Hands-on, the beast is back-the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 26238ST

One of the most powerful designs ever returned in a form reminiscent of the early 1990s.

The Beast… This is the name of the Royal Oak Offshore Watch when it came out in 1993. If the classic Royal Oak series of 1972 has been subversive, then ROO is a shock, a real breakthrough, unprecedented and provocative. But nearly 30 years after its launch, the Royal Oak Offshore has proven to be a carefully adjusted formula, and multiple versions have been derived. However, nothing can beat the iconic status of the original. We saw a new version of this watch in 2018. This year, Audemars Piguet brought a new version of the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph, once again paying tribute to ROO’s early days. There are also titanium and gold options. Let’s take a closer look at the classic steel blue version of this 26238ST. It has a significant improvement and is no longer restricted.

1993 Royal Oak Offshore
As with watches that pay tribute to past models, historical briefings are necessary. First of all, 1972 and the Royal Oak must be remembered. This watch adopts a new concept, which combines the quality of a sports watch with high-end watchmaking craftsmanship, and introduces the concept of integrated design, which is very provocative. In the early 1970s, even Audemars Piguet believed that the concept of a luxury watch was a small, thin, gold-coated watch that might have complicated functions. Under the writing of Gerald Genta, the Royal Oak was born and created a new market segment, namely luxury sports watches. Thin and sturdy, angular, textured, luxurious in a young and fresh way, over-designed, constructed as a single element…it is destructive but also very successful.

Twenty years later, it was transferred for the second time, still in the Royal Oak series. In the early 1990s, the watch industry was slowly recovering from the quartz crisis, and the watches produced were still quite shy and cautious. The comeback of mechanical watches has just begun, and the vast majority of high-end watches on the market-except for a few sports watches-are still classic designs with relatively small diameters. However, in 1993, Audemars Piguet once again launched the Royal Oak Offshore Watch.

What is this watch about? This is the testosterone version of the Royal Oak, using a 42mm case and a chronograph, with the words “massive” and “deconstructed”. Some people will remember how many collectors and industry insiders were disappointed with this new product when it was unveiled at the Basel Watch Fair in 1993. Even Gerald Genta was shocked. However, others were surprised by the new concept designed by a young man named Emmanuel Gueit (22 years old at the time). The vibration was so strong that the watch was immediately called a “beast”.

The Royal Oak Offshore 25721ST was a huge watch at the time. It was 42 mm in diameter and 15 mm in height. It was sharp and heavy. In fact, even with all the iconic design elements of the Royal Oak-the octagonal bezel, eight Hexagonal screws, raised bezel, tapestry dial, one-piece bracelet, the overall shape of the case-Offshore feels brand new and subversive. For example, it adopted the classic Royal Oak design and “deconstructed” it, for example by making the gasket between the case and bezel highly visible. It also introduced a new material mixed with metal—in this case, rubber. Later, ROO will be made of gold, ceramics and even forged carbon.

The return of the new Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph “The Beast”
This is not the first time Audemars Piguet has tried to bring back a modernized version of the classic 1993 Royal Oak Offshore, because in 2018, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of this model, the brand launched a limited edition watch-ref. 26237ST.OO .1000ST.01-quite faithful to the original in style and specifications. Although the original design remained until 2021, there were some notable changes, the first is a new internal movement, and the second is that this watch is now available as part of the permanent collection.

Watching this new version of the Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Chronograph 26238ST, fans of this concept will not be surprised. In fact, it is almost exactly the same as the ROO series of watches launched in 1993, at least visually, because some details have been updated, mainly on the back of the watch…let the original Royal Oak offshore model become Everything about the iconic model is kept alive: the oversized, multi-step shell; the classic Royal Oak elements; the combination of materials; the colors; the layout of the dial and its texture…but the first impression can be deceptive, Because this new version in 2021 has quite a few new features.

The case is basically the same as the old ROO. It has a diameter of 42 mm and a height of 15.2 mm, maintaining roughly the same proportions. The overall design is also quite similar to the original. The highly raised octagonal bezel has eight platinum screws, the exposed blue rubber washers between the case and the bezel, the blue rubber-coated buttons and the screws protected by the pointed tips. The classic combination of the locking crown guard and the vertically brushed surface is inspired by the large polished bevels on the side of the bezel and case. The case also retains the original 100m waterproof performance. Except for a few tenths of a millimeter here and there, as well as more precise adjustments to the parts and cleaner surface treatment (all thanks to modern production technology), this situation is very very familiar.

