With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 11%, the 1999 movie “End of Days” is quite a forgettable one. The plot revolves around a religious conflict and saving a young woman chosen by evil forces to conceive the Antichrist with Satan. What is not quite forgettable on the other hand, if you are a watch nerd, is the timepiece that former NYPD detective Jericho Cane — portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger — is wearing in the movie: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore ‘End of Days’.
Six years prior to the movie being released, the luxury watchmaker from Le Brassus took the watchmaking industry by storm with the presentation of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore. It was large, it was loud and it was badass. This ushered a new trend and demand for large luxury timepieces. If you want to dig deeper into the history of the Offshore, I highly recommend reading this story from our good friends at Phillips. With the Offshore, the brand had now successfully created two new segments in the watch market. First in 1972 with the release of the Royal Oak, the first luxury sports timepiece in stainless steel, and then in 1993 with the birth of the Royal Oak Offshore.
In a recent interview with GQ, Paul Boutros, Americas’ Head of Watches for Phillips, talks about how important the Royal Oak Offshore ‘End of Days’ is in the history of the Offshore family and the milestone that this represented for Audemars Piguet: “The movie End of Days comes out in 1999 and a watch that Schwarzenegger designed with Audemars Piguet becomes the first Royal Oak Offshore limited edition. It’s also the first Royal Oak Offshore which had a celebrity tie-in — it ushered in a whole new direction for AP.”
In 2018, to celebrate the Royal Oak Offshore’s 25th anniversary, Audemars Piguet released a series of videos exploring some of the collection’s milestones. In one of them, AP CEO François-Henry Bennahmias vividly recalls how the watch came about: “I knew that Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to shoot ‘End of Days.’ I asked if he would be willing to feature a watch in the movie and he said ‘I’ll do it.’” Bennahmias then proceeded to ask Schwarzenegger what type of design he wanted, to which Arnold replied: “The watch has to be black and I want yellow numbers.” “Nobody had a say on it but him. He was always the one saying ‘I’m choosing,’” said Bennahmias.
To say this was an important step for Audemars Piguet is an understatement. The Royal Oak Offshore ‘End of Days’ kickstarted a successful blueprint of creating limited edition watches in partnership with celebrities. Thanks to the business genius of Bennahmias, this put Audemars Piguet on the map and led to collaboration with names such as Jay-Z and LeBron James. The Offshore became THE watch to have in the hip-hop and sports athlete circles.
The Royal Oak Offshore ‘End of Days’ was launched as a limited edition of 500 pieces and took the “Velcro” strapped Offshore as its base and coated the entire steel watch black using Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD). This might seem normal now but you have to imagine that in that era this was groundbreaking. The blacked-out case was backed up by a blacked-out dial featuring the brand’s signature tappiserie motif, white gold subdial surrounds and shocking high alert signal yellow hands and indexes. As a result, the watch was snapped up immediately and brought AP to the forefront of mainstream culture.
By now I hope that you understand the cool factor and importance of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore ‘End of Days’ limited edition. This is arguably one of the most historically significant watches and if you now find yourself itching to add one to your collection, we’ve curated a small selection of End of Days Offshores in our online shop.