Three new versions are added to the Millenary set at SIHH next month, with smaller cases and much more sparkle than ever. The Millenary is among three groups from Audemars Piguet that include ladies’ watches, but essentially, it is by far the most female-centric of their complete collections within the brand. The Royal Oak and the Royal Oak Offshore both have ladies’ versions, but they began as, and are known mainly as men’s collections. The jewellery sets are limited-edition one-offs, certainly not created for everyday wear or pocketbooks. That leaves the Audemars Piguet Millenary, with its distinctive elliptical case and off-center dial.The Millenary collection, which was established in 1995, has always been a stage for watchmaking’s metiers d’art, about a decade ahead of the resurgence of these crafts in the remaining part of the watch world. Gem-setting is a particular strength of this collection identifying the watches from the sportier Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore ladies’ pieces. At the same time, a partly openworked dial provides the Millenary a technical aspect — a reminder that it comes from one of the foremost makers of mechanical motions. The Millenary, last upgraded in 2015, will be refreshed with three brand new versions at SIHH next month in Geneva, including two all-gold versions set with diamonds and a single gold case variant using a strap.The case on the ring version has a “frosted gold” finish that gives it the look of hand-finished jewelry. Frosted gold is a collaboration between Audemars Piguet and Florentine jewelry designer Carolina Bucci, utilizing a technique called the Florentine method. It’s made by employing a diamond-tipped instrument to produce tiny indentations throughout the surface, culminating in a shimmering sparkle, like snow. The finish was released last year on the women’ Royal Oak. On the Millenary, it’s used between polished segments on the stepped bezel and lugs, as well as to regions of the case side. The signature offset sub-dials that record minutes, hours, and seconds are all set with opal, a new dial material for this group. Audemars Piguet additionally adds a style watch component to the strap version.
In a striking departure from the original design, Audemars Piguet Watch Weight Replica just unveiled the Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph, in an aggressive restyling for the 25th anniversary of its iconic oversized sports watch. Excepting the Royal Oak Concept of 2002, the 25th anniversary Offshore is arguably the most radical reimagining of the octagonal design to date.
Slated to mark its birthday next year, the Royal Oak Offshore was introduced in 1993, itself a commemorative model meant to mark the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak. Designed by a Emmanuel Gueit, now an independent designer whose greatest triumph was the Offshore, the watch was a beefed up, 42mm version of the slim, original Royal Oak, making it almost abnormally large for the era. While it was met with criticism from the industry – Royal Oak designer Gerald Genta reputedly disliked it – the Offshore grew to become one of the most influential watches in contemporary watchmaking, surpassing the Royal Oak in pop cultural significance.
In the early to mid 2000s the Offshore was arguably the hottest watch of the era, acquiring a cult status among celebrities and athletes, especially in the United States, with over 120 iterations and special limited editions, including versions dedicated to Jay-Z, Arnold Schwarzenegger and LeBron James.
The Offshore undergone slight tweaks over the years – once in 2006 and again in 2014 – but never to the extent undertaken with the new Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph. Slated for an official launch at SIHH 2018, it is both edgy and open-worked, gaining a menacing profile thanks to an entirely redesigned dial, movement and bezel.
While the complications and movement are based on an existing model (the refs. 26388PO & 26288OR), the anniversary model is defined by a new bezel. The famous octagonal bezel was slimmed down and hollowed out around the exposed screw heads (which are actually nuts as Royal Oak fans will know). In turn, the dial has been reduced to a series of eight skeletonised bridges that are secured by the eight nuts. Four of the largest bridges secure each of the twin barrels, as well as the tourbillon.
While the case has retained its signature style, subtle changes have given it a more athletic profile. The bevels on the flanks of the lugs are wider and more pronounced, for instance. It measures 45mm in diameter, and is available in both stainless steel and pink gold.
And as with the second generation Offshore chronograph, the crown and pushpieces are now in black ceramic instead of rubber-coated metal. On the steel model the pushpiece guards are titanium, while while the gold version they are in pink gold.
While the cal. 2947 movement inside is new, it is a variant of the existing cal. 2933. It is hand-wound, with both an integrated column wheel chronograph and tourbillon regulator, as well as double barrels that offer a seven-day power reserve.
Price and Availability
Limited to 50 pieces each, Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph in stainless steel (ref. 26421ST.OO.A002CA.01) is priced at SFr275,000 and the pink gold (ref. 26421OR.OO.A002CA.01) at SFr310,000; prices exclude taxes.