WATCH REVIEW

Borrowed Time: Oris Aquis Chronograph


Oris’s Aquis collection of professional-grade divers’ watches has grown to encompass a variety of limited editions devoted to marine conservation and preservation causes (i.e., 2017’s Hammerhead), a handful of small complications like big dates and small seconds, and notably, an innovative mechanical depth gauge. At this year’s Baselworld, the Holstein-based brand added a chronograph to the lineup. It was a timepiece that instantly caught my eye and one that I knew I would want to review. Here are my impressions of the Oris Aquis Chronograph.

Oris Aquis Chronograph -Front - reclining
The Oris Aquis Chronograph is the latest addition to the professional-grade divers’ watch series.

To begin, as per usual, with the case, it needs to be stated up front: this is a monster of a timepiece from a size standpoint, and in profile, it suitably brings to mind a submersible of some kind. At 45.5 mm in diameter, it’s got the heft you’d expect of a steel watch of this girth; the wrist presence is impressive and not at all subtle. And yet, it never strained against any of my shirt cuffs and never felt like it was dragging my forearm down; maybe it’s the rubber strap, maybe it’s how that curved convex caseback nestles oh-so-naturally into the subtle indentation of the wrist, but once you start wearing this watch, it begins to feel like a part of you.

Oris Aquis Chronograph -Front - Front
The stainless steel case measures 45.5 mm in diameter.

The unidirectional rotating divers’ bezel ratchets smoothly and audibly to set dive times (or any types of timing intervals, really) and is extremely easy to grip — though admittedly I did not attempt to do so whilst wearing diving gloves or any other type of thick gloves. The black unidirectional rotating bezel insert has a gleaming, polished finish that makes it appear as if it’s an extension of the subtly convex sapphire crystal (and also, in some lighting conditions, can look like a dark blue extension of the dial). Indices for the first 15 minutes of dive time, Arabic numerals at the 10’s, and indices at the 5’s are all etched in white into the insert, which is made of ceramic. Orientation in the dark depths is provided by the inverted triangle at 12 o’clock and its Super-LumiNova-coated dot. Only at the tail end of my review period did it occur to me that perhaps a more matte finish to the bezel would have been more preferable, and perhaps more utilitarian for a diver. At this point, we don’t know, but I appreciated the touch of luxury that the polished finish lent the piece.

Oris Aquis Chronograph - side
The ratcheted edge of the rotating bezel is easy to grasp and turn.

The attractive, maritime blue dial manages to look complex and busy while still being eminently legible in all conditions. Super-LumiNova coats the large, wedge-shaped hour hand, the long, tapered, lance-like minute hand, and the applied hour markers (with a single dot at 6 o’clock, and a double dot at 12 o’clock). The contrast with the dark blue dial is stark; and as we know, legibility is goal number one of a professional dive watch.

Oris Aquis Chronograph - dial indices
The hands and indices are big, ultra-legible, and coated with Super-LumiNova.

The subdials are slightly recessed from the main dial, in a slightly less vibrant shade of blue, and with white0numbered and marked scales surrounding a snailed center. Stacked at 12, 9, and 6 o’clock, they convey the readouts of chronograph’s elapsed minutes (up to 30), the running seconds (with an unusual two-sided hand), and elapsed hours (up to 12); a thin rectangular date window is ensconced inside the borders of the hours subdial.

Oris_Oris Aquis Chronograph - Subdial
A subtle snailed finish decorates the recessed subdials.

Operating the chronograph is a tactile joy. The pushers are rounded and respond instantly to soft but deliberate pressure from a fingertip. The central chronograph hand is also tipped with lume, so it’s easy to see in the dark as it races around the dial. The screw-down crown — which helps ensure this titanic timepiece’s impressive water-resistance to 500 meters also known as 50 bar; both are indicated on the dial) — pulls out to two positions, the first to quick-advance the date, the second to set the hours and minutes. Like the bezel, the crown, which is graced with an Oris logo on the top, is notched for easy gripping.

