Last month at the SIHH 2014, Audemars Piguet presented the new generation of Royal Oak Offshores in 42 mm fitted with a display case back, ceramic crown and pushers, new dials, beefier crown guards and new straps. Based on the new line-up, we can infer that several references are now officially discontinued including the Royal Oak Offshore Rubber Clad. With the arrival of the new Safari and the new Navy, two iconic Royal Oak Offshores will be now long gone as we knew them up until now. Therefore, we decided to dedicate this post to one of the most iconic Royal Oak Offshores of all time, the Safari.
The Royal Oak Offshore Safari ref. 26170ST.OO.D091CR.01 was first introduced in 2005 —along with the Navy, the Black Themes and the Silver Themes strap models— as a leather strap Offshore option, under the ref. 26020ST. At that time, the Safari was the only Offshore model fitted with an alligator hornback strap. The Navy, the Silver Themes and the Black Themes were originally fitted with a smooth leather strap and not with a hornback.
From 1993 through early 2007, the beating heart inside all Offshores was the calibre 2226/2840; however, later in 2007, Audemars Piguet switched the old calibre to the new in-house calibre 3126/3840 —based off the Audemars Piguet in-house calibre 3120 with a Dubois Depraz chrono module on it— as the beating heart of all modern Royal Oak Offshore Chronographs with the exception of the Rubber Clad. The Rubber Clad, up until its last production date, was still fitted with the older calibre 2226/2840. At the time the calibre was switched, the reference for the Royal Oak Offshore Safari changed to 26170ST. Additionally, during the production of the G-serials, all Royal Oak Offshores were fitted with an anti-reflective coated loupe on the date aperture in order to improve its readability.
For many, the Safari will always remain as one of the most iconic Offshores ever created, while for others, it will remain as a somewhat bland and boring Offshore fitted with a pale cream colored dial. To us, the Safari will not only remain as an icon, but also as a perfectly balanced Royal Oak Offshore with the nicest cream colored dial with silver chrono registers and black Arabic numerals. Perhaps the only down side to this watch is the lack of luminescent material on the hands and numerals.
To really appreciate the beauty and elegance of a Royal Oak Offshore Safari ref. 26170ST.OO.D091CR.01, one needs to see the watch in person. Regardless of the lighting conditions, the beauty of the cream colored dial cannot be captured with a camera as it can only be fully appreciated with the naked eye. On the wrist, it is just as comfortable as any other Offshore on bracelet or strap. If you love brown straps, nothing compares to the beauty and unmistakeable look of the brown alligator hornback on a Safari. Some people dislike where the clasp is positioned against the wrist when the watch is worn, but we feel there's nothing wrong with it. If you have a 7.25" wrist, we recommend getting an extra long strap for the ultimate perfect fit as the clasp will be secured to the strap on its last perforation.
The Safari exudes class and elegance like no other stainless steel modern Offshore but comes in second place when compared to the original Royal Oak Offshore 25721ST.OO.1000ST.01 with blue dial reviewed here and that will always remain as the most beautiful Royal Oak Offshore ever created. For those of you that have always wanted a Safari but have always hesitated on getting one, this is the time to get it before is long gone forever. Something else that is worth mentioning about the AP Royal Oak Offshore Safari, is how versatile this watch can be as you can fit a Rubber Clad strap on it or even the Royal Oak Offshore stainless steel bracelet for a change. As you will see below, these two completely different looks are just breathtaking. In our opinion the Safari on Rubber Clad strap and the Safari on stainless steel bracelet are just fascinating and at times even better than the original look of the Safari on its hornback strap.
Sticker Price $25,700 USD. For more info on Audemars Piguet click here.