Luxury watches are more mainstream now than they’ve ever been. Watch brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet are high end, traditional watchmakers with lengthy history who have found their way to the top of contemporary culture – AP watches flooded with diamonds being one of the most fashionable options, high in demand.
Aftermarket CustomizationsThis 42mm Royal Oak Offshore Stainless Steel (25940SK) was made all black using a custom black PVD coating, then it was flooded with black diamonds in a pave setting. We completely covered the watch in diamonds, excluding the black dial and clasp. The look we produced is bold, aggressive and loud, yet in a concealed manner. Below we will break down each part of the watch and discuss black diamonds, pave settings and PVD coatings.
BLACK PVD CoatingBack in the day, powder-coated paint was used on stainless steel watches to make them black. The problem with this method was that the paint would scratch off easily. The solution to this was to use physical vapor deposition (PVD) to create a thin, hard coating of black material on the watch, which is nearly impossible to scratch. Not only did it protect the steel but it also protected the factory finish of the watch. PVD is now the go-to method for creating all-black watches. Black watches offer a stealthy look that pairs exceptionally well with purposeful tool watches, especially the Audemars Piguet Offshore. Moreover, an all-black AP watch goes incredibly well with almost every outfit – informal or formal. The process of PVD is time-consuming and fairly expensive. A watchmaker must vaporize numerous metals, then they bind it to surfaces in layers within a heated vacuum. The result is a charming matte black steel aesthetic, as seen with this AP Offshore which is completely PVD coated.
Black DiamondsBlack (Carbonado) diamonds is one of the toughest forms of natural diamonds. It consists of diamond, graphite and amorphous carbon, and it is more porous than most diamonds. Black diamonds have a very interesting history. Historically, they use to be rejected by jewelers, for almost any kind of jewelry piece. Yet now in the 21st century, they are contending with the always-beloved clear diamond for the position as center stone in engagement rings. Contemporary jewelry enthusiasts regard the black gem’s appearance as unique and enigmatic. It is a beautiful stone with a distinct aesthetic that’s unlike any other. In our opinion, it is the perfect diamond for men’s watches, as it offers a really powerful look. We took advantage of the high demand for fully iced out (“blackout”) watches by placing hundreds of black diamonds throughout this freshly PVD coated AP Offshore – the case, bezel and bracelet are completely flooded with black diamonds. However, we left the dial alone to make for easy legibility, as diamond-covered dials usually obscure the rest of the dials features. We used the classic Pave setting, which we will explain now.
PAVE SETTINGA pave setting is one of the most commonly discussed settings in the jewelry industry. Even those outside of the industry have heard of Pave settings, but they don’t exactly know what it means. The word pave (pa-vay) comes from the French word meaning “to pave”, which makes a lot of sense because a pave setting is essentially paving a surface with diamonds. To put in simply, a pave setting contains many small gemstones (in this case black diamonds), which are set closely together. The gems in a pave setting are separated and adhered by small beads or prongs in the settings metal (in this case stainless steel). The end result is a continuous monolithic surface of gems or diamonds, a fully coated, iced out (in this case BLACKED-OUT) continuously shining watch.
We decided to pave the entire bracelet, case and bezel with black diamonds on this Stainless Steel AP Royal Oak Offshore.Now that we discussed the aftermarket customizations, let’s discuss what’s underneath it all – the original timepiece, as it comes factory made by Audemars Piguet.
ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE – REF. #25940SK.OO.D002CA.03.The Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph is a strong watch. It’s big, it’s sporty, and although it’s only a quarter of a century old, it’s a classic. The watch is edgy, masculine and bold (even before being flooded with diamonds), especially when comparing it to rival sports watches like the Patek Philippe Nautilus. You can tell that the Royal Oak Offshore (in fact, the Royal Oak line as a whole) took inspiration from the ambiance of the yacht and boating world. This AP ROO Chronograph has a no-nonsense stainless steel combo of case, bezel, lugs, and bracelet. A black mega tapisserie “waffle” dial with gorgeous luminous filled white gold Arabic numerals and white subdials that provide constant seconds, a chronograph 30-minute totalizer and 12-hour totalizer. Additionally, it has a screwdown crown, push pieces and is water resistant down to 330ft… Speaking of water, let’s dive into the specifics of each part a bit.
