Saturday, 3 February 2007

"like a Ferrari with a 4 Cylinder Engine..." Whats in an Offshore

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshores are beautiful amazing watches. They come in the same basic shape and size but in a myriad number of case / bezel / bracelet / strap materials, dial, subdial, numerals and hand color combinations. I believe people don't really buy the Offshore for the movement inside as compared to someone looking at a Lange Datograph or a high end tourbillon but from time to time, the questions is raised about how good is it. Whats ticking inside? What is the heart in this masterpiece that would make a highly renowned watchmaker whom a lot of watch-loving folks respect(including myself) make the comment that appears in the title to this post?

I believe AP is in the process of coming out with new in-house chrono movements and may in time fit them in their new editions but for now the current Offshores have the calibre 2326/2840 movement.

- Beats at 28,800 bph
- Dubois Depraz chronograph module fitted on top of a base self-winding movement
- Base movement is AP 2326 based on the JLC 899.
Going backwards:
-> 2326 (JLC 899) uni-directional winding
-> 2226 (Based on 2225(28,800) based on JLC 889/2) Bi-directional winding
-> 2126 (Based on 2125(21,600 33 jewels) based on JLC 889(28,800) and
-> 2123 based on JLC 888 possibly

- Balance wheel is now a variable-inertia one - Power reserve 38 hours

All finely finished, tested and assembled by AP for a reliable and reasonably robust movement.

So whats so bad about modular chronographs? Its not conclusive and it will depend from watch to watch but the chrono pusher feel is supposed to be worse when comparing an integrated chrono to a modular chrono. The hands for time may jump forward on activating the chrono which isn't that great.

Why did AP choose to use a JLC ebauche? Back in the early 90s when the Offshore came out, it wasn't uncommon for JLC to provide base ebauches to a lot of the great houses and in some cases the movements were co-designed or development costs were funded by the house requesting for the movement. AP did also own a significant equity stake in JLC in the past before selling it to Richemont. And in-house wasn't so important as it is the trend today. There weren't that many integrated chronos available then as well that AP would consider putting in the offshore.

After all of this, my thoughts are this. Its a great watch with a great design and its from Audemars Piguet. Whats not to love?

(Movement pictures from timezone and thepurists)


Speedmaster said...

Nice post! And very glad to have found your blog.

raphmeister said...

Thanks :) Hope to have more interesting contributions in future.

raphmeister said...

A question was posed to me relating to this post "When was the 2226 > 2326 change made?" so I thought I would put my answer here for others who may be curious to know...

"i think the 2326 started coming in the end 2005 offshores onwards. Safe to say that it can be found in most production pieces in 2006 but of course this differs from delivery and actual sales of the watch so probably ADs were moving their 2226 offshores in the first months of '06 and then hit on selling the ones with 2326 in Q2 '06 onwards

Easiest to tell from when they started introducing the movement in the LEs. The JayZ(Feb 2005), Montoya and RB1(nov 2005) for example has the 2226 but the pride of russia(nov 2005), QEII (apr 2006) has the 2326.

note the TA will have the 2326 as I believe they didn't see the need to rejig the 3126 to fit with the 2848 as yet. following the it ain't broke don't fix it argument. hope this answers your question."

Anonymous said...

Hi raphmeister

yr write-ups have been a rich vein of information for me and i've really enjoyed yr posts.

Was hoping to tap on yr expertise as i've made my first AP purchase recently and it came with the 2325 movement. Hence was hoping you'd help me shed some light on this particular movement as i've not encountered much success on the net.

Much thanks and appreciation in advance !


raphmeister said...

hi chris

my apologies but i dont know much about the 2325 movement. its a time and date only movement as far as i can tell. found in some royal oaks, scubas and in some millenarys...

sorry but i don't know much about this movement.


Patrik/Sweden said...

I thougt that 2226 was the jlc 889, and the 2326 was the jlc 899 !!??

Raphael Too said...

Hi Patrik, its been awhile since i wrote this. Based on my research then I think this was what i had arrived at...

Having seen both 2326 and 899 Cal pictures I would say that there does look to be more similarities between the 2 cals so yourself, watchtime may be right.

I am open to correcting this to reflect the right info after i make more checks into this.


mariusg said...

Why do you say "like a Ferrari with a 4 Cylinder Engine"?
Are you referring to the chrono module instead of using a movement with the chronograph built-in?
If this is the case, I must disagree. The correct tile should have been "fully Italian Lamborghini". IMO using a JLC movement is nothing to be shamed of. And this is also true for incorporating a chrono movement made by a house specialized in complex modules.

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