When it comes to producing watches that focus on a good cause, few brands rival Oris. Their “Change for the Better” campaign has been going strong for ten years (we put a spotlight on the campaign’s history during our Virtual Windup Watch Fair) and collectors have been treated to some impressive and beautiful timepieces as a result. More importantly, they’ve raised awareness for environmental causes that are important to them, namely the preservation of the world’s oceans, and life that inhabits them. Their new watch fits squarely into that mold. Let’s take a look at the all new Oris Whale Shark Limited Edition.
As the name of the watch suggests, this new limited edition from Oris has a specific sea creature on its mind. The whale shark is known as the “gentle giant” of the ocean, because they’re known to be quite docile and, well, they’re enormous. Think of the profile of a yellow school bus, and you’ll get an idea of the size a whale shark can grow to. That’s about 40 feet in length, and 20 tons in weight. While the name indicates otherwise, the whale shark is a fish, not a mammal, and critically important to the ecosystem it inhabits. They’re top predators, consuming plankton and smaller fish, eliminating weaker creatures along the way. It’s thought that without the whale shark, which has seen its global population reduced by half over the last 75 years, entire ecosystems would collapse. Among other things, fishing (both legal and illegal) as well as collisions with boats have been among the chief causes for whale shark deaths.
Oris’s new watch puts a spotlight on the whale shark with a blue dial featuring an engraved pattern inspired by the whale shark’s skin. As with other watches that have been part of the Change for the Better campaign, the basis for the Whale Shark Limited Edition is an Aquis diver, and here specifically it’s the GMT flavor with a 43.5mm case size and integrated bracelet. This is the larger size Aquis case, but because of the unique way the bracelet is fitted to the lugs the 50mm lug to lug span is more manageable than you might think. The bezel is of the 24 hour variety and rotates in both directions, and utilizes a dual tone ceramic insert. The water resistance rating is a full 300 meters, and the watch runs on the Oris 798 movement, which is a modified Sellita SW330-1.
This is a public awareness campaign for Oris – they simply want people to know about the whale shark’s endangered status, and have partnered with explorer and photographer Gerardo del Villar, who has observed whale sharks in the wild for years, on the project. According to del Villar, for whale sharks to thrive governments must create marine protected areas and work to drastically reduce pollution. Del Villar is also set to release a series of short films about the whale shark with Oris, which are meant to educate and encourage people to get involved in the whale shark conservation effort.
The Whale Shark Limited Edition is available today from Oris, with 2,016 examples being produced. The retail price is $3,200. Oris