Yesterday October 4th, 2018, Phillips Watches published an article written by Arthur Touchot about the Royal Oak Offshore ‘The Beast’ belonging to designer Emmanuel Gueit. This watch with case number No. 39 will be offered by Phillips in their upcoming Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT taking place at the Hotel La Reserve, in Geneva, on November 10th and 11th. As you guys know, a couple of years ago, I published a very comprehensive guide explaining everything there is to know about this very first Royal Oak Offshore ref. 25721ST ‘The Beast’ —you can read my article here—; therefore, it is impossible for me not to speak up about the inaccuracies I found on the Phillips article written by Arthur Touchot —that you can read here. These inaccuracies take away from the importance and relevance of this particular Royal Oak Offshore being offered for sale and a watch that in our opinion could very well be considered the ‘grail of all Royal Oak Offshores’.
Below, you will find excerpts from the article I am referencing.
“While remaining faithful to the core tenants of Genta’s design – the octagonal bezel and Grande Tapisserie dial - Gueit injected some testosterone into the line by increasing the size of both the case and the bracelet, and by adding a thin layer of colourful rubber on parts of the watch, including the pushers and the crown.”
With all respect to the writer, here’s what needs to be clarified. First and foremost, the type of dial on the Royal Oak Offshore designed by Emmanuel Gueit is not a ‘Grande Tapisserie’ —as stated— but a ‘Petit Tapisserie’, just like that on the very first Royal Oak Jumbo ref. 5402 from 1972.
…by adding a thin layer of colourful rubber on parts of the watch, including the pushers and the crown.”
Second, the article makes reference to the use of ‘rubber’ on the crown and pushers of the first Royal Oak Offshore, which is also relatively incorrect. While related to rubber, the material used on ‘The Beast’ is called 'therban' and this material is a high performance elastomer that is fireproof to very high temperatures and originally developed by Dupont and not necessarily ‘rubber’.
For collectors of this reference, this is yet another 'must-have' element on any correct Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore reference 25721ST 'The Beast' —regardless of its production date.
The original Royal Oak Offshore ref. 25721ST 'The Beast' is equipped with blue 'therban' pushers and crown and not with rubber clad. Unfortunately, some examples of 'The Beast' that have been serviced outside of Audemars Piguet service facilities or in more recent years, will have rubber clad black or blue pushers and crown, instead of the blue 'therban' correct ones.
Third, Arthur Touchot states that the 2018 reissue/re-edition of the Royal Oak Offshore ‘The Beast’ ref. 26237ST is identical to the original ‘Beast’ by saying:
“The new Offshore is identical in almost every way to the one introduced in 1993. The similarities honour Gueit’s original design. Nothing’s been added, and nothing’s been removed. The only thing that has changed is the company’s position in the world of luxury, and crucially, the number of Offshores they will be selling this year.”
I am sorry to say this, but the previous statement is inaccurate. The reissue is as close as it gets, however, it is really not identical at all because of the following reasons:
Hue of blue on the dial is slightly darker and the ‘petite tapisserie’ on its dial is slightly bigger than that on the original Royal Oak Offshore ref. 25721ST. If you count the squares between the central hands pinion and the date aperture, you will be able to tell the difference.
Pushers and crown are not made of ‘therban’ but rubber clad.
Date on the calendar disc is dark blue on the re-edition instead of black. Additionally, the font on the re-edition is slightly different.
Bracelet is different in several ways. The removable links to size the bracelet feature two screws instead of four and the original folding clasp with a blade-type construction —present on the first 500 Royal Oak Offshores ever made— has been replaced by the modern era one.
The first 100 examples of the original Royal Oak Offshore ‘The Beast’ are not marked Royal Oak Offshore on its case back but ‘Royal Oak’.
The Original Royal Oak Offshore is powered by the calibre 2126/2840 based off of a Jaeger-LeCoultre movement, while the reissue/re-edition is powered by calibre 3126/3840 based off of the in-house Audemars Piguet calibre 3120.
Lastly, it was surprising to read Emmanuel Gueit’s comments about the clasp on his watch. The article states:
“He remembers on one occasion being approached at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) by a man who claimed the buckle of his watch was incorrect. Gueit politely responded it was, explaining that he had designed the watch, and that his was a very early model, Number 39, which he received from Urquhart during a factory visit soon after the Offshore was greenlit into production.“He picked it up from the production line and said ‘Here, this one’s yours.’ It was an amazing gesture,” says Gueit.”
Not sure if Emmanuel Gueit is referencing a conversation that him and I had about his clasp. Earlier this year, we discussed over Instagram direct messages how his clasp wasn’t the original clasp as documented by Audemars Piguet in their GO Offshore book and from what I’ve see on many examples I’ve studied including my very own Royal Oak Offshore ref. 25721ST ‘The Beast’ D-Serial —second 100 examples ever produced. During this conversation and after sending me pictures of his very own watch No. 39, Guiet said:
“Nope you wrong. This is the original clasp.”
I explained to him that Audemars Piguet had documented the blade-type clasp as the original one and that per my study of the reference it was supposed to be the right one. Furthermore, I have an example fitted with such clasp. His last message read:
“I know it’s not the first time I see this mistake. They all young!”
Well, despite what the original designer of the watch says, below you will see an image straight from the Audemars Piguet GO Offshore book that shows that the blade-style clasp was the type of clasp originally fitted on the very first Royal Oak Offshore from 1993. By the way, the picture corresponds to an ‘unmarked’ example only a few numbers apart from Emmanuel Gueit’s watch. In all truth, not sure why his watch is fitted with a clasp present on much later examples.
Additionally, I have seen this blade-type clasp on at least two of the first 100 examples ever made that only bear the ‘Royal Oak’ engraving on the case back and that are known as ‘unmarked’ Offshores. My own original Royal Oak Offshore No. 1XX and at least three other examples that fall within the first 500 Royal Oak Offshores ever produced have this clasp on them. Any other Royal Oak Offshore ref. 25721ST.OO.1000ST.01 that I have perused with a case number that falls within the next 500 or 1,000 pieces is fitted with the modern looking folding clasp as per the picture below.
Inaccuracies —from this article— aside, the fact that Emmanuel Gueit’s very own ‘unmarked’ Royal Oak Offshore will be offered for sale at the upcoming Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT taking place at the Hotel La Reserve, in Geneva, on November 10th and 11th, has just added yet another interesting layer to all the information I’ve gathered and published in the past and that has impacted current pricing conditions surrounding this reference amongst collectors that hunt the finest examples of ‘The Beast’.
In the last couple of months, I’ve seen the original Royal Oak Offshores go up in price like never before with an all-time high price in the $30K USD range for examples not even having boxes/papers or missing the blade-type clasp if they from the first 500 watches ever produced.
Now, regardless of the lack of blade-type clasp on Gueit’s watch, this is for sure one of the most coveted and the most important ‘Beast’ as its provenance says it all. Literally, the beast straight from the wrist of its very own creator. This is an Offshore that will for sure set a new record and an all-time high price for the original Royal Oak Offshores ref. 25721ST that are still out there.
My dear readers, I guess its time to hoard them all and get your hands on all those ‘Beasts’ that out there, while you still can.