Trends are cyclical. I am stating the obvious, but bear with me because it’s an important framework for understanding the rise and fall of the best replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore watches. Fashion trends come, and they go, and then they swing back around again. This rudimentary formula has since evolved into a more complicated beast thanks to social media and influencer culture. But the Offshore was born in the early 1990s and came to prominence in the early 2000s, back when the playing field was more evenly paced and trends were given a little more breathing room, so to speak.
Let’s start with the basics. When a trend is “trending” your average consumer is likely to subscribe to said trend (some may call this herd mentality; I say it’s par for the course as humans are particularly adept at outfitting and adorning themselves for social survival/status). When a trend has run its course, the item in question becomes stale and is likely to cause a strong reaction of disapproval, a turning up of the nose – a public burn. Take skinny jeans for instance. It was a sunny climb to the top in the early-to-mid-aughts and a colossally dark fall to the bottom by the late 2010s. Don’t worry (or maybe do panic), skinny jeans will be back.
Items that are “on trend” are, more often than not, a product of the zeitgeist. They reflect a contemporary discourse. Now, that discourse may be a regurgitation of a previous decade’s discourse done in a modern way (like flared jeans or camp-collar shirts) but my point is that trends are the opposite of classics: camel-colored cashmere coats or silk bias-cut dresses or merino wool V-neck sweaters for example. Classics are mild-mannered, they are timid. Trends are splashy; in theory, they change and mold and mutilate the existing fashion vernacular. And when you have a REALLY good trend, sometimes it pierces through the trend bubble and becomes a classic, like Art Deco jewelry or double denim.
The Offshore was conceived in 1993, rose to popularity in the early 2000s and then exploded in relevancy thanks to countless LEs and celebrity collaborations, and then slowly and solemnly fell under the shadow of the Royal Oak (which rose up from its own grave of irrelevance in the 2010s).
In order to understand the rise and fall of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore we must first understand its role in the wider cultural narrative. All 1:1 UK fake watches are fundamentally expressions of culture; they act, as clothing does, as a reflection of pop culture, technology, and fashion. The Offshore landed as a bold turning point, initiating a radical transformation of the watch industry and establishing the trend for oversized watches.
The original Offshore, nicknamed the “Beast” (ref. 25721ST) was a hefty 42mm stainless steel chronograph with exposed rubber gasket and rubber on the crown and pushers. A souped-up version of its Royal Oak predecessor. It was controversial. Gérald Genta’s vocal disapproval was echoed by classicists – and remains so today.
But the size wasn’t so radical when set in relation to the wider cultural landscape. In the ’90s the entire fashion dialogue was a theme of oversized, and this theme cut across cultures and ages. The perfect replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore watches’ rubber accents and almost comically oversized case echoed the rise of extreme sports (the X Games, after all, were born just two years later). The 1990s gave rise to skate culture and huge baggy jeans – it was boom times for youth culture, and emblems were supersized – from grunge fans in huge flannel shirts to punk disciples augmenting their ears with giant plug earrings all the way through to backpackers and their larger-than-ever-before barbwire tattoos. The Offshore, while very much in its own sector, and own space of high-end watchmaking, was a part of the broader dialogue of people accepting the cultural push towards these more extreme measurements across all lines of personal expression.
Innovation is hard to stomach at first, it can feel like an affront to our carefully considered material identity. But change in fashion happens all the time. John Galliano’s FW 1999 Christian Dior couture show at the Orangery in Versailles shocked every couture customer in the audience with its explicit sexual nature and deconstruction of the traditional couture concept. As time elapsed it became a milestone show in fashion history and is continually referenced as a turning point for the fashion zeitgeist. The same can be said of Martin Margiela and his Tabis – an “invisible” shoe whose form separates the big toe from the rest of the foot. Shocking at first, Tabis are now commercially indestructible. Big ideas and radical design are what push the conversation forward.
The Offshore was born as a youthful counterpart to its more classic-looking predecessor – let’s not forget that the Royal Oak was radical for 1972. It faced a myriad of criticisms during its unveiling. Now look at her riding high! She too has come and gone and then swung back around again. Because trends are cyclical! Back to Offshore, which was purposefully designed as a reinterpretation of the Royal Oak, not a reissue. Audemars Piguet therefore had the ability to use the Offshore as a springboard without “stepping on history.” This in turn meant AP had an artistic license to use the luxury copy watches as a platform for LEs and as a canvas for material innovation.
