Right after the stunning Jaeger-LeCoultre Aston Martin AMVOX7 Chronograph (Ref. 194T470) that was announced just last week, Audemars Piguet presents a motorsports-themed chronograph of its own. Although significantly (some might even say – outrageously) more expensive than the timekeeper offered by JLC, the new Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher (Ref. 26568PM.OO.A021CA.01) somewhat lacks in the department of elegance and looks closer in style to ultra-expensive limited editions that Hublot offers from time to time.
As usual, the watch offers an exciting combination of materials with its massive 44 mm body crafted from micro-blasted platinum, while the bezel and push-piece guards made from respectively grayish ceramic and titanium of a slightly darker tone.
It isn’t explicitly stated in the press release, but, judging by the official specs, the watch is powered by the same Caliber AP 3126/3840 automatic movement that also animates their magnificent Royal Oak Offshore Tour Auto 2012 Limited Edition (Ref. 26208ST.00.D305CR.01) model that the brand revealed at the beginning of the year.
Since the movement is clearly visible through a sapphire crystal in the 950 platinum back, the mechanism is thoroughly decorated with its bridges hand-finished and the 22-karat gold oscillating weight partially skeletonized and engraved with raised Michael Schumacher signature.
The winding rotor is not the only place that mentions the legendary F1 pilot. Besides the unavoidable tachymeter scale, the grey bezel flange features whole seven stars: two blue and five red symbolizing the champion titles that the famous German driver won wearing Benetton and Ferrari colors.
Unlike F1-themed watches from other brands, the Audemars Piguet Michael Schumacher offers an exceptionally readable dial with extra-large calendar aperture and three high-contrast sub-dials with chronograph totalizers sporting bright red hands and the small seconds indicator (located at 12 o’clock) featuring a sword-shaped hand of the same greyish color as the luminescent hour and minute hands.
Wearing a particularly hefty price tag of $120,000 USD, this ref. 26568PM.OO.A021CA.01 is one of a helluva expensive piece of luxury, but I think that’s something to be expected from a wristwatch that combines such expensive materials as platinum and ceramic in the same massive body.
Also, limited to just 100 pieces, this is going to be primarily a collector’s watch that won’t often have a chance to take a breath of fresh air. But when it will, it will serve its main purpose of telling time with pride.
See also: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph in Stainless Steel (Ref. 26400SO.OO.A002CA.01)
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 Michael Schumacher Platinum and Cermet (Ref. 26568PM.OO.A021CA.01) specification
Price: $120,000 USD (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber AP 3126/3840, in-house, 29.92 mm x 7.16 mm, 365 parts, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 59
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: 55 hours
Movement decoration: Hand-decorated, skeletonized 22-karat gold oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
Bezel: Cermet ceramic composite material
Crown: Micro-blasted white gold
Bezel shape: Octagonal
Size: 44.00 mm
Dial: Anthracite galvanic center with “Mega Tapiserie” motif
Hour markers: Luminous
Hands: White gold, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Blue rubber strap with platinum pin buckle
Back: 950 platinum caseback with sapphire crystal