About a week ago I was invited to the Audemars Piguet factory at Le Brassus. The guided tour at the manufacturing and museum buildings was very interesting and educating indeed, but this time I’ve decided to talk to you about something more specific, and that being the just released LeBron James limited edition of the Royal Oak Offshore collection at Audemars Piguet.
Recently Audemars Piguet has really been involved in the sports industry, and while some believe it’s not the best way to promote the brand I remember the initial purpose of the Royal Oak collection, being a steel luxury SPORTS watch. So with most of the sports-related ambassadors and promotions being linked to the Royal Oaks (RO) it makes absolutely perfect sense to associate the watches with athletes. Bringing us to the new LeBron edition.
The watch might not reflect a fountain of creativity, but what else did we expect? Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore (ROO) is an established case type, so obviously even with such crazy pieces like the carbon concept or tourbillon chronograph AP doesn’t break its already mastered rule of success – the undoubtedly awesome ROO look. However one main difference about the LeBron James edition I’ve noticed immediately and really loved is the lugs. They are completely different from the usual RO ones we’re all used to. And as an owner of a vintage 14800 reference (with kind of same lugs) it definitely moved up in my score board!
The color scheme and material usage of the piece is also quite unique. While it has that luxury calm feeling with the rose gold casing and numbers the titanium bezel and the grayish dial and strap color add a very nice sporty and cold look. Another nice addition for the fans of ‘discreet bling’ is the push chronograph button at 2 o’clock. As all the Royal Oak Offshore models are in its core chronographs AP used the fact to its advantage and did something quite original with the pusher by adding small diamonds to it. Another thing I’d like to mention is that the collaboration with ‘King James’ does not appear out of nowhere, and the basketball champion has been an ambassador for AP since 2011. From my discussion with the managers at the factory he has been closely working on the design of the watch himself, and added a final touch to the case back by signing it.
The edition of Lebron James chronograph is limited to 600 pieces worldwide, and it is already available for sale (at $51’500). As for the functions I’ve already mentioned a chronograph, and apart from that there’s a date indicator at 3 o’clock. As a conclusion to the review – it’s a very nice blend between a sportier chronograph and a classier timeless design, that would better suit you after the game rather than during it. And while personally I am really not a fan of the value adding diamonds on the pusher I still would pick it over many other ROOs just simply because of the lugs :)