[VIDEO] Hands-On With the Extreme Oris Aquis Pro 4000M

Oris has a seriously capable modern diver on their hands with the Aquis. What’s more, they’ve created an original design that’s easily associated with the brand in the process. Oris have dabbled into more niche diver territory with things like the Aquis Depth Gauge, but never into extreme realms. Until now, that is. This year, Oris has upgraded the Aquis Pro from a 1000M diver, to a 4000M diver. The change doesn’t make much practical difference for most of us, but adds a heap of bragging rights to the Aquis name as it joins some elite company in the world of ultra-deep divers. The new Aquis Pro is a statement from Oris, and places the watch within a unique niche of the dive acth genre in the process. 

Ultra deep dive watches are a strange breed. Not only are they tricky to design and build, they’re also quite hard to pressure test properly without highly specialized equipment. We’ve seen brands go as far as building their own apparatus to validate depth ratings, particularly as they go beyond 3,000 meters, or 10,000 feet. In the case of the deepest divers, like the Omega Planet Ocean Ultra Deep and the Rolex Deepsea Challenge, which both go well beyond 10,000 meters, or 30,000 feet, pressure testing is rigorous and complex, and can even involve real world validation strapped to the exterior of vessels traveling to the depths of the sea.


[VIDEO] Hands-On With the Extreme Oris Aquis Pro 4000M

Oris caliber 400
Blue wave degrade
Super Luminova
Blue Rubber
Water Resistance
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These challenges, paired with their exceedingly limited real world use cases, make these overachieving divers a relative rarity within the genre. But there is indeed a market for them, with some enthusiasts particularly drawn to the over-engineered solutions designed to grant them such extraordinary credentials. They may not be great everyday companions as far as tool watches go, but they are quite fascinating to a certain group of collectors and enthusiasts. Once you’re beyond that 1,000 meter mark, you’re held in a different regard. 

Omega and Rolex have extensive histories of creating extreme dive watches capable of surviving remarkable depths, but they aren’t alone. Not only have other household luxury brands made some impressively capable divers (the IWC GST Aquatimer from the early ‘00s enjoyed a 2,000M depth rating, for instance), but other brands like Sinn, Doxa, Bremont, Seiko, and Squale all have watches the can go to 1,000 meters. Oris has been a part of that club, but this year the Aqua Pro takes things a step further with a reference capable of 4,000 meters, or 13,123 feet, making them unique to that list (apart from something like the Sinn UX EZM 2B, which uses an oil-filled case allowing it to achieve ambient pressures at pretty much any depth). 

The new Aquis Pro is an impressive sight from pretty much every angle. It towers over the wrist at 24mm tall and stretches 45.5mm across, but it feels silly to factor in such measurements when it comes to a watch like this, a bit like complaining about the lack of trunk space in your Lambo… it’s just not about that kind of thing. It’s an imposing watch to be sure, but it’s surprisingly wearable. I don’t mean that as “I threw it on for some pics and video and it wasn’t so bad”, I mean it’s actually wearable. But this is coming from a guy who spent half a day biking around Brooklyn with a PloProf strapped to his wrist, so take that as you will. Oris did great work on the design of the bottom profile of this watch, and I can tell you it is more comfortable than the much thinner, and much shorter, Omega PloProf.

If you’re the type of person that’s drawn to these types of watches, all those numbers likely won’t mean all that much in your judgment of the watch. And no matter how you slice it, none of these are great daily companions, but can offer a fun and interesting wear experience from time to time, which is really what these watches are all about. They tell a story, and are a marvel of engineering that create stronger foundations for not only the genre, but also for the brands looking to further establish and legitimize their dive watch offerings for generations to come. As Babe Ruth (portrayed by the late Art LaFleur) puts it in the film The Sandlot: “heroes get remembered, but legends never die”. 

The Aquis has more than a decade under its belt at this point, and this Aquis Pro is a move to further establish it as one of the greats. That’s not something that can be accomplished with a single watch, but pushing the boundaries of its capabilities in such a dramatic manner has a more lasting impact. It helps that this watch is, in my opinion, one of the better looking Aquis watches to be released yet. 

The Aquis Pro 4000M eschews the all black finish of the Aquis Pro Date, and goes for a titanium case that gets both brushed and polished finishes. It retains the Rotation Safety System bezel assembly, which uses a vulcanized rubber ring that must be pulled up to unlock rotation. It’s a neat solution to secure the bezel from unwanted adjustment, though slightly clunky in real world use, with the ring not always seating correctly. It takes a good strong pull and some effort to keep it there during rotation. Is it better than a button built into the side of the case? Maybe not as fun, but at least this doesn’t necessitate a squared off case wall.

A blue rubber strap is fixed between the ultra chunky lugs of the Aquis, which is fitted with a trick deployant clasp with built in sliding adjustment system. Everything works quite well here, and the strap is comfortable to the touch. I don’t think this watch would work as well on a bracelet given its unorthodox shape. My only complaint here with the clasp is that the buttons which trigger the adjustment can be positioned quite close to the buttons that open the clasp, which can lead to some errant adjustments or even opening the clasp unintentionally. 

As for the rest of the watch, well, it’s big and unwieldy but strangely comfortable on the wrist. Despite the titanium case, the watch still weighs just a shade under 200 grams, but the shape of the case, particularly the belly of the caseback, wrests neatly in the small of the wrist, and those big lugs gently hug on the outbound. It’s about as wearable as you could possibly hope for from a watch like this, but it’s still not going to be a great daily kick around option. 

Under that closed caseback sits an Oris caliber 400 movement, about which we’ve had plenty to say in the past. On one hand, it feels appropriate in a range-topping type of watch like this. On the other hand, this watch isn’t really about that kind of thing, it’s about all the engineering that’s been deployed elsewhere in and around the case. A watch like this with a Sellita based movement would be, in my mind, just as compelling. Not to mention a fair bit cheaper.

So who are watches like this for? That’s a tricky question to ponder, and you could argue that any dive watch that can go beyond a few hundred meters is simply unnecessary. By the same token, any car with more than a few hundred horsepower is also pretty unnecessary, but we seem to find plenty of enjoyment to be had in the experience of that excess. Any watch at all is a bit unnecessary, so it’s worth finding ones that offer a unique experience, and this Oris has that in spades.

At $6,200, the Aquis Pro isn’t exactly a cheap experience, but that price does feel in-line with other ultra-deep divers of this stature. The cited Omega and Rolex above each cost well in excess of $10,000 and are likely quite a bit more difficult to wrangle, both from a retailer and in use on the wrist. More than anything, this is a watch that further establishes the Aquis as a serious player in a fiercely competitive space, and that Oris belongs on that stage. It might not be practical, but it is usable, and it offers one hell of an experience in the process. Oris.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.