It’s not hard to imagine the first thing most people notice when they see the ‘Shaq’ Limited Edition, it’s larger than life, just like Shaquille himself. At 48 mm wide and a gargantuan 160 mm  in circumference, this is a big watch best suited to a big wrist and It will come as no surprise to some readers that the watch’s namesake, (now retired) professional basketball player and sometime rapper Shaquille O’Neal is a very healthy 2.16 meters tall. First introduced in 2007 as a tribute to the NBA superstar and limited to 960 pieces, the watch was available in two variants, stainless steel (as with our very own example here) and gold with a diamond-set bezel. It’s interesting to note that Audemars Piguet seem to limit their 48 mm Royal Oak Offshore signature models to only the biggest celebrities like the gentle giant Shaq or Arnold Schwarzenegger (whose T3 we also have in-stock).

The case

The case itself is a real piece of craftsmanship and built like a tank to boot. As usual with the Royal Oak Offshore models, the Shaq features the large, octagonal porthole crown, a nod to Gerald Genta’s original 1972 design. Though much chunkier than the original design, the bezel still has the trademark mix of brushed and hand-polished facets, held together with 8 stainless steel bezel bolts. The stainless steel chronograph pushers are finished with equal care and attention and compliment the watch’s pronounced crown. Though the watch sits broadly on the wrist at 48 mm, at 14 mm it’s no thicker than other Offshore models in the brand’s back catalogue and could sit nicely under a sleeve cuff (though you’d still need an applicably-sized arm). Unlike most modern Offshore models, the Shaquille O’Neal uses the a mono-hinge to hold the strap in place. Last seen in on early 1990s models, we can only surmise that the mono-hinge has been used here to guarantee the security of the admittedly heavy watch on the wearer’s wrist. The stainless steel case back (which itself is probably heavier than most ‘ultra thin’ watches) features a depiction of the man himself making a ‘slam dunk’ alongside the ‘SHAQ’ logo and the words ‘Limited Edition XXX/960’.

 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Shaquille O'Neal Caseback and Strap[/caption]

Even the strap on this watch is larger than life, featuring wide, high, black hornback leather, with contrast red hand stitching that matches the dial and selected numerals. Though hornback leather straps aren’t necessarily unusual on Audemars Piguet models, this one is a real piece of artistry, using particularly chunky and pronounced leatherwork. Most importantly, the strap is held in place by a large, stainless steel pin buckle that’s been highly polished and features the prominent Audemars Piguet logo.

The dial

The dial on the Royal Oak Offshore Shaquille O’Neal features Audemars Piguet’s trademark Mega Tapisserie dial in tri-tone black, white and red, as well as large applied, silver toned Arabic numerals and enlarged chronograph subdials. Though they’re enlarged, the subdials are in proportion with the rest of the 48 mm case and dial and serve to display hours, minutes and seconds. The bigger dials and numbers make the watch really user-friendly and super legible, whilst the addition of a date-display makes the watch extremely versatile. The eagle-eyed among you will of course notice that the red 2 o’clock and 3 o’clock numerals have been reversed on the dial, this is a nod to Shaquille’s favoured basketball position and number - 32. Though the numerals are not luminescent, the dial does sport luminescent silver hands, which are big enough to help you tell the time in fading light.

The movement

Under the dial, we have Audemars Piguet’s in-house 3126 movement, featuring 365 parts, 59 jewels and a 55 hour power reserve in addition to the Dubois Depraz chronograph module. The watch has been deliberately designed to withstand the rigorous ups and downs of the basketball court, with a catalogue of horological innovations. Looking at the chronograph feature in use, you can’t help but appreciate the quality of the clutch and and the precision of the flyback.

 Custom, diamond-set Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Shaq Limited Edition from Time 4 Diamonds[/caption]

As we said earlier, at 48 mm, this is a big watch that needs a big wrist to pull off in the same way Shaquille O’Neal does himself. But that said, it’s not much bigger than your standard 44 mm Royal Oak Offshore or 44 mm Rolex Yachtmaster-II and can easily sit under the sleeve as a dress watch.

Up your game with a diamond-set model

If the plain, factory Shaquille O’Neal model isn’t enough for you, then we have something extra special in-stock as well… Custom diamond-set with a massive 7 to 8 carats of round-brilliant cut stones in colours G-H, this iced up beast of a watch is straight out of the Time 4 Diamonds Custom Shop. As with the factory model, our custom model features all the artisanal handiwork and horological attributes of the original, but with more swank and style. With an absolutely stunning diamond-set dial, diamond-set bezel, diamond-set case and lugs as well as diamond-set pin buckle. All the stops have been pulled out to ensure that it’s the kind of watch that guarantees you’ll be noticed as soon as you walk into the room!

Where can you get one?

If you’re interested in either the custom-set or original Shaquille O’Neal Royal Oak Offshore models, then call Time 4 Diamonds today. With only 960 models in circulation (and we’ve got two of them), this watch is becoming increasingly hard to find and usually comes at a premium to boot. So don’t miss the opportunity to buy one of these stunning collectors pieces, contact the Time 4 Diamonds sales team today, call 020 3893 2331 or email for more information.