Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, 79290BA, Yellow Gold

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A curious tribute to the Royal Oak Overseas Offshore, this reference 79290BA is 32mm in diameter, which is perhaps explained by the fact that the piece was originally sold in Japan. An excellent neo-vintage example that retains the robust proportions of the original Offshore watch, the piece is well-suited to a collector looking for a more approachable variant on a modern classic.

Origins of the royal oak Offshore

In many ways, the development history of the Royal Oak Offshore between 1989 and 1993 mirrors 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. Gérald 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 since achieved cult status.