For this year, AP has presented several models combining traditional materials with less common 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 be called ‘exclusive’. Crafted from platinum and carbon fiber and boasting a price tag of approximately $130,000 (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 push-piece guards made of forged carbon and black ceramic. Its winding crown and push-pieces are in white gold and the flange is in silvered aluminum.
The ice-cold color scheme is contrasted with an 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 chronographs will be made.
The second in the rank is the Ref. 26290RO.OO.A001VE.01.
Instead of platinum for the body and white gold for the crown and push-pieces, it sports respective elements made in 18-karat rose gold. It also has slightly different –looking somehow cheaper– a 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 production to a more reasonable run of 650 pieces.
Limited at 1750 units, the Ref. 26290IO.OO.A001VE.01 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 2008 Royal Oak Carbon Concept Tourbillon and Chronograph.
Instead of gold or platinum, its case is made of forged carbon with its crown, push-piece guards and push-pieces 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 this review, I think I would probably give it at least three and a half stars out of five. After all, it is powered by a great self-winding mechanism and the quality of the case is, as always, impeccable.
Just like the last year’s Royal Oak Offshore Queens Road model, the series is powered by the same AP 3126/3840 automatic caliber.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 5/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
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: Platinum 950 (26290PO.OO.A001VE.01) Rose gold (26290RO.OO.A001VE.01) or Forged carbon fiber (26290IO.OO.A001VE.01)
Bezel: Black ceramic and Forged carbon
Case shape: Round, Octagonal bezel
Transparent back: Yes, sapphire
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 bead-blasted titanium, or 18-karat pink gold or 950 platinum
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflection coated
Water resistance: 100 meters