In the early nineties the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore was introduced. The extreme sport version was created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak . It features up to 300m water resistance and uses rugged materials like carbon and rubber. With a large 42mm case, it was the world’s first oversized watch. It was, in fact, AP’s first sport chronograph.
The original Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph was designed by a junior designer at AP named Emmanuel Gueit. At the time, he was just 22 years old and under the direction of Jacqueline Dimier, Gerald Genta’s immediate successor as head of the Audemars Piguet design department. Gueit’s idea for an oversized, waterproof chronograph was completely foreign to the AP of the day, and the industry as a whole. Keep in mind, nobody was making high-end sports chronographs back then, just as nobody was making high-end sports watches in steel in 1972 when this came out.
It can be said that it’s the Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore that have made the Audemars Piguet truly famous. Indeed, Audemars Piguet offers other collections as well such as the Audemars Piguet Edward Piguet, the Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars, and the Audemars Piguet Millenary. None of them however have made Audemars Piguet as famous as it is today, and none of them offers any divers watches. Celebrities that are known to have endorsed Audemars Piguet are Lebron James, Michael Schumacher, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In 1997, Gueit and AP concocted a wide range of new colors for the Offshore, to celebrate 25 years of the Royal Oak. This was the beginnging of the limited editions for the Offshores, and it was the very same year Guiet conceived the first collaboration with a celebrity for a model – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s End of Days. The limited edition of 500 PVD treated watches caused a huge stir with young collectors, often paying over retail to get their hands on what can now be described as the first “big black watch.”
Since Audemars Piguet manufactures and sells a relatively small volume of watches per year – each one charged at a premium price, it’s very rare that you’ll find a local retailer that offers Audemars Piguet, and very rare that you’ll ever see a person wear Audemars Piguet on the street. You can never mistake an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, for anything else but an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Replica Swiss!