Last year almost around this time, we received an email from a friend and watchlifestyler that lives in London asking for our advice on whether he should purchase or not an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore ref. 25721ST.OO.1000ST.01 fitted with the very same blue dial just as the very first original Royal Oak Offshore ever launched.
The seller, a very reputable store in Germany. The watch, in like new condition with box and papers but with no 'Offshore', 'AP' nor 'Automatic' markings on the case back —the last digits on the serials have been blurred for security reasons. Additionally, the No. engraving is missing the underline on the superscript o.
Once we received the pictures of the watch and checked the serial numbers against our early Royal Oak Offshore example—under the 200 serial range—we knew the watch was legit. The D-serial sequence on both watches had the right chronological order. Our watch pictured below —we have also blurred the last digits on the the serial numbers— was the one used for comparison purposes and to authenticate this situation.
However, we will admit that the lack of the 'Offshore', 'AP' and 'Automatic' engravings as well as the difference in the way the No. engraving is presented on the case back were somewhat confusing. Nevertheless, we've heard that the first 50 Offshores ever made, were missing these engravings. Were we looking at one of those collector's pieces? Could this one be one of them?
Based on the pictures we received, we followed our watch collector's instinct and our gut feeling and told our friend and watchlifestyler to move forward with the deal. We are so glad he followed our advice and purchased this rare example.
A few weeks after purchasing the watch, our friend and watchlifestyler reached out to Audemars Piguet, who has confirmed the authenticity of this piece. Additionally, he also reached out directly to Emmanuel Gueit —the creator of the Royal Oak Offshore—in order to confirm the situation regarding the lack of engravings. Based on all accounts previously mentioned, we can now confirm that this is one of the first 100 pieces ever made of the iconic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore.
Seems that the reason why the first 100 pieces of this reference don't bear the 'Offshore' engraving on it, it's because Audemars Piguet wasn't sure at the time whether this reference should've been called 'Offshore' or not. Interesting enough, the other early example of the Offshore—the one we used for authentication purposes of this 'rare' example—is exactly 115 pieces apart from this 'rarity'. The D-serial and Royal Oak No. consecutive numbers can attest it.
When it comes to hunting down that one grail piece, sometimes going with your gut feeling is the best way to go. You don't want to end up regretting not getting that one grail you've always wanted.
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