Since 2009, Sébastien Buemi has proved his worth on motor-racing tracks around the world. The young and immensely talented Swiss driver has been part of the Audemars Piguet family for almost three years now as brand ambassador, joining motorsports legend Michael Schumacher.
After having associated its name in the past with great drivers such as Rubens Barrichello, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jarno Trulli, Audemars Piguet is presenting a 250-piece special series of the Royal Oak Offshore dedicated to the young Swiss champion.
SB: Just before my first season with the Scuderia Toro Rosso, when I was fortunate enough to join the Audemars Piguet team as an ambassador, the idea of one day having a watch bearing my name seemed extremely far-fetched. In my mind, only great drivers such as Jarno Trulli, Juan Pablo Montoya or Rubens Barrichello had enjoyed this exceptional privilege. Later, in discussions with the Audemars Piguet engineers and its Artistic Director Octavio Garcia, the idea of making a Royal Oak Offshore with my name gradually began to take shape. The day when I was able to visit the Manufacture workshops and admire the watchmakers working on the first watches in this special edition was really exciting for me. I first discovered the separate elements – the dial, movement and strap – and then the various stages in assembling this chronograph. Above all, the chance to wear one of my watches for the first time gave me a great sense of pride.
What role did you play in developing this new Royal Oak Offshore model?
SB: From 2010 onwards, I have been regularly involved in exchanging ideas and sharing my feelings with the Audemars Piguet watchmakers and engineers, whether in terms of the shapes, the colours of the materials used in creating this watch. It took time, but I am really proud of the result. The yellow is the main colour on my driver’s helmet, which is why it enjoys pride of place on the dial. Moreover, I’m only 23 years old, so I wanted a watch that would reflect me and my age: the right balance between the ultra-technical nature of motor sports that must be revealed in the watch, and the simplicity which I believe sums up my own personality. Hence the presence of materials used in motor sports such as ceramics and titanium is of great significance. Last but not least, I like its technical yet sleekly sophisticated look, I feel it suits me!
What kind of ties can be woven between a young Swiss racing driver such as you and a more than century-old watch manufacturer that is indeed the oldest that is still in the hands of the founding families?
SB: When I was 8 years old, I won the Swiss Karting Championship, and my father asked me what gift I would like. Believe it or not, I told him I would like a watch! You know, there are many similarities between the world of motor sports and that of Fine Watchmaking. In this particular context, we are looking at the cream of the crop in each field. Just as in a top-level racing team, I find in Audemars Piguet the team spirit, the same concern for details, the same quest for perfection and the same pursuit of performance. I might also add that Audemars Piguet is an exclusive and family-based luxury brand, and that’s extremely important to me. I love the exceptional family spirit pervading the Audemars Piguet teams. Finally, above and beyond its well-established intrinsic technical qualities, the Royal Oak Offshore clearly has a unique style, often copied but never equalled…
About Royal Oak Offshore Sébastien Buemi wrist watch
Representing the quintessence of a successful alliance between Fine Watchmaking and the technical sophistication of exceptional motor sports, the Royal Oak Offshore Sébastien Buemi offers a blend of inventive aesthetic appeal and cutting-edge mechanics. Its 42 mm case is made of grade 5 stainless titanium, a material that is ultra-light, non-allergenic, anti-corrosive and very pleasant to wear thanks to its low thermal conductivity. It’s extremely virile grey colour is softened by the microbille finishing and elegant polished bevels admirably combining the sporting elegance and controlled power exuded by the case middle. The emblematic feature of this superlative chronograph, the famous octagonal bezel equipped with eight hexagonal steel screws, has been subtly designed in ceramics. This virtually scratch-proof high-tech material, borrowed from the automobile world and seven times harder than steel, has been chosen for its excellent durability and its radiance.
The “Méga Tapisserie” motif characteristic of the Royal Oak Offshore is interpreted in black with luminescent hour-markers, three-colour (black, grey and white) sub-dials and red chronograph function hands to ensure optimal legibility of the elapsed times. The yellow outer minute circle (transferred either in black against a yellow background or in yellow against a black background) harmoniously adorns the dial and highlights the inner bezel ring featuring a tachometric scale. The choice of this colour is no coincidence, since it echoes Sébastien Buemi’s favourite colour that has been an integral part of his equipment for years, particularly on his racing helmet.
The transparent sapphire crystal case back, bearing a transfer of the driver’s personal logo, provides an opportunity to admire the beauty of the Manufacture Audemars Piguet Calibre 3126/3840 powering this eminently technical chronograph.
Controlled speed and an exceptional calibre
Driven by Manufacture Audemars Piguet Calibre 3126/3840, developed on the basis of the legendary Calibre 3120, this self-winding chronograph is a remarkable “engine” known for its great precision and exceptional reliability. These two qualities are ensured by a variable-inertia balance fitted with eight inertia blocks to guarantee accurate adjustment and excellent stability; an anthracite oscillating weight mounted on ceramic ball bearings; a cross-through balance bridge; as well as a stop-seconds time-setting mechanism. For optimal user-friendliness, the in-house made Calibre 3126/3840 is also fitted with an ingenious fast-date adjustment system serving to avoid any risk of the date disc blocking if a correction is made at midnight.
Entirely hand-assembled in the Manufacture workshops in Le Brassus, this calibre remains a benchmark in terms of its decoration. The main-plate is circular-grained on both sides. The bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève and the sinks are diamond-polished, while the 22-carat gold oscillating weight is adorned with the refined touch of the Audemars and Piguet family crests. This bidirectional winding oscillating weight has also been given a galvanic treatment endowing it with an undeniably modern anthracite colour.
An exclusive chronograph in all respects, the Royal Oak Offshore Sébastien Buemi is issued in a 250-piece limited series.
250-piece limited edition
Manufacture Audemars Piguet self-winding Calibre 3126/3840
Diameter: 29.92 mm (13 ¼ lignes)
Power reserve: approximately 60 hours
Frequency of the balance: approximately 21,600 vibrations per hour.
Finishing: hand-crafted circular-grained main-plate and bridges adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, diamond-polished jewel sinks, wheels with diamond-polished sinks and bevelled spokes, bevelled screw rims and slots, 22-carat gold bidirectional winding oscillating weight featuring the Audemars and Piguet family crests
Titanium with microbille finishes and polished bevels
Diameter: 42 mm
Octagonal ceramic satin-brushed and polished bezel
Case back with transferred Buemi logo
Water resistance: 100 m
Black dial with “Méga Tapisserie” motif
Red chronograph function hands
Titanium pin buckle