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.
-> 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)