Without the Offshore there would be no Concept. For those of us who find the Offshore aggressive in size and design, the Concept is no doubt the type of high quality replica watches that causes a truly ugly and visceral reaction. In the minds of many enthusiasts, it’s likely relegated to a dark corner of wristwatch purgatory or put on a (fictional) dusty shelf and labeled “things that are truly unfathomable let alone wearable.” I maintain that Offshores and Concepts pose a threat to the masculinity of many, but that’s an argument for another time. The Concept has, in all of its bulky splendor, pushed Audemars Piguet forward in terms of thinking about what watch design actually is. It’s a brave step forward. It doesn’t need a large fanbase because it’s a watch that exists for collectors. That’s the harsh reality of its price point. It’s important to have Concepts to keep the design teams thinking bigger and bolder, without the boundaries imposed by the commercially viable product.
Eventually, there was an acceptance of the Swiss movements replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore watches and its overtly radical design. It was youthful, it didn’t take itself too seriously. The mix of material (rubber, steel, diamonds) and color was a statement that represented a new type of watch culture. In the ’00s gem-setting on the Offshore evolved into a byproduct of the cultural dialogue taking place within 47th St – an NYC to Le Brassus ping-pong effect born from the impact of hip-hop on watch culture. Diamond-set fake watches for sale were nothing new, but taking a stainless steel rugged sports watch designed for jumping off cliffs and making it high-end with high finishes, and just over a decade later creating full gold versions covered in stones (exactly what was happening with aftermarket watches) by gem-setters in Le Brassus, well that was drastically different. AP was leaning on street culture and doing it through the factory.
Of course beyond material and design innovation, what the Offshore brought to the watch world was cultural cachet. Through affiliations with Hollywood, hip-hop, and sports, it achieved cult status in the ’00s. Once again it was at play with the broader cultural dialogue. It signaled the changing of online super clone watches culture through celebrity alignment and as a result, press coverage picked up momentum in watchmaking. This was a new dawn for early Internet coverage (forums). It paved the way for what we see in watch culture today.
I’m steadfast in my appreciation of all things Offshore. Today in both fashion and replica watches wholesale, we are stuck in a period of romanticizing the past. This watch always has and always will push the conversation forward. The Offshore belongs to a brand that is not afraid to make mistakes, a brand that, under its former CEO François-Henry Bennahmias, knew full well that pushing the envelope was necessary for survival. Offshore culture is, without doubt, a product of Bennahmias’ AP. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s fearless.
Overt measurements and sizes pose a risk in being able to achieve a timeless aesthetic because extreme size situates a product in time. Today’s Offshore has of course been redesigned to align more carefully with today’s consumer needs and their evolved expectations. But the original Beast and its many offspring from the early ’00s are now considered retro and we are yet to see if the Offshore will cut through the timeline in the same way the Royal Oak from 1972 has. We just have to wait for the trend pendulum to swing back in its direction.
Now the Offshore exists as a souvenir from the ’90s/’00s, a watch that many have relegated to the classification of “too big, too crass, too tasteless.” Born in a decade earmarked by designers and consumers pushing things to the absolute limits in all respects – it was the naughty 90s! – the best quality fake watches was truly an expression of that decade. And according to the nostalgia pendulum theory, which operates in 30-year cycles (the theory points to a resurgence in something when the consumer grows up to become the creator), we are due for a comeback any day now. “Trendy” in today’s lexicon suggests speed and thoughtless consumption. Paradoxically, trends were successfully established in eras when people had time to actually absorb the change in proportions/length/fabric, and so on. One could argue that if trends are now born from TikTok algorithms and develop at the speed of light, then we are living in a post-trend universe at which point who cares what you’re wearing?
But we must keep the conversation in watch design moving forward – less reissue and more risk please. Let’s take inspiration from Jonathan Anderson, whose play on cyber culture is ever-present in his runway collections or Demna Gvasalia, whose cynical commentary on society manifests through Balenciaga collaborations with brands like Erewhon and Crocs – Gvasalia reflects the worst parts of our culture back to us as a pause for thought. Imagine that kind of elasticity of thought in our industry!
Here’s hoping for more open-mindedness, to more oddball gems in the mix. Just because you wear something fun doesn’t mean you are not an individual of integrity. Sentimental nostalgia goes against fashion’s natural state of progress; it will always be good design and innovation that move the needle.