The Audermars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Ref 15710ST is a popular watch. Not popular enough to drive up prices on the secondary market mind you. But still, a solid choice for those looking for a dive watch from a major brand. It’s not without its detractors though. Some criticise the design. Others the attention to the finer details. Or the lack thereof. And others still take issue with the price. You’re never going to please everybody of course. But still, it got me thinking. Is the AP Offshore Diver a good dive watch? There’s no one answer to this question. Everyone will have their own opinion. Here’s mine.
A (Very) Brief History Of The Royal Oak Offshore Diver
The Royal Oak has been providing the bread and butter for AP since its debut in 1972. A Gérald Genta creation, its design is iconic to say the least. Even today its modern incarnation – the Ref 15202ST – remains sought after by collectors. It makes sense then that AP has sought to leverage this initial model as much as possible.
This started in 1993 with the Royal Oak Offshore. Known to collectors as ‘the Beast’. Now there are 104 variations of the Royal Oak. And a further 54 variations of the Royal Oak Offshore. Including 8 versions of the Royal Oak Offshore Diver. A series which joined the collection in 2010.
The arrival of the Royal Oak Offshore Diver Ref 15703ST created some serious waves. Red hot demand meant collectors had to wait for months to get their hands on one. Not unheard of at the time but unusual to say the least. You have to remember that back in 2010 waiting lists weren’t a fact of life. At least not in the same way they are now. Particularly for luxury steel sports watches. Like the Rolex Daytona. And the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref 5711. So, what made the ROO Diver such a hype watch?
A Major Evolution
Some saw it as the first major evolution of the Royal Oak design in 30 years. More so even than the Royal Oak Offshore. That’s because Emmanuel Gueit designed the ROO as a chronograph. Not a time-only three-hander. Setting the ROO diver up to become a contemporary version of everyone’s favourite watch.
And indeed, AP did include some subtle references to the first Royal Oak. A favourite is the double hash marker at 12-o’clock. The first of its kind on an AP since the original 5402ST. There’s also the octagonal-shaped bezel. With exposed screws (of course). And the integrated bracelet. Both features that Gueit adopted for the ROO. The “Méga Tapisserie” pattern on the dial is also a trait of the latter collection.
These are not the only things that make the Offshore Diver special. It is also the first dive watch from AP to meet the standards of ISO 6425. Not that doing so is terribly difficult or onerous. But it does reflect AP’s commitment to making an authentic dive watch. With a 42mm steel case rated waterproof to 300m, the ROO Diver is the real deal. Even if its intended use is primarily as a luxury product. And not a tool watch.
Over the ensuing years AP has continued to add to the collection. A cool version with a forged carbon case and ceramic bezel came in 2012. 2013 and 2014 saw full ceramic versions. Black and white respectively. All are no longer available new. Then more colourful options joined the line-up in 2017 and 2018.
This article though will focus on the Ref 15710ST. The closest descendant of the original model.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Ref 15710ST
Not a great deal has changed between the original Ref 15703ST and the new Ref 15710ST. In fact, at first glance they look identical. And broadly speaking, they are. The stainless steel case still shows brushed finishes to the bezel and flanks. While the beveled edges of the lugs and bezel get a high polish.
The case still measures 42mm in diameter too. Although it’s a whisper thicker now at 14.1mm. (Versus 13.9mm). That’s because the new version has a sapphire caseback. Whereas the first iteration did not. Purists might find this a detractor. After all, most serious dive watches have solid casebacks. Such as the Tudor Pelagos. Or the Seiko Prospex SLA017. But there is a very good reason to have a display back on the Ref 15710ST. Which we’ll get to in a moment.
Water resistance remains the same at 300m. That’s an impressive depth rating. Putting the Ref 15710ST in the same class serious tool watches. Like the Submariner. And the Seamaster 300. Whether you feel comfortable wearing it for underwater adventures is a different matter.
The black dial features a “Méga Tapisserie” pattern. It always reminds me of a block of chocolate. Delicious! You’ll notice that the luminous Royal Oak hands look different than the standard design. The hour hand in particular resembles a paddle. That’s so the wearer can differentiate between the different hands underwater.
Likewise, the running seconds hand has a round lume plot. This offers a ready indication – even in the dark – that the watch is running. The white gold applied hour-markers are also luminous. These design changes are all to meet the standards of ISO 6425. And they all carry through from the Ref 15703ST.
Another feature you will notice is the second crown at 10 o’clock. That’s not a helium escape valve like on the Planet Ocean. Instead, it controls the rotating inner bezel with diving scale. It’s not as a practical as a ratcheted, external rotating bezel. Less so with diving gloves on. Or even wet hands for that matter. And you can’t operate it underwater. But it does make the ‘dive’ watch aesthetic less overt. All marking on the bezel are luminous too. Completing the dial is a date window at 3 o’clock.
Turning the Ref 15710ST over, you realise why it has a sapphire caseback. On display is the selfwinding Manufacture Calibre 3120. The same movement found in the Royal Oak Ref 15400ST. Hand finished and featuring a 22-carat gold rotor, it is a thing of beauty. It beats at a lower frequency of 3Hz and offers a power reserve of 60 hours. You need to see the finishing up close on this movement to appreciate how nice it is. Not what you would expect on a professional dive watch. But this is Audemars Piguet after all.
The Ref 15710ST comes on a black rubber strap with stainless steel pin buckle. Fun fact: the ROO Diver was the first Offshore model to offer a pin buckle. Due to its popularity they are now found on many versions of the Offshore.
Price And Availability
The retail price of the Audermars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Ref 15710ST is USD 19,000. They can find them below retail on the preowned market. But don’t expect much of a discount. Availability is ok. Not great but a motivated buyer will be able to find one. Either new or preowned.
Is The Ref 15710ST A Good Dive Watch?
I think the answer to this question is yes. It meets the standards of ISO 6245. It’s waterproof to 300m. And the dial design is clean and legible. Of course, there is also room for improvement. The lume on the dial cannot compare to that of Rolex or Omega. The inner rotating bezel offers limited functionality. And the way the strap fits to the case limits your aftermarket options.
Still, this is Audemars Piguet we are talking about here. A long-time member of the holy trinity. And maker of beautiful movements. There’s no doubt the Ref 15710ST sits more on the luxe end of the scale. But that’s not a bad thing. After all, it’s more likely you’ll wear it on land than anywhere else. But it’s nice to know you can take it swimming too.
Technical Specifications: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Ref 15710ST.OO.A002CA.01
- Case: 42mm x 14.1mm thick – steel – glare-proofed sapphire crystal and caseback – black rubber clad screw-locked crowns – waterproof to 300 metres.
- Dial: Black with “Mega Tapisserie” pattern – centre hour, minute and running second Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating – white gold applied hour markers (luminous) – internal rotating bezel with diving scale – date.
- Movement: Manufacture Calibre 3120 – bidirectional self-winding – 22-carat gold rotor – variable inertia blocks – 3.00Hz – 60-hour power reserve.
- Bracelet: Integrated black rubber strap with stainless steel pin buckle.
- Price: USD 19,000.