Oris is one of those brands whose watches need to be seen and held to really be appreciated. Sure, they look great in pictures, but their weight, finishing and build quality are all top notch. They also put an emphasis on doing things differently, with patented bezel designs, regulator modules, expanding clasps, etc. Frankly, while Oris watches are not inexpensive by any means, many ranging in the 2 – 4k range, they exceed the feature sets of many watches that cost much more. We stopped by their booth at Basel this year to take a look at what was new and really liked what we saw. Here are few samples of what they will be coming out with in 2013.
The Oris Aquis Depth Gauge was unveiled a few months ago and got a lot of attention because of its integrated analog depth gauge. No fancy sensors are at play in the Aquis Depth Gauge, just good old physics, making it a reliable tool that will not die when you need it most. The watch crystal features a milled chamber running along its side and a hole at 12 that lets air/water into the chamber. When you dive, the water pressure compresses the air in the chamber, and the water line will indicate your depth against the index along the inside of the bezel. It’s simple and effective.
The watch itself is also quite attractive and fairly massive at 46mm in diameter. The dial is design is refreshingly simple, with applied lume markers, large but elegant hands and an emphasis on the yellow depth gauge index. Naturally, a Swiss automatic movement called the Oris 733, which is most likely a Selitta base, powers the watch. This is definitely a watch that certain people, likely genuine divers, will see and say, yeah that’s a watch for my collection. As someone who stays above sea level, while I appreciate the design and concept, having a watch whose primary feature I would never utilize seems a bit of a waste. Nevertheless, it’s a great offering from the brand that distinguishes them from other mid-range tool divers. Retail on the Aquis Depth Gauge is 3,000 CHF or around $3,200.
The Oris Royal Flying Doctors Limited Edition is an eye-catching aviator that was designed in collaboration with the RFDS of Australia. The Royal Flying Doctors Service is a team of doctors who, since 1928, have been treating patients in remote areas of Australia. Now, they have a fleet of 61 aircraft, 21 aeromedical bases and five remote health care facilities. The watch pays tribute to them and their service, by combining elements of an aviator with a pulsations index, in orange, for aiding doctors.
The watch is based on the Oris Big Crown series and has a dual crown design. The crown at 2, which features an outline of Australia on its end, is used to control the inner bezel, which features a second time zone. The design of the watch is very elegant, mixing a large 44mm case and bold aviator style with elements of something more refined, such as the coin-edge bezel and grey PVD finish. The subtle inclusion of the orange pulsation index gives the watch a unique character a slightly retro feel. One other very cool design feature is the breaking up of the day and date windows, which is not very common, and quite interesting. This LE of 2,000 pieces will retail for 1,750 CHF or about $1,850.
Back to the sea, the Oris Aquis Regulateur “Der Meistertaucher” was given an awesome update. This is a watch that has been in their line for sometime and is extremely unique amongst divers. Why? Well, because it’s a regulateur. Regulateurs are uncommon as is, and almost non-existent in sport watches (Alpina being the only other brand with an emphasis on them). Yet, they make perfect sense for use in a dive watch, as the emphasis of the dial is placed on minutes. As you can see in the design, the minute hand is huge, and at a glance, the only thing you see.
The new Oris Aquis Regulateur “Der Meistertaucher” has the same basic design, but is scaled down from 47mm to a much more wearable 43mm. Combined with the use of titanium for the case and bracelet, and you have a cool and functional tool diver that can be worn daily. The watch also features a titanium “Pro Diver” clasp, which is a patented design that expands and contracts on its own. This gorgeous watch comes in at 2,900 CHF or just over $3k, making it pricy, but given its design, materials and unique design, seemingly worth it.
The last watch we’ll talk about here is the Oris Coltrane LE. Oris has a few limited edition series that they always refresh and one is based on famous Jazz musicians. Now, in my mind, that sounds like a recipe for disaster, but Oris has pulled off something very exciting and subtle with the new Coltrane. As a distinct departure from the other watches we’ve shown you, the Coltrane is small, under 40mm (we don’t have exact numbers at this time) with a case based on an Oris watch case from the 1950’s. It’s a small dress watch that felt like a vintage piece, with a large domed sapphire crystal that perfectly mimics the shape of old acrylic box crystals.
The dial, which has no saxophones or musical notes, is black with applied silver markers and a blue “rail road” style index along its border. For those unaware, one of John Coltrane’s most famous albums was named “Blue Train” making that blue index the only tie in to the musician on the dial. The case back features an etched silhouette of the musician, but all-in-all the watch does not hit you over the head with “jazz inspired”. On the wrist, the simplicity of this watch makes it a winner. It felt like they set out to make something from a different era, but with modern day components. We could tell there was a buzz about it at Basel this year, so expect to hear about this one again. The Oris Coltrane is a LE and will cost in the neighborhood of $2,000.
by Zach Weiss