AP Offshore Stainless Steel CaseThe case is 42mm in diameter but it wears far larger than a traditional 42mm. The lugs are 54mm across the wrist. However, if you were to measure the outermost most ridged outcrop (the points that can be bent down around the wrist) it is 58mm, making it super impressive in size. It’s definitely a better watch for wrists that are at least 15cm. It will be far more compact for bigger wrists comparing to the diver rubber straps. In regards to thickness, it is actually not excessively thick, at 14.5mm, especially when considering all of its complications. This AP Offshore will fit under dress cuffs without a problem. With that being said, we think of this more as a daytime watch. The case as a whole is very nicely made, with the perfect alignment of the crease lines from the bezel down to caseback. Also, AP thoughtfully used screws to secure the bracelet to the case rather than spring bars. For the money paid, a screw fixed bracelet is what the people deserve. Furthermore, to add to the uniqueness and impeccable design, the Offshore features a fully expressed bezel gasket. The original Royal Oak has a much thinner bezel gasket compared to the Offshore. The AP Offshore has a much more noticeable and structurally aesthetic element of the watch’s design. It’s a great touch as it breaks up the watches monolithic stretch of the metal when looking at it from the side. The Bezel expresses strong geometry with its shape. It has hexagonal bolts and sharp lips from the edge to the sides. However, the sides are slightly rounded, which makes for an absolutely handsome contrast.
BraceletThe bracelet truly makes a huge difference for this watch, both aesthetically and ergonomically. Stainless steel bracelets are far less common than rubber straps. It’s likely that around 1 out of 4 or 5 AP ROO leave the factory with a stainless steel bracelet. This version definitely pays tribute to the original design of the Royal Oak with its perfectly integrated bracelet and case. It’s also a higher value over many other rubber straps that AP produces because you are simply getting more Audemars Piguet for your money. Not to mention, you don’t need to swap out the strap if you want to get it wet in the ocean or when taking a shower, as you would with a non-diver, non-water-resistant AP band. In terms of appearance, the bracelet provides a much more grandiose stance on the wrist. The bracelet is just as charming as the case and bezel, as it is so well done. It completes the impressive artistry that really defines the Royal Oak Offshores watch as a whole. Overall, it’s impeccably handsome and ergonomically magnificent. If you were to run your fingers down the flank of the bracelet, you wouldn’t feel the taper within each link. It feels as if it spans continuously and smoothly. Yet, you can see that they do taper. This goes to show just how incredible the tolerances are on the AP bracelet. In regards to comfort, it has plenty of space between the links to ventilate wrists on hot days. There are also broad notches between the individual links that avert pinched skin or pulled hair. Additionally, the links are quite short – narrow vertically and wide horizontally – which makes the watch feel plush on the wrist; reminding us closely of the Rolex President bracelet in terms of feel. Super comfortable.
Double Fold ClaspAs with the rest of the watch, the clasp is made admirably. It’s curvy and ample in size, perfectly following the arc of the wrist’s underside. The double fold prevents pinching of skin when closing it. When it’s closed, it’s as superbly secure thanks to a strong clamshell, engraved with the AP logo. The grip points on the side allow for an easy opening as well.
DIALFrom the outboard in, the tachymeter slopes down into the bezel. The dial features a black mega tapisserie “waffle” design. The Arabic numerals are a legendary part of the Royal Oak Offshore line and these have a flavorful lime green tint lume to them when in low light conditions. There is a recessed white on black date disc behind a cyclops eye. There are three sub-registers, as part of the chronograph complications. And, as the subdials are white on a black dial, they really pop, making for easy legibility and a pleasant, sporty appearance. We love how the dial’s design covers some of the numerals on the left side with the subdials. It really goes to show the level of exquisite artistry that AP puts into every aspect of the watch.
MovementThe movement is an AP 2326 base calibre combined with a 2840 vertical clutch chronograph module. It pivots on 50 jewels and has 28,800bph. It has a 40-hour power reserve, so you shouldn’t have to worry when putting it back on after the weekend. The AP ROO has ‘quick set date’ and ‘stop seconds’ features. Overall, the watch’s robustness is due to the full balance bridge and a free sprung balance, plus the base calibre is pretty thick itself. The movement is beautiful and extremely reliable. The fact that you can’t actually see this goes to show just how much integrity AP has.
Black diamond watches look incredible when paired with other black diamond jewelry.