Released to a bewildered public in 1993 at BaselWorld the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore was the result of 4 years of R&D and direct inspiration from one of the most influential watches of the 20th century, the Royal Oak. Designed by Emmanuel Gueit as a re-imagining of Gerald Genta’s 1972 Royal Oak, he sought for the Offshore to forge its own identity. He created this identity by giving the Offshore its own design philosophy, free from the Royal Oak’s precedent. He wanted the Offshore to be a watch for the active and adventure-seeking collector that wanted to push their watch to the limits. This translated into the Offshore having several differences to its predecessor. Most noticeably it was given a rather imposing 42mm case. While this might be par for the course in modern times, it was huge for the ’90s and was what made the public give the Offshore the nickname ‘The Beast’. A chronograph function, silicon capped chronograph pushers, stylized crown protection, a black gasket for the bezel and curved bracelet links all add up to the Offshore having its own identity as a watch for the collector that doesn’t want to just sit around with their watch but use their watch for what it was designed.
Gueit's original concept sketches didn’t receive much praise within AP and as such only 100 prototypes were produced. These original 100 models had a bracelet with a folding clasp that has since been replaced by the open structure clasp we see today. The links on these bracelets were secured by 4 screws, which was later adapted for the increased functionality. 27 years after its release the Offshore collection has remained as one of AP’s main vehicles for showcasing their innovation and design choices. The Offshore has successfully managed to blend the luxurious with the sporty and in doing so shook off the constraints that might have originally been associated with being a re-imagining of one of the most iconic watches of all time.