Royal Oak Offshore | 'The Beast'
First 500 pieces
The Audemars Piguet reference 25721 is the first iteration of the Royal Oak Offshore, a derivation of the original iconic Royal Oak, designed for the wrists of the most active and adventure-seeking collectors. As part of the first 500 pieces ever produced, this particular example features some unique characteristics, which make it particularly sought-after by collectors.
The development history of the Royal Oak Offshore between 1989 and 1993 mirrors in many aspects that of its primary source of inspiration, the original Royal Oak. In 1989, the joint Managing Director of Audemars Piguet, Stephen Urquhart, tasked a young, talented designer named Emmanuel Gueit to design a derivative version of the Royal Oak. Reportedly, the purpose of the request was to stimulate flagging sales of the Royal Oak by appealing to a younger audience.
The development process was arduous, with the project being interrupted and resumed on several occasions due to the controversial design of the watch, most notably its 42mm diameter. Rumour has it that when the watch was released at Baselworld in 1993, where it came to be nicknamed ‘The Beast’ due to its staggering proportions. Gerald Genta, the designer of the iconic Royal Oak and Nautilus, burst into the Audemars Piguet stand at Baselworld, denouncing the Offshore as having ruined his original design. However, the polarising design has achieved cult status since.
The Beast reinterprets key design features from the original Royal Oak. The dial adopts the tapisserie dial from the original Royal Oak 5402, yet introduces sub-dials for the chronograph and a date function with a magnifier. A tachymeter scale is also printed on the chapter ring. Further reinforcing the utility aspect of the watch, the chronograph pushers and crown are wrapped in a rubber-like material called therban, which is a high-performance elastomer that is fireproof to very high temperature. The stylised crown protection also clearly sets this watch apart, as a tool geared towards an active life.
The bracelet features thicker, rounded links and the correct double folding blade-type clasp, which was only fitted on the first 500 Royal Oak Offshores ever made. Often replaced with a service clasp, finding the original blade-like clasp is essential for collectors of early Offshores.
The watch is powered by caliber 2126/2840, based on an ébauche by Jaeger LeCoultre. The automatic movement was fitted with a Dubois Dépraz chronograph module. The unprecedented case size of the Offshore allowed the movement to be placed inside an anti-magnetic cover, thus giving the first Offshore excellent antimagnetic properties.
The Beast is accompanied by its original box featuring a glass porthole, which only came with the first 500 examples of the Offshore, with later examples having a similar box but with a solid leather top instead of glass. The original sale receipt from August 1997 and the original information booklet are also included.
The watch was recently serviced by Audemars Piguet, in May 2019. It is accompanied by its service receipt and service guarantee from authorised retailer Bucherer.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment only.
|Model:||Royal Oak Offshore ref. 25721|
|Movement:||mechanical automatic AP caliber 2126/2840|
|Functions:||chronograph, date, hours, minutes|
|Features:||unrestored, ‘tapisserie’ pattern dial, first 500|
|Case:||42mm stainless steel|
|Bracelet:||stainless steel AP bracelet with double folding blade-type clasp|
|Box & papers:||box, sale receipt, information booklet, service receipt, service guarantee|
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