The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph.
This is a watch that is so known to many of you, perhaps it doesn’t need much of an investigation — but this is HODINKEE and you’ll be able to think you’re gonna get you. The Royal Oak Chronograph is a watch which has tens of thousands of lovers the world over, and a few detractors, too. The ROC, since I’ll call it henceforth, is something of a middle ground between two entirely distinct Audemars Piguet buyers — the collectors, and, well, everyone else. The Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore families frequently appeal to quite different individuals, but I will get to this soon. Within this review, I tackle a mainstay at the AP lineup, and also an intriguing bit of haute horology, though one with no own in-house movement. I will have a look at just how this 41mm column-wheel, vertical clutch chronograph wears, and whether the matter of where the movement came from is even something worth noting in any way. That is the HODINKEE Week About The Wrist with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph, and it is one worth spending a while with.AP is a truly unique watch manufacture. It’s one of the very few global haute horology brands that remains in the control of its founding family, with different members of the Audemars family still sitting on its board. However, the possession of AP is not always the most interesting facet of this 175 year-old fabrication — the question that matters is that buys AP’s watches?
Nicknamed the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph “Novelty”, the 44mm version of Audemars Piguet‘s octagonal sports chronograph was not the focus of the new Royal Oak models unveiled at SIHH 2017, but nonetheless got a facelift with new dials (while keeping everything else the same). More significantly, a new version in titanium was added – the lightweight alloy’s debut for the “Novelty”.
The Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 44mm in titanium (ref. 26400IO.OO.A004CA.01) features a contrasting black ceramic bezel, and paired with a dark grey dial as well as a grey rubber strap.
The facelifted Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph in pink gold (ref. 26401RO.OO.A002CA.02) now has a black dial with pink gold accents. The hands, hour markers, chapter ring as well as printed text are all in pink gold, giving the dial greater contrast compared to the earlier model, which was white on black.
And the last of the trio is the “Novelty” in black ceramic (ref. 26405CE.OO.A002CA.02). Unlike the earlier version that had a black and silver colour scheme, the new ceramic chronograph has a black dial with pink gold accents, as well as a touch of dark blue. The hands, hour markers and dial text are pink gold, while the chronograph hands are tipped in dark blue.
As before, the trio are all powered by the calibre 3126/3840, which is AP’s in-house automatic calibre topped with a chronograph module made by Dubois-Depraz.
Price and availability
The titanium model is priced at SFr27,500, while the black ceramic is SFr29,000. And the pink gold is SFr41,550.