The Royal Oak ignited a revolution as the first super high luxury steel watch and at the time of its launch, its 3750
franc asking price could buy you 12 Rolex submariners. It was clearly meant for a specific type of customer. As
former Audemars Piguet CEO Georges Henri Meylan explains: “The Royal Oak was intended to reach out to a new
generation of (very rich) young watch buyers.
The First Bad Ass Luxury Watch: The 1993 Royal Oak Offshore
The idea of a massive oversized 42-mm in diameter Royal Oak-based watch was sparked in the mind of designer Emmanuel
Gueit sometime in the mid-1980s. Working at Audemars Piguet’s design studio, he launched himself into this project
with unbridled obsessive enthusiasm. What he created would be a first in luxury watches. At this time, Panerai’s
42-mm in diameter Luminor Marina had not yet been introduced to the market. Thus Gueit’s creation was the first
truly oversized luxury timepiece. Even crazier were its exposed rubber gaskets and rubber-covered chronograph
pushers, normally considered incompatible with a refined watch.
For its movement, Audemars Piguet selected two products from brands they had long associations with —
Jaeger-LeCoultre (at the time Audemars Piguet still owned a large part of the Le Sentier manufacture) and the famous
Vallée de Joux module maker, Dubois-Depraz. A nicely reworked Jaeger-LeCoultre automatic caliber and a Dubois Depraz
module formed the chronograph movement for the Offshore. The signature magnifying loupe used to enlarge the recessed
date of the Offshore results from the movement’s modular construction. Says Gueit, “The dial was really far from the
date wheel. So I decided to use the loupe to magnify the date. It’s funny because this has become one of the visual
signatures of the watch.”
Much controversy was unleashed at the then-unheard-of 42mm diameter of this stainless-steel behemoth when it was
released in 1993, and Gérald Genta himself — the father of the original Royal Oak — was said to have burst into the
AP stand at BaselWorld, denouncing the Offshore as having ruined his original design.
Today, the Offshore could not be more different, or varied, and the spirit has evolved to embrace myriad forms. The
first models in stainless steel, gold and platinum, have given way to ever-more-exotic materials, with titanium,
carbon, ceramic, cermets and even rubber versions on offer. We believe that there are many iterations of the Royal
Oak Offshore which are under the radar in the collecting community, this is why we are happy to bring a selection of
limited edition Offshores which have the potential to become future collectibles.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 26278IK.GG.D002CA.01
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 26030IO.OO.D001IN.01
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 26202AU.OO.D002CA.01