Audemars Piguet, the vaunted manufacture from Les Brassus, wasn't doing so well at the end of the 1960s.
Their horological prowess aside, times were changing, customer tastes were evolving, and AP was stuck firmly in a very traditional past. Fortunately for us, their executives recognized this, and bet it all on the launch of an avant garde timepiece the likes of which the world had never seen.
Utilizing the talents of a designer named Gerald Genta, AP planned from the beginning to make this new watch, dubbed the Royal Oak, a contradiction to tradition, and it became the world's first “luxury sports watch” — made in stainless steel, no less. The gamble paid off: Genta became a household name, and the watch world clamored to get its hands on the Royal Oak’s cutting-edge design, which featured a sharply angled watch with integrated bracelet, micro-tapisserie dial, and ultra-thin movement.
In 1993, the Royal Oak line expanded to include the Offshore Chronograph, which drove the bulk of sales for AP in the past few decades. Debatably, the Offshore is responsible for carrying AP into the 21st century and ushering it into the powerhouse position in which it exists today.
This particular Offshore, a Reference 26400AU, dates to circa 2000s and features a 44mm forged carbon case with a sapphire crystal, a signed ceramic crown, a luminous black mega-tapisserie dial with black sub registers and a matching handset, a black ceramic bezel, and Audemars Piguet Calibre 3126/3840 automatic-winding chronograph movement - visible through the sapphire display caseback. It comes fitted to a textured black rubber strap with a signed titanium pin buckle.
This is a watch that successfully marries haute horlogerie with a tactical aesthetic.
Not an easy feat, by any means!
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