Oris Aquis Chronograph - Crown
The notched crown has a relief Oris logo.

Behind the solid steel caseback, which is screwed down and engraved with Oris’s classical crest and a meters-to-feet conversion table, beats the movement, Oris Caliber 774, which uses a Sellita SW500 as its base and features the typical Oris refinements, including the hallmark red winding rotor, though it is, of course, hidden from view in this particular case configuration. The automatic winding movement has 25 jewels, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a 48-hour power reserve.

Oris Aquis Chronograph - caseback
The caseback features an engraved meters-to-feet scale.

Suitably, the watch comes on a very sporty strap, made of black rubber and attached to the lugs by screws. The closure is a steel folding clasp and it includes a diver’s extension that allows the wearer to tighten or loosen the watch by nearly half an inch. This was the first time I had worn a watch with such an extension for an extended period and it was much appreciated; this would in most instances be a watch suited for thicker wrists than mine, so to make it fit securely I had to not only take the buckle tab to the last hole, I also had to close the divers’ extension to the very last notch. That said, I had no complaints whatsoever about the fit of the watch once I had it adjusted in this manner. As I alluded to above, this is a watch that doesn’t necessarily grow on you but certainly feels like it’s growing with you once you’ve had it strapped on for a few days.

Oris Aquis Chronograph - Clasp
The clasp is equipped with a diver’s extension.
Oris_Oris Aquis Chronograph - reclining 2
The Oris Aquis Chronograph is offered in five styles.

The Oris Aquis Chronograph (which is available in five styles, with this blue-dialed look being far and away my favorite) carries a retail price of $3,700. It’s a lot of watch for under four grand, but of course, we’ve come to expect such value propositions from Oris.

10 Responses to “Borrowed Time: Oris Aquis Chronograph”

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  1. I recently purchased the new Oris Aquis Chronograph (2018) release divers watch, the stainless steel bracelet version.

    My first impressions are profound, the outstanding quality of the finish & attention paid to every small detail of this superb Oris Divers Chrono is impressive to say the least.

    The Oris Aquis (2018) Chronograph retailed @ $5000.00, which was not outside of my new divers watch budget, it certainly offers good value & high quality for the price point, even when i compared it to other Swiss Made divers watches, that were on my short list – e.g Omega Seamaster 300M.

    The Oris SW500 / Sellita / ETA / Valjoux 7750 base movement that Oris modifies & finishes at the Holstein factory, is exceptionally reliable & a real workhorse movement.

    I at first i hesitated, due to it not being an in-house Oris movement & instead based on a Sellita/ETA base movement.

    I can say to anyone also hesitating for the same reasons, rest assured the Oris Sellita non in-house movement is rock solid & keeps excellent time accuracy.

    Another point worth considering, Oris has a 114 year old legacy in Swiss watch making & will not throw any inferior Swiss movement into their watches & chance the ruination of the Oris companies good name.

    The new 2018 release Oris Aquis Chronograph, is worthy of anyone seriously considering a new Swiss Made divers watch.

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  2. Qual o valor ,e como faço,pra fazer um pedido,forma de pagamento,data da entrega, contato,

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  3. i want an oris watch cos i like it very much but I don’t have its price

    Reply
  4. Randy Rogers

    Overall, very well executed, a little Aquatimer feeling to it, but has maintained the Oris DNA and a refreshing change in the Marine Blue rather than Noir. My only critique, is the Integrated Strap, which begs down the road for replacement issues, I realize it is also part of Oris’ design look, but 10 years, 20 years out, what?

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    • There are a few aftermarket companies doing bands for these watches. I think Oris will also supply them for as long as they are around. I wonder if it smells like vanilla like the band in the Staghorn

      Reply
  5. Bruce r garnett

    Hi. I live in Canada is there a store in Canada that I could buy one of these watches ,also l live in SAINT John new Brunswick could you let me know thanks Bruce.

    Reply
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