From a design standpoint I consider this watch to be the pre-cursor of the Audemars Piguet Openworked Extra-thin Royal Oak Limited Edition Watch Royal Oak Offshore Survivor watch. Look at the two watches adn you will agree that this Rubens Barrichello II limited edition watch has design cues that made their way into the Surviror watch a few years late. Not exactly the same looks, but part of the same breed. These include the hands, dial design, light vertical texturing (see the strap links here) as well as the crown and pusher design. The pictured watch was part way “there” and then Audemars Piguet just went the distance with the Survivor. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Rubens Barrichello II watch was made in honor of the namesake Brazilian Formula 1 race car driver. For some reason Brazilian race car drivers seems to be the subject of many high end sport watches from not only Audemars Piguet, but also other brands such as Hublot and Richard Mille – can’t say that I know why.
This view comes from the exceptionally successful Royal Oak Offshore line. LeBron James was an ambassador for Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Rose Gold Marcus Limited Edition since 2011. Considered among the greatest basketball players of all time, King James, as he is referred, collaborated with AP to produce this modern masterpiece. The Royal Oak Offshore LeBron James is limited in production to only 600 bits globally.Royal Oak Offshore watches are large and the LeBron James Limited does not disappoint in that area. The case diameter stands in 44mm, while this watch rides high on the wrist with an instance height of 17mm. The event of the LeBron James is made of 18kt pink gold using a fixed octagonal titanium bezel. The pushers for the chronograph and crown are made from black porcelain, with the pusher at 2 o’clock encrusted with diamonds. Surrounding the major crown and pushers is grey rubber. The instance back also features a sapphire crystal using the LBJ signature in blue.The dial is also gray with a ‘Mega Tapisserie’ guilloche layout which is hand engraved on each and each dial. The dial also carries hand applied pink gold hour mark in both indicators and oversized Arabic numerals. Additionally in pink gold would be the hands which are coated with lume for night readability. At the 3 o’clock position is a rounded date aperture. The subdials display the true moments, and chrono minutes and hours in three different registers. The chronograph seconds are signaled using a central hand.
The watch was offered back in 2006 in three limited versions. 500 in 18k pink gold, 150 in 950 platinum, and 1000 in the pictured titanium. The bezel and pushers are done in black ceramic, another compound that made its way into the AP survivor watch. You can’t tell here, but the caseback of the watch has an engraved F1 race car steering wheel. With its aggressive looks, the watch appears larger than it is. The case is 42mm wide. The dial of the watch is easy to read in clear Royal Oak Offshore tradition. Notice the different colored subdial hand colors for a cute touch (bright Brazilian flag colors at that). Also note how the dial is partially skeletonized with a view into the movement through the grated section in the middle that would normally display AP’s Mega Tapestry dial pattern. This is interesting as it is one of the earlier contemporary skeletonized watches – which in the last few years has become extremely popular among luxury sport (and otherwise) watches.
What is cool is that while the watch strap is leather, the inner strap is lined with alcantara leather – the famous ‘non-slip’ Italian leather made in just one factory that is popular on race car seats. These straps have always been comfortable and I would venture to say that this type of strap on a Royal Oak Offshore watch might even be an improvement. Notice that the strap on the available watch is perforated as well. Inside the watch is an in-house made Audemars Piguet calibre 2326/2840 automatic mechanical chronograph movement with a 38 hour power reserve. In my opinion this is of the most interesting and attractive limited edition Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore watches out there. Often times AP will simply change a few colors or something like that. Here they really seemed to go the distance and give us something new and interesting. These watches are pretty rare right now. Here one is available on James List. Price is not indicated, but I imagine it would be at least $20,000 or so, maybe a bit more or less.
See this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Limited Edition Italy Royal Oak Offshore Rubens Barrichello II Watch Available On James List here.