Oris expands its Aquis collection of divers’ watches this year with the launch the Oris Aquis Small Second Date, a timepiece that, like others in the series, was developed with the input of professional divers. Why is this watch’s “isolated” seconds function such an important development for those who’d wear it for diving? Read on.
The feature that gives the Oris Aquis Small Second its name — a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, supplanting the more common central seconds hand on previous models, such as the flagship Aquis Depth Gauge — is, according to Oris, an advantage for a diver because it separates the seconds function from the hours and minutes and thus puts the emphasis on the minutes hand. The minutes hand is the most important of the three timekeeping hands to a diver, as it is the hand that aligns with the unidirectional rotating bezel to keep track of dive times safely; thus, the more legible that hand is, the more secure the diver feels. At the same time, some sort of running seconds display is also very useful on a divers’ watch, as it quickly indicates to a diver that his watch is functioning. Oris arrived at the 9 o’clock placement of the snailed, small-seconds subdial after feedback from the diving community.
Like the other new Aquis models introduced in 2017, the watch has a more slender profile than its predecessors, with thinner lugs and a thinner bracelet; bolder, sharper hands and hour indices; and a more tapered profile for the screw-down crown and crown protectors, which hug the case side more snugly. The “Aquis” family name, heretofore absent from the dials, now appears above the other text at 6 o’clock. The watch’s stainless steel case, which measures 45.5 mm in diameter, also features another utilitarian upgrade: there is now a small gap between the case and the bezel, making the latter easier for a diver wearing gloves to grasp and adjust. The scratch-resistant, fade-resistant ceramic insert in the divers’ bezel, with the first 15 minutes of dive time marked with white indices, and a Super-LumiNova-filled dot at 12 o’clock, is a feature retained from previous watches in the Aquis collection.
The case is water-resistant to a professional-grade 500 meters, and features a domed sapphire crystal, with nonreflective coating on the inner surface, over the dial. Two dials are available, one in blue, on a black or blue rubber strap or stainless bracelet; the other in black, with orange Super-LumiNova highlights on the hands and hour markers (orange being one of the most visible colors in the underwater depths), on a steel bracelet or black rubber strap. The bracelets feature a safety anchor and quick-adjust sliding-sledge folding clasp specially developed by Oris. Both versions are powered by a mechanical self-winding movement, Oris Caliber 743, based on the Sellita SW 220-1, which includes a date function at 3 o’clock in addition to the small seconds display at 9 o’clock, as well as a hacking seconds function and a power reserve of 38 hours. The Oris Aquis Small Second retails for $2,350 on a strap and $2,600 on a bracelet.