From Controversial to Classics
When you think of Audemars Piguet, you might immediately think of the brand’s iconic Royal Oak. Although the one-of-a-kind design was polarizing at first, it’s now a cult classic. The model is not just the flagship of the brand. The two have become synonymous. About twenty years after the famous unveiling of Gerald Genta’s overnight masterpiece came the Royal Oak Offshore. Upon its debut, the model was equally if not more controversial. However, it too has become an essential member of the Audemars Piguet catalog. So, lets take a look at the Royal Oak vs. Royal Oak Offshore.
Each of these models are special and unique in their own right. Yet, they have one important thing in common. They both illustrate the brand’s core philosophy of embracing creative, out-of-the-box thinking and their commitment of relentlessly pursuing innovation in an industry largely based on tradition.
Origin of the Royal Oak
The tale of the Royal Oak begins in 1972. T’was the night before the Swiss Watch Show (now known as Baselworld). The managing director of Audemars Piguet told the illustrious designer Genta that he needed a design for a new watch to unveil the next day. The concept was for an all-new category of watch: the luxury sport watch. Genta’s genius allowed him to meet the challenge with ease, and the result was the Royal Oak. It featured a striking hexagonal bezel, unconventional exposed screws, and an integrated bracelet. Its hand-finishing gave it the polish of a dress watch, but it had the technical aptitude of a sport watch. The mission was accomplished, and a new breed of watch was born.
Royal Oak Reimagined
The story continues in 1992. With a bit more forethought this time around, Audemars Piguet tapped designer Emmanuel Gueit. Once again, they wanted him to help them with a new concept in preparation for the 1993 Baselworld trade show. They set out to create a larger version of the now wildly popular Royal Oak. Gueit exerted his creative license, not only making the model larger but also adding his own unique touches to the design. The result was sportier, with a rubber gasket lining the area under the bezel and silicon rubber pushers to operate the chronograph function. However, these additions were more than aesthetic. They foreshadowed the cutting-edge practice of employing experimental materials in watchmaking.
Differences in the Royal Oak vs. Royal Oak Offshore:
Overall, the differences between the original Royal Oak and its younger brother, the Royal Oak Offshore, are subtle. The most noticeable is certainly the size. However, they both share the distinctive hexagonal bezel, rugged exposed screws, and integrated bracelet design. For a more modern, sportier design, you might opt for the Royal Oak Offshore. But, if you’re a die-hard fan of Audemars Piguet, you might opt for the classic Royal Oak. Both are remarkable timepieces that reflect a refreshingly rebellious and pioneering spirit.