For this year, AP has presented a number of watches combining traditional material with carbon fiber. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grand Prix Collection brings you three similarly styled models that will be produced in a total lot of 2475 pieces. Although the number of pieces set to be released makes the collection a ‘limited edition’ only in a very, um, technical way, there is at least one member of the collection that can really be called ‘exclusive’. Crafted from platinum and carbon fiber and boasting a price tag of approximately $130,000 USD (it will depend on the part of the world you live in,) the Ref. 26290PO.OO.A001VE.01‘s total production volume will be naturally limited by its outrageously high price.
Yes, the timekeeper’s body is machined out of 950 platinum, which is both denser (hence heavier) and more durable than the more common white gold alloys and has its bezel and chronograph pushpiece guards made of forged carbon and black ceramic. Its winding crown and pushpieces are in white gold and the flange is in silvered aluminum.
The ice-cold color scheme is contrasted with electric-blue dial featuring a “negative-printed” version of the famous Mega Tapisserie motif and bright red accents both on the 30-minute chronograph totalizer dial and a part of the inner bezel.
Only 75 of these watches will be made.
The second in the rank is the Ref. 26290RO.OO.A001VE.01 model.
Instead of platinum for the body and white gold for the crown and pushpieces, it sports respective elements made in 18-carat rose gold. It also has slightly different –looking somehow cheaper– color scheme of black and white with a part of the chronograph subdial at 9 o’clock painted yellow. Its tachymetric scale is printed in bright red matching the color of the central second hand.
AP plans to limit the watch’s production to more reasonable 650 pieces.
Limited at 1750 units, the Ref. 26290IO.OO.A001VE.01 watch is more accessible to fans with thick wallets and, at the same time, looks more interesting to well-funded geeks, because ideologically it is the closest to the last year’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Carbon Concept Tourbillon and Chronograph watch.
Instead of gold or platinum, its case is made of forged carbon with its crown, push-piece guards and pushpieces themselves, as well as case-back with a sapphire display glass, are made of titanium.
Frankly, it’s sort of difficult to assess the “value for money” rating of a piece that is supposed to ultra-expensive and highly exclusive. Still, for the purposes of this review, I think I would probably give it at least three and a half stars out of five. After all, the watch is powered by a very good self-winding mechanism and the quality of the case is, as always, impeccable.
Like the last year’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Queens Road model, the series is powered by the same AP 3126/3840 automatic caliber.
Photos: Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grand Prix Collection specification
Price range: $130,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber AP 3126/3840, automatic, 59 jewels, 365 parts, 21,600 vph, 7.16 mm high, 26 mm in diameter, Swiss Made
Complications: Date, chronograph
Power reserve: 60 hours
Case material: Platinum 950 (Ref. 26290PO.OO.A001VE.01) Rose gold (Ref. 26290RO.OO.A001VE.01) or Forged carbon fiber (Ref. 26290IO.OO.A001VE.01)
Bezel material: Black ceramic and Forged carbon
Case shape: Round, Octagonal bezel
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire caseback
Case size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 15.65 mm
Dial: Electric blue (Ref. 26290PO.OO.A001VE.01) Black (Ref. 26290RO.OO.A001VE.01) or Bright red (Ref. 26290IO.OO.A001VE.01)
Strap: Black calfskin and alcantara, hand-sewn with alcantara inserts and edges, pin buckle in beadblasted titanium, or 18-carat pink gold or 950 platinum
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflection coated
Water resistance: 100 meters