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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph ladies model
Falling in love with Aphrodite’s watch
Spa-Francorchamps is probably the finest race track in the world.
I first visited the track in 1999 and was aghast at the velocity of Formula One cars driving through Eau Rouge, up the steep gradient of Raidillon and through the blind bend at the top of the hill.
A recent sojourn at the track was a more sedate affair, classic car racing courtesy of my hosts Audemars Piguet.
The site of Piquet’s Brabham or Jones’s Williams negotiating La Source took me back to my childhood and watching Formula One coverage on Sunday night television. Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain still resonates around my cerebral matter every time I think of this era.
I climbed into the front passenger seat of a Nissan GTR and giggled like a teenage girl as we entered Blanchimont at break-neck speed. The moment was surreal. The seatbelts strained to secure my torso as g-forces grew in magnitude and vacillated between positive and negative g.
A couple of laps in the air-condtioned comfort of the front passenger seat and I was exhausted. As I Imagine multiplying the heat, g-forces, speed and period on the track, I am left in awe of Prost, Senna, Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel et al.
The excitement of the track paled by comparison when I viewed the vast array of watches on show from Le Brassus. The pièce de résistance was a ladies’ wristwatch adorning a petite and beautiful Greek nymph, Aphrodite, the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph ladies' model.
The Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph celebrates its twentieth birthday this year and is in danger of being overshadowed by the fortieth anniversary of its more famous cousin, the Royal Oak. The Offshore is a design classic and the 37mm case size suits a feminine wrist admirably.
The Méga Tapisserie dial in black is a bold evolution of the Petite Tapisserie dial first seen on the 1972 Royal Oak.
White Arabic numerals are presented in a bold, contemporary font.
Continuing the angelic hue of the numerals, the “Royal Oak” hour and minute hands are white gold with luminescent coating.
A clean, narrow second hand is used for the chrono function.
The dial features three sub-dials; hour chrono counter, minute chrono counter and subsidiary seconds. The sub-dials repeat the monochrome pallete with white; numerals, indices and hands presented on a black background.
A date aperture is located between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock.
An octagonol bezel frames the dial and features eight screws. The screw heads perfectly follow the adjacent line of the bezel. No detail is overlooked.
This particular model features four brilliant-cut diamonds between each screw head, 32 in total.
I have seen some independent retailers retro-fit diamonds to an Audemars Piguet, however, this is fraught with danger.
Audemars Piguet sources diamonds ethically, no conflict or so-called “blood diamonds” are used. Moreover, the quality of the diamonds is very high.
To retro-fit diamonds to a fine timepiece is to compromise its integrity. It reminds me of someone purchasing a prestigious motorcar only to fit a cheap aftermarket set of alloy wheels.
The bezel is rubber clad and affords the watch a sporty feel. Available in a choice of white or black, I personally share Aphrodite’s predilection for black.
The case is stainless steel and compliments the adjacent rubber details. The satin-finish works in harmony with the brilliance of the diamonds.
The chrono-pushers and crown are coated in rubber and screw-locked. The crown has some of its stainless steel core visible, underscoring the cohesion of the materials chosen.
The rubber strap and case are joined in purposeful union which no man will readily put asunder. The strap also features the Audemars Piguet branded deployant in stainless steel.
The case back is solid. This is my one frustration with this watch as I know that a sapphire case back would afford a wonderful spectacle of the peerless craftsmanship typical of AP. I recently made this comment to someone from Audermars Piguet. I explained that I can see the pleasing form of a beautiful lady in an attractive dress, but like many alpha males I want to admire the lingerie beneath even more.
The movement is finely finished and wonderful to behold. I have had the good fortune to see Audemars Piguet movements at close quarters and they perfectly demonstrate the mechanical mastery of the artisans of Le Brassus.
The 18-carat gold rotor is delightfully detailed with Côtes de Genève motif. The bridges and plate feature circular graining. Chamfering and polishing are expertly executed with due patience afforded in the pursuit of perfection.
Few Manufacture movements can match the sublime splendour of an AP movement.
Motor-racing has always been fascinating to me for as long as I can remember. However, as I look back at my weekend in Belgium, it was the watch worn by a blonde beauty called Aphrodite which is at the forefront of my recollections.
I have always had an interest in sartorial elegance and appreciated the grace of fine, feminine couture.
This ladies watch would harmonize with an elegant evening dress or work in concert with casual attire.
The Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph ladies model is incredibly versatile, practical and stylish but with a mechanical integrity which should never be overlooked.
A name like Aphrodite is synonymous with love and beauty and this watch was crafted with the former and imparts the latter in equal measure.
- Model: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph ladies model
- Case: stainless steel; diameter 37.00 mm; height 12.20 mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front; black rubber clad diamond-set bezel.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; subsidiary seconds; date; chronograph.
- Movement: calibre 2385, self-winding; frequency 21,600 vph ; 37 jewels; power reserve 40 hours.
- Strap: Rubber strap with stainless steel AP folding clasp
Ladies' Royal Oak Diamond-pavé ring
Audemars Piguet manufacture a range of jewellery to co-ordinate with their fine timepieces.
A particular favourite of mine is the ladies Royal Oak Diamond-pavé ring in white gold.
The ring features two scaled down octagonal bezels. They are small facsimiles of the Royal Oak bezels.
In between the bezel like edges of the ring are perfectly presented pavé diamonds delivered in seemless rows. The gem-setters skill, ordinarily employed on the finest haute joallerie timepieces, is exemplary and congruent with the artistry of the maison.
A total of 3.46 carats diamonds feature on the ring.
The white gold of the ring sits in harmony with the stainless case of the aforementioned watch, no conflicting hues but graceful accord imparting further pleasure to its fortunate owner.