First Look at the Oris Aquis GMT Carysfort Reef Limited Edition

Just this week, at a product presentation in Colorado Oris announced a brand new limited edition Aquis GMT. It represents a first for the ever-popular Swiss brand — it’s their first watch rendered in 18kt yellow gold. Only 50 pieces are being made, with three to be auctioned to directly support the Coral Restoration Foundation with a focus on the Carysfort Reef off the coast of Key Largo, Florida.

The Carysfort Reef is the third largest barrier reef in the world, the only barrier reef in the USA, and an incredibly popular recreational diving spot. Between climate change and diminished environmental regulations, the reef has seen significant degradation — a whopping 98% decline in the last 50 years. The Coral Reef Foundation is a non-profit organization that has developed a method of growing and transplanting coral on a massive scale, which should help to combat some of the damage that’s already been done. By the end of 2020, they plan to transplant at least 30,000 individual corals to the reef, and their objective is to restore as much coral as possible while bringing attention to the cause. Oris and the CRF joined forces to raise funds for its restoration, and the new Oris Aquis GMT Carysfort Reef Limited Edition is born of this partnership.

Oris Aquis GMT Carysfort Reef Limited Edition

  • Case Materials: 18 kt gold
  • Dial: Blue sunburst
  • Dimensions: 43.5mm wide
  • Crystal: Double-domed sapphire with AR coating inside
  • Water Resistance: 30 bar (300m)
  • Crown: Screw down
  • Movement: Oris 798, Sellita SW-330 base
  • Strap: Blue leather with rubber coating, 18kt signed buckle
  • Price: $19,000 USD
  • Availability: LE of 50 pieces released in Spring 2020; 3 to be sold at auction to benefit the CRF

The Carysfort Reef Limited Edition is based on Oris’s existing Aquis GMT model. It features the same set of rock-solid specs as the standard edition, except with one major difference — the case is rendered in brilliant 18kt yellow gold. The case is good for 300m of water resistance, and a solid gold rotating bezel is inset with a black and blue ceramic insert with a 24-hour scale. Around back, there’s a special caseback depicting the three types of coral that the CRF is planting on the Carysfort Reef along with the watch’s number within the 50-piece edition. Behind that caseback, there’s the Oris 798 movement that’s based on the Sellita SW-330, a workhorse with GMT functionality.


What really stands out is the deep blue gradient dial that pairs perfectly with the yellow tone of the case. Around the outer edge of the dial, you’ll find twelve highly polished 18kt gold applied indices with a series of simple hashmarks for each minute in between. Moving towards the center of the dial, there’s a slight step down with a textured section that contains the 24-hour scale. In addition to the gradient, there’s also a subtle radial brushed pattern originating at the center of the dial that shines with each change in the angle when the watch is held to the light.

On the wrist, the Aquis GMT wears smaller than its 43.5mm diameter suggests. Since the lugs curve downwards, the lug-to-lug distance feels significantly shorter than it might on another watch of this size. The lugs don’t overhang my 6.75” wrist, resulting in a good fit. It’s quite the feeling to have a solid gold diver on you wrist. It reads a true yellow in tone and perfectly complements the shades of blue present on the dial. I found the rubber coated leather to be an interesting choice of material for the strap, as it has a unique texture and feel on the wrist. It is flexible and comfy, and I imagine it won’t require a break-in period. Had the watch been on a bracelet, I don’t think it would have the same dive watch feel that the rubberized strap gives it. Plus, the choice makes monetary sense, considering the significant price bump that a solid gold bracelet would have added to the watch.

The new Carysfort Limited Edition will be released first in February, March, and April at a series of auction events, with the rest of the watches to follow in Spring 2020. This edition retails for 17,900CHF/$19,000 USD, and it’s strictly limited to 50 pieces worldwide. Oris

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Ed is a Long Island-based writer and photographer with an affinity for watches, fountain pens, EDC gear, and a great cup of coffee. He’s always looking for the best gear for the job—whether it be new watch, pen, flashlight, knife, or wallet. Ed enjoys writing because it’s an awesome (and fulfilling) way to interact with those who share the same interests.