Being for the last six years an “official timekeeper” of the annual Tour Auto historic car race event, the Swiss watchmaker has a good tradition of presenting a special-edition version of their signature RO Offshore model. This new Audemars Piguet Chronographe Royal Oak Offshore Tour Auto 2012 Limited Edition (Ref. 26208ST.00.D305CR.01) features the same traditionally massive stainless steel body with the iconic octagonal bezel. Predictably, the special edition chronograph sports the familiar blue, white and red colors of the French flag.
First held more than a hundred years ago in 1899, the Tour de France Automobile sports car race officially closed the shop in 1986. However, six years later it was re-introduced with only vintage cars and old-timers allowed to take part in the event. Later, Audemars Piguet became one of its official sponsors.
We have already reported on their Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tour Auto 2009 Chronograph (26278IK.GG.D002CA.01) limited edition model in titanium and now the Swiss watchmaking brand introduces an even more impressive timepiece.
This time crafted from heavier stainless steel, it features the same rubber-clad chronograph push-pieces and setting crown It also adds to the mix a lot more appealing color scheme with its signature Mega Tapisserie dial painted very light grey and serving as a perfect background of the blue Arabic numerals and red hour and minute hands, all of them covered with respectively colored Superluminova luminescent substance.
To make the watch even more legible, the guys from Audemars Piguet have also painted the chronograph sub-dials (30-minute counter at 9 o’clock and a 12-hour totalizer at 6 hours) blue, and the small-seconds indicator (at 12 o’clock) is painted white.
The blue leather strap, which is hand-made from crocodile leather and also features the high-contrast red stitching nicely echoes the colors of the dial.
According to the official specs, the watch is animated by the same AP 3126/3840 automatic movement. Beating at a frequency of 21,600 vph, the movement stores enough power to keep working for as long as 60 hours. Well, you have probably already met this engine, since it is the caliber of choice for all current AP ROO models those including the gorgeous Ref. 26400SO.OO.A002CA.01 model with a scratch-resistant black ceramic bezel.
It is reported that only 150 pieces will be released, each of them delivered in a special Tour Auto 2012 presentation box.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Photos: Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet Chronographe Royal Oak Offshore Tour Auto 2012 (Ref. 26208ST.00.D305CR.01) specification
Price: $35,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber AP 3126/3840, 29.92 x 7.16 mm, 365 components, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 59
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: 60 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 14.43 mm
Dial: Light grey, Mega Tapisserie motif
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hands: Luminous, white gold
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Hand-sewn “Hornback” crocodile leather strap with red stitching and a stainless steel AP folding clasp / Comes with a replacement blue rubber strap
Back: Engraved with the Tour Auto logo