At the recent SIHH 2010 trade show the major Swiss watchmaking brand has presented a bunch of new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph watches. Although a normal AP ROO is usually associated with massive, larger than life cases that cover the whole width of your wrist (and then some) and, when done in denser alloys, often weigh so much you can actually use the darn thing for self-defense, this new line comes in a lot more compact cases that measure just 37 millimeters. Just think about it for a second: the device is actually smaller (not thinner though!) than a normal classic-styled three-hander! More than that, it is positioned as a unisex (i.e. suitable both for males, females, and all the genders in between) model!
Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like it is the first time that the new breed of 37 mm Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph timekeepers is not directly marketed as a line of ladies watches.
Of course, I can not easily imagine a man wearing a diamond-studded Ref. 26048SK.ZZ.D002CA.01 or Ref. 26092CK.ZZ.D002CA.01models, but the rest of the pack, which is coming in stainless steel and rubber, does indeed successfully combine ruggedness and small size to be worn both by ladies and men that happen to own particularly skinny wrists. The most universal choice in this respect is the Ref. 26283ST.OO.D002CA.01 model (reviewed and pictured here,) which is available in a stainless steel case on a black rubber strap.
However, to finish the size talk, I should warn you that, even despite its small diameter, the watch isn’t particularly compact after all.
The first thing that draws attention here is the thickness of this beast: according to official specs, the device measures approximately 14.7 millimeters from sapphire top to the rather Spartan solid steel bottom. I personally don’t see a problem with that: it’s an Offshore model and it is expected to look the part. The second thing is trickier though: for what is advertised as a “unisex” model, the watch is impressively long thanks to its traditional elongated body and the proprietary lugs that, too, add a couple of millimeters to the gadget’s overall length. So, if your wrist is not only thin, but, adding insult to injury, is also narrow, you may wan’t to consider some other options in regards to a “manly” unisex wristwatch (this Sinn U200 B (EZM 8) Special Edition Diver may sound like a good idea: sporting the same diameter and just a hair thinner, it has significantly shorter lugs and is also about ten times less expensive.)
Combining mirror-polished and brushed surfaces, the body of the watch offers you all the family features of a normal Royal Oak Offshore without the extreme size and extra weight.
Like all the other models, this one is powered by the well-known AP 2385 automatic caliber featuring a column wheel chronograph and vertical clutch.
Based on the FP 1185 ultra-thin self-winding caliber, the movement is only 5.5 mm high, so there is a good chance that the watch will also be rather thin compared to other APROOs that are delivered with more sophisticated calibers.
Regrettably, you will not be able to admire the movement since the watch is shipped with a solid case back made of polished stainless steel.
Photos: Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 37 mm (Ref. 26283ST.OO.D002CA.01) automatic watch specification
Price range: $21,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber AP 2385, automatic, 37 jewels, 21,600 vph, 5.5 mm high, 26.2 mm in diameter, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Complications: Chronograph, date
Power reserve: 40 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Stainless steel
Case shape: Round, Octagonal bezel
Transparent case back: No, solid caseback
Case size: 37.00 mm
Case height: 14.70 mm
Hands: Stainless steel
Strap: Black rubber
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflection coated
Water resistance: 20 meters