Audemars Piguet presents five new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph models in 42 mm equipped with the latest integrated flyback chronograph movement – the calibre 4404. Two of the new models are in either a titanium or stainless steel case in a light blue or khaki hue dial with their Méga Tapisserie dial pattern, and three additional references in stainless steel, titanium or 18-carat pink gold with the Petite Tapisserie pattern on the dial.
The release is actually two sets of 42mm Selfwinding Chronographs in 42mm Royal Oak Offshore case, totalling 5 new models. The first set is offered with the Méga Tapisserie dial pattern and comes in two case options: one in stainless steel and one in titanium, both sporting a black rubber crown and push-pieces with textured rubber straps. And the second set is offered with the Petite Tapisserie dial pattern in three case options: one in stainless steel, one in titanium, and one in pink gold. All these have metal bracelets of the same material as the case.
The Méga Tapisserie dials are made by machine stamping, while the Petite Tapisserie dials are traditionally made by computer controlled guilloché. For details on the dial manufacturing in AP, see our visit article here. The Méga Tapisseries are an interpretation of the original Royal Oak Offshore first seen in 2001, and the Petite Tapisseries represent an new evolution of the original Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph from 1993.
Both sets of the new iteration of the AP ROO Chronograph 42 are fitted with the new in-house movement – the caliber 4404. This movement was first seen as a variant known as 4401, which was introduced with the Code 11.59 Chronograph in 2019 and later in current 43mm ROO Chronograph. The 4401 was the first integrated chronograph movement developed and manufactured in-house by AP.
The 4404 is a redesign of the 4401 as AP wanted to return to the vertical 12/9/6 layout of the sub-counters in the 1993 Royal Oak Offshore model. In some intervening years, the ROO Chronograph featured the 3/6/9 horizontal layout. As the 4401 had a horizontal 3/6/9 layout of the sub-counters, and this change to make the sub-dial into a vertical 12/9/6 layout needed an additional movement plate. However the specifications of both calibers remain exactly the same. Both have 40 jewels, column-wheel flyback chronograph with vertical clutch and date. And measure the same diameter of 32mm with a power reserve of 70 hours, beating at 28,800 bph.
With the 4404, AP now has both sub-dial tricompax layouts for its chronographs. In the current AP Catalog, there still models which remains that are powered with either the caliber 3126/3840 (vertical sub-dials) and the caliber 2385 (horizontal sub-dials). These are movements with third party components. The 3126/3840 is the AP Caliber 3120 base movement with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module, while the 2385 is the F. Piguet 1185. Without any inside information, we speculate this will change soon and all chronographs will be powered by either the 4401 or 4404.
Two new models in the “Méga Tapisserie” dial pattern are introduced. One in a stainless steel case, and the other in a titanium case.
The stainless steel model sports a light blue dial with “Méga Tapisserie” pattern – first introduced in the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph collection in 2001 – enhanced with black counters and a black inner bezel. The orange used for the counters’ Arabic numerals and the chronograph’s central seconds hand adds a vivid touch of colour. In contrast, the titanium model combines a khaki “Méga Tapisserie” dial and a matching inner bezel, enriched with silver-toned counters with printed black hour-markers, Arabic numerals and chronograph hands.
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph Petite Tapisserie models are offered in stainless steel, as well as in two new case options: one in titanium and one in 18-carat pink gold. While Audemars Piguet released a previous model entirely crafted in titanium in 2004 (ref. 25721TI), it is the first time that it presents an evolution of the 1993 timepiece with “Petite Tapisserie” in 18-carat pink gold. The case and bracelet of the three timepieces have all been hand-finished with the Manufacture’s trademark alternation of satin-brushing and polished chamfers. The stainless steel and pink gold references are complemented with blue rubber push-pieces and crown, as well as a blue rubber gasket sealing the bezel onto the case. In contrast, the titanium timepiece sports a crown, a gasket and push-pieces all crafted in black rubber. Faithful to the original aesthetics, the three new Royal Oak Offshore Petite Tapisserie models incorporate the “Petite Tapisserie” pattern. The stainless steel variant features the iconic blue dial of the Royal Oak Offshore from 1993, a colour referred to as “Night Blue, Cloud 50” in the Manufacture’s archives. The pink gold reference highlights the “Night Blue, Cloud 50” dial with pink gold-toned counters, echoing the precious case’s colour. Last but not least, the titanium version adorns a light grey dial accentuated with black counters and a black inner bezel.
Although the timepieces have kept the original 1993 Royal Oak Offshore’s vertical counter display, the hour and small seconds counters have been inverted: the hour counter is now positioned at 12 o’clock, while the small seconds counter appears at 6 o’clock. For its part, the minute counter has remained at 9 o’clock. In addition, all the counters are now equidistant from the centre of the dial for more visual appeal.
The AP initials now appear at 3 o’clock. In the Méga Tapisserie models, this signature is now without the long-form signature for a more sportive look, while the traditional AP initials with long-form signature are still featured on the Petite Tapisserie models.
The five new Royal Oak Offshore models are powered by a new selfwinding integrated chronograph, Calibre 4404, equipped with column wheel and flyback function. Unlike a regular chronograph, the flyback function allows the wearer to stop, reset and start the chronograph in one simple action. The column wheel works in collaboration with a vertical clutch system. When the chronograph is started or stopped, the hands respond accordingly without any hint of jumping. Furthermore, the pushpieces feel smooth when pressed. A patented zero resetting mechanism ensures that each one of the counter hands instantaneously resets to zero. The watch’s sapphire caseback reveals the movement’s column wheel and the so-called “dance” of the chronograph hammers* when the chronograph is activated. The movement also boasts a dedicated 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight featuring the embossed AP initials, as well as refined hand-finishing, including “Côtes de Genève,” satin-brushing and polished chamfers.
The five new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronographs are complemented with the Manufacture’s new interchangeable strap system. The interchangeability has been directly integrated into the buckle and case’s studs, in perfect harmony with the case’s aesthetic codes. The ease and efficiency will allow clients to change the straps and buckles of their new timepiece themselves with a quick click and release. The double-push system grants optimum security when the watch is worn on the wrist.
The two models in the Méga Tapisserie are fitted on an interchangeable textured rubber strap in light blue or khaki shade echoing the respective dial colour. Both come with a second black interchangeable calfskin leather strap. While the three models in Petite Tapisserie are delivered with a metal bracelet of the same material as the case. The metal bracelet can be replaced with a rubber strap for a sportier look and lifestyle as the latest 42 mm versions come with a second interchangeable rubber strap – blue for the stainless steel and pink gold versions; black for the titanium piece. Fully waterproofed, the three models can travel underwater to a depth of 100 metres when worn on rubber strap.
The 2021 interchangeable strap assortment for the 42 mm Royal Oak Offshore also includes a light blue and a khaki textured rubber strap, as well as a black calfskin leather strap.