Audemars Piguet and LeBron James have shared a special partnership over the years. Last week they released a new special collaboration to the world in Miami (home of the Miami Heat) for the man they call “King James”.

The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and Olympic gold medallist is widely regarded as one the best basketball players of all time. The Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph LeBron James is a limited edition of 600 that celebrates his successes. The 44mm chronograph stems from the Offshore series that has its fans and haters. The fans love the larger case size and rugged sporty feel. The haters feel that Audemars Piguet have somewhat dimished the status of its brand by bringing out too many limited editions for various sportsmen and women. Something that Hublot is particularly infamous for.

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Modelling the watch named after him

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A close up of the Audemars Piguet LeBron James

Nonetheless, let’s take a look at this new release. The case is 18K pink gold with a titanium bezel. The dial is also a mix of pink gold and metal as the Mega Tapisserie (different from the Grand Tapisserie) dial is grey while the hands and numbers on the dial are pink gold. The unique feature of this limited edition is the chronograph pusher that is made of ceramic and diamond-set with two rows of smaller diamonds. Even the crown is ceramic. The strap is a hand made grey crocodile strap (LeBron is particularly proud of the strap) with an 18K pink gold pin buckle. A deployant buckle would have been a welcome addition though. However, we won’t argue as LeBron did have a role in designing the watch:

We talked a lot about the possibilities and I thought gray would be the perfect color. At first you don’t really think pink gold and gray will work together, but when you match it up with this watch and this style, it’s a perfect combination.

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Diamond set chrono pusher

On the glare-proof caseback is LeBron’s signature printed in blue. The slightly skeletonised 18K monobloc rotor has been given a anthracite treatment with a raised “AP” logo on it, and behing it sits the Caliber 3126/3840, a 55-hour power reserve 365 part movement. It is a hack-seconds movement with a date and chronograph complication. The bevels of the bridge are diamond engraved and there is decorative Côtes de Genève on the bridges themselves.

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The movement with raised AP anthracite coloured rotor

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Signed caseback

His design choice was more focussed for an off-court appeal, and as with all basket ballers, has a touch of bling to it due to the diamonds. We actually don’t mind this as the diamonds are quite subtle. On top of this, we appreciate that LeBron didn’t go with the whole sporting theme on the watch. We’ve seen other examples where the watch has been overdone so that it reflects the sport. For example, the King Power Dwayne Wade that has a basketball engraved on the dial. There is also the Yohan Blake’s (a.k.a “The Beast”) Richard Mille Tourbillon with the Jamaican colours and bridges reminiscent of a ”beast’s claw”.

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Celebrity designs gone too far?

We admire LeBron for designing something that is wearable and not overly extravagant. Perhaps his visit to the Le Brassus manufacture put thing into perspective for him

They’re always trying to improve and innovate. When they make a watch, they want it to be something people love, just as when I play the game of basketball, I want someone watching to love how I play the game. I’m very pleased how my vision and that of Audemars Piguet came together in this watch.

The reference 26210OI.OO.A109CR.01 is priced at USD$51,500 and is only available at Audemars Piguet boutiques.

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A new profession after retiring from basketball perhaps?

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A live wrist shot