Since 1972 and the launch of the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet has combined fine watchmaking, sportiness and reliability like no other brand has succeeded in doing so with such success and longevity. The watch that the Manufacture in Le Brassus entrusted to us for this test bench is the ultimate expression of this, since it is the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Tourbillon unveiled in June of this year.
It is a completely revisited case which has been specially designed for this prestigious reference. We salute the consistent choice of titanium. This material is definitely the most suitable alloy for such a sports watch. Its resistance, but above all its lightness, are of paramount importance. And the lightness is not only an asset of comfort for the wearer. Lightness in fact reduces the energy absorbed in the event of an impact, which constitutes a very serious argument when it comes to protecting mechanics of such complexity. Although it belongs to the Offshore family, the case with a diameter of only 43mm has been completely redesigned to offer remarkable aesthetics and ergonomics. The dial reveals the architecture of the movement without prejudicing readability. The integration of the removable bracelet is perfectly adjusted and offers immediate comfort. The screw-down crown and the elegant and gripping pushers are in black ceramic. The movement is attached to the case by a casing ring that absorbs a maximum of shocks and vibrations, for increased strength and precision. Like a real sports car, this Offshore is waterproof to 100 meters.
Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Flying Tourbillon Chronograph © Audmeras Piguet
Caliber 2967 is an automatic tourbillon flyback chronograph. Already known in the recent Code 11.59 collection by Audemars Piguet, it has been adapted here to the diameter of the case. For unwavering reliability and precision, the bridges have been machined in titanium! Although sporty in its architecture, the combination of states and surface treatments, the finishes are worthy of the highest standards of fine watchmaking. It is impossible to detail all the strengths of this caliber in this single section. Note an ideal autonomy for an automatic winding of 65 hours. The chronograph offers the flyback function. This has certainly become totally obsolete in its primary vocation as a navigation aid for aircraft pilots. On the other hand, and this is again an important asset of reliability, the risk of breakage by activating the reset push-button when the chronograph is engaged, is zero here. The automatic mechanism receives its energy from a 22ct gold oscillating weight for optimum efficiency.
The handling and careful observation of the watch inspire absolute and immediate confidence in every way. We therefore expected measures corresponding to this sentiment. They have proven themselves far beyond! The efficiency of the automatic system and the (verified) autonomy have already been mentioned. The chronometry is mind-blowing. It should be remembered that, as in shooting, the essential of a good adjustment comes down to a low dispersion of the rate values. To continue with this analogy, they are all at the heart of the target. The impact of the chronograph on the amplitude is so insignificant that it does not appear in our measurement table. In addition to the astounding precision revealed by our measurements, we were literally amazed by the balancing of the tourbillon cage, which did not reveal the slightest irregularity.
This new Offshore offers us a real lesson in fine watchmaking. The codes of fine watchmaking seem to have evolved for the better. Sportiness here is not a question of sponsorship or design, but the fruit of research and development. Managing to combine fine watchmaking and sportiness to such a level of excellence is probably as unique as it is new. Because if you have the means to afford such a watch, you can really wear it on a daily basis, whatever your activities. To sum up my feeling at the end of this test bench, I would say that if my life were to depend on a watch, maybe this Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Tourbillon would be the one I would choose. And I never thought it could be a whirlwind.
GMT n° 73 © GMT Magazine