Divers... I love divers! There is something about these watches that makes me go soft. The design, the history of the classics from back in the days, the ruggedness, the fact that some of these watches can be brought to depths that most of us only know from The Blue Planet. I find it amazing that someone has created watches that withstand the pressure at 1000 meters and beyond. The percentage of people using these tools for what they are made for are low. Very low.