as well as slimmer, chamfered pusher guards. These not only improve the appearance of the watch but also the user experience as a whole when setting the time or operating the chronograph as there is greater access to the movable components.
The Royal Oak Offshore Self-winding Flying Tourbillon Flyback Chronograph is rendered in titanium while the pushers are made of black ceramic. The case has a sandblasted finish, which further enhances the sporty character of the watch, contrasted with polished chamfers along the bezel and lugs. A subtler improvement is the slight curvature of the bezel as well as crystal, which gives the watch a more refined appearance overall.
Additionally, the watch also boasts the new strap removal system that allows straps to be swapped without the need for tools. They can be easily detached from the case by simply pressing a pair of buttons at the back of the lugs while reversing the motion secures it in place.
The self-winding calibre 2967 is a flying tourbillon movement with a horizontally coupled chronograph. It is an interpretation of the calibre 2952 movement that first appeared in the Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph and is based on the calibre 2950 found in the Royal Oak Tourbillon.
While the calibre 2967 has a construction that is characteristic of tourbillon movements with the barrel located at 12 and tourbillon at six o’clock, it features several unusual details. One subtle but appreciable aspect of the dial is that the motion works of the watch are located above the hands so as not to obstruct the view of the tourbillon.
Secondly, the column wheel for the chronograph is located in between the fixed fourth wheel and the drive wheel, which is in constant contact with the clutch wheel above when viewed from the back. This is clever solution that keeps the chronograph mechanism compact so as to fit the existing tourbillion movement.
In contrast to the calibre 2952 in the Code 11.59, the bridges of the movement are made of PVD-coated titanium and are skeletonised in a more contemporary, geometric fashion. More unusually, the bevels have been polished to remove the black coating, giving the movement a rather striking contrast of a brushed black surface and anglage on the edges.
On the front, the bridges of the movement also feature titanium inserts that have been polished on the top and sandblasted on the inner surface. Right between the inserts is the flying tourbillon which houses a free-sprung balance wheel, beating at a frequency of 3Hz.
Visible on the back of the watch is the skeletonised rotor that is made of 22-carat gold coated with black PVD. The bridges of the movement feature numerous sharp inward angles that have been hand-finished. As mentioned, seeing anglage on a black-coated movement is highly unusual. It offers the perfect solution to those seeking an ultra-contemporary architecture and design without compromising on fine finishing.
Case:Sandblasted titanium case and bezel, black ceramic pushers and screw-locked crown, sandblasted titanium pusher guards and studs, water-resistant to 100 m.
Strap: Interchangeable black rubber strap with sandblasted titanium folding clasp. Additional interchangeable black hand-stitched “large square-scale” alligator strap