As you might expect, this new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Chronograph has the same feel on the wrist. Even today, 28 years after its launch, we are accustomed to oversized watches. The impression of people is certainly not that shocking. Nevertheless, it still has an influential design and muscular feel on the wrist, plus considerable weight. This one was taken on Xavier’s 17.5cm wrist (sorry for not adjusting the bracelet to the proper length). There is no doubt that this new ROO is still a veritable “beast”. But remember, this particular model is now one of the most “introverted” versions offered by Audemars Piguet in the offshore series… Whether you like the concept behind ROO or not, it is difficult to argue with the resulting visual impact Watch endlessly.

What really connects this new version of the Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Chronograph 26238ST with the original model in 1993 is its dial. Over the years, we have indeed seen this watch with the so-called “Méga Tapisserie” pattern on the dial, with large embossed squares, while the original model has a more refined “Petite Tapisserie” pattern, thanks to the guilloche Pattern craftsmanship-almost the same as the Royal Oak Jumbo in 1972. The performance of this new ROO chronograph has returned. For this stainless steel version, it also brings back the classic dark blue.

Just like when you compare the modern Royal Oak Jumbo 15202 with the vintage 5402, the “Petite Tapisserie” dial of the new Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph is even more impressive in terms of execution. Indeed, after years of polishing the guilloche craft, the gaps between the squares are thinner, the texture is much clearer, the pattern is more regular, and the overall rendering is very clear. But in addition to being more refined, this dial has many minor updates, such as a newly applied AP logo or a slightly redesigned magnifying glass for the date window at 3 o’clock.

All white marks have also been better defined, but Audemars Piguet retains the same shape of platinum application marks and hands, still full of Super-LumiNova. The real difference comes from the display. Of course, it retains the classic 6-9-12 layout of the sub-counters (the result of the modular chronographs in the past), but since the movement is now produced in-house, the positions of these counters have changed because the small second hand is now at 6 The o’clock position, which used to be the 12 o’clock position, the hour register of the chronograph is located here. The 30-minute counter remains at the 9 o’clock position. Finally, this is an important detail, all the sub-counters are now the same size and spacing. The weird position of the counter at 12 o’clock is gone forever,

The reason behind this new layout is simple: this Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph is equipped with the brand’s internal integrated chronograph. The 44xx movement, originally introduced in code 11.59, is a modern, technologically advanced movement that originally adopted the classic 3-6-9 layout. In order to retain the iconic display, it must adapt to this watch. Other than that, the specifications are familiar. We are talking about a self-winding chronograph movement with a column wheel and a vertical clutch, as well as a flyback function, which resets the chronograph session during operation by simply pressing the button at 4 o’clock. perfect cheap watches

This large movement (32 mm in diameter) is called the 4404 movement, which can be seen through the bottom cover and includes a rather spectacular reset mechanism and its three aligned hammers. Decoration includes straight and round satin brushed, Geneva stripes, pearl patterns on both sides and large polished chamfers. It runs at 4Hz, has a power reserve of 70 hours, and is wound by a 22k gold oscillating weight.

Classically, this new Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Chronograph 26238ST is worn on an integrated RO bracelet, and all top surfaces (including the middle link) are brushed. There is a beautiful bevel on the side, and the bracelet is closed with a folding clasp. But if you look closely at the pictures of the movement, you will notice that there are pushers on the back of the links. In fact, this new ROO is equipped with an ingenious interchange system, so you can change the bracelet to a blue rubber strap (also included in the box) without tools.

Technical specifications-Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Chronograph 26238ST
Case: diameter 42 mm x 15.2 m-stainless steel, polished bevel-blue rubber gasket between case and bezel-rubber-coated button and screw-in crown-sapphire crystal and case back-water resistance up to 100 metres
Dial: Blue dial with “petite Tapisserie” pattern, blue counter and white gold coated hour markers-hour markers and minute hands treated with luminous coating-tachymeter bezel-date window with magnifying glass at 3 o’clock-12 There is a 12-hour counter at o’clock, a 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, and a small seconds counter at 6 o’clock
Movement: AP caliber 4404, internal integrated automatic flyback chronograph, column wheel and vertical clutch-32 mm-381 parts-40 jewels-28,800 times / hour-70 hours power reserve-hours, minutes, small seconds , Date, chronograph with flyback, 30-minute and 12-hour counters
Bracelet: Integrated stainless steel bracelet with AP folding clasp and interchangeable system-includes additional blue rubber strap
Reference: 26238ST.OO.2000ST.01