Audemars Piguet has unveiled three new 42mm Royal Oak Offshore stainless steel dive watches. We got up close and personal with the three new AP ROO Diver watches with khaki, blue or grey dial designs, the new caliber 4308 and the new interchangeable strap system.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
The new AP Royal Oak Offshore Diver retails for CHF 23,400, slightly more than the existing ROO Diver (Ref. 15710ST.OO.A002CA.01 retails for CHF 20,600 and uses the older 3120 movement). Ref. 15720ST.OO.A052CA.01 (khaki) Ref. 15720ST.OO.A009CA.01 (grey), Ref. 15720ST.OO.A027CA.01 (blue). It is unclear if the older ROO Diver will be discontinued.
The AP ROO Diver is an extension of a watch that has existed in the AP catalog for a long time. Started in 2005 as the Offshore Scuba and renamed the Offshore Diver in 2010, the collection has evolved considerably over the past 16 years.
Case, Dial and Hands
The case is the familiar, chunky Royal Oak Offshore case with the iconic octagonal bezel design and hexagonal screws that are loved by many. As usual, the bezel is beautifully finished with a brushed, highly polished upper surface and a slightly angled bevel that aligns with the recesses of the screw heads to create a circle. As we discussed in our AP Factory Visit article, the bezel is not held in place by turning these screws, but by a nut at the back that is tightened through the middle of the case. The bezel uses color-coded washers – in khaki green, blue or gray between it and the case – to add visual appeal in what AP calls a sporty style.
The AP ROO Diver in Pathfinder Khaki has a diving bezel in beige for the first 15 minutes and black for the rest of the time with beige Arabic numerals.
The steel case has two crowns, at 3 and 10 o’clock, both in black ceramic. As with the bezel, the case alternates between a brushed matte finish and highly polished edges.
In the Prestine Grey, it offers a more monotone look. At this point, the diving bezel is white for the first 15 minutes and black for the rest of the time with white Arabic numerals. The photos show a blue tint for the 15-30 minutes, probably due to the anti-reflective coating on the sapphire.
The dial retains the “Méga-Tapisserie” motif that is now familiar to ROO watches. This motif was pressed on a special machine in the Le Brassus factory.
In the navy blue, the appearance is different again. The diving bezel is white for the first 15 minutes and black for the rest of the time, with white Arabic numerals.
The dial has an angled inner ring with 10 minutes marked with Arabic numerals and an odd interval of 5 minutes. The first 15 minutes of the inner bezel are also marked in a different color than the rest of the watch, a useful feature for divers. The khaki model is beige to match the beige print, rose gold hands and index appliques. The other two models are white to match the white print, white gold hands and hour markers. The bezel can be operated unidirectionally via the crown at 10 o’clock, which can be used to indicate, for example, the time remaining on a dive or a parking ticket.
At first glance, the dial looks similar to the old ROO Diver, but as with many AP models, it’s the details that make the difference. The new dial features faceted hour markers with rose gold appliques, cut into three sizes to improve readability. The longer hour markers indicate quarters, and the 12 hour markers are slightly larger than the other two, with the exception of the 15-minute markers, which are replaced by a date aperture. The shorter hour markers are shorter and more square-like and are used to mark 5-minute increments. The luminescent coating on the pink gold hour markers and pink gold hands provides good visibility in the dark.
The new ROO Diver is equipped with a new (to AP) quick-change system for straps and buckles. The strap is released by pressing the two buttons on the edge of the strap where it meets the watch head. Inserting a new strap is a simple process with just one push. Calfskin straps are also available in beige, brown and black. The strap buckle is released by flipping a door that allows the pin buckle to slide open and out of the way.
These quick change systems introduced by May maison are an interesting concept that allows manufacturers to keep their revenue streams intact and prevent them from falling into the hands of aftermarket strap makers. But maybe it’s just a matter of time before strap makers start adapting their aftermarket straps to use these quick release systems as well. Time will tell.
Movement: AP Calibre 4308
The watch is equipped with a new self-winding movement and an instantaneous date indicator. caliber 4308 was designed and manufactured in-house at Brassus with a patented setting system. The Associated Press did not release details, but claims that the new mechanism brings stability and precision in adjusting the watch’s functions. Perhaps this refers to the tendency of the minute hand to wobble when pushed into the otherwise excellent old 3210 movement. But until we get confirmation from the Associated Press, we’re just guessing. In our hands-on experience, we did notice that the minute hand remained stationary when the crown returned to the winding position after setting the hands.
The movement finishing is very good. When judged as a diving tool watch, it is exceptionally good. When judged as a fine watch product, it is still very, very good. Nothing has been left out. From the “Côtes de Genève” and the “special texture” to the circular graining. The execution is refined, confident and very good. Of particular beauty is the new dedicated oscillating weight in black 22-carat pink gold.
The new movement retains the robustness of the 3120 balance cock, and although we did not have the opportunity to test it for a long time, we see no warning that this new movement will become a staple, albeit an elegant and beautiful looking one.
The world of dive watches is a huge one. Here we are considering candidates with a minimum water resistance rating of 300 meters. Even so, this field is huge. On the contrary, this AP competes with the top luxury dive watches. Therefore, if we limit ourselves to the luxury positioning of the ROO Diver, the situation is considerably narrower.
But let’s start with a tool watch. The obvious candidates are ubiquitous but difficult to source dive models from Rolex. We are certainly talking about the Rolex Submariner. the latest version was introduced last year and includes a white gold model: the Rolex Submariner. the Submariner line has matured and a mature secondary market supports the high demand for these products. However, Rolex’s retail price is well below AP ROO Diver pricing, but usually market pricing can balance the difference. Of course, this ignores the fact that some ROOs do require a premium as well.
closer to the point of retail price, in luxury circles the intention could be various Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. We recently reviewed the Fifty Fathoms without radiation and despite the fact that it has just been launched, it has already sold out all 500 pieces. Priced at S$ 19,500, it is also cheaper than the AP, although it is equipped with the Blancpain 1151 movement, which rivals the AP 4302 in terms of refinement and finishing.
In the top luxury circles, perhaps only brands like Richard Mille are left. A Richard Mille RM28 Diver which retails for a whopping $79,000. Like all other RM watches, it is positioned in the uppermost stratosphere.
None of the other three major brands – namely Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin – offer dive watches. So perhaps the AP ROO Diver is the king of the segment.
We had a great time at AP ROO Offshore. the 42 mm case diameter is very comfortable on the wrist, as is the soft rubber strap. The visual aesthetics are typical of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore. Big, bold and daring, but without losing its sophistication and relaxed atmosphere. The watch has a great wrist look that others will notice when someone enters the room with the ROO Diver. The colorful dial and matching strap make it even more striking.
For AP fans, this is something to add to the collection. For others, it will be a tough chase to get one. the AP ROO is an IT watch just like any other popular product. We say, if you have the chance to get one, do it! Just because it’s an Audemars Piguet watch. Just because it’s a Royal Oak Offshore. Just because it’s cool, and it makes you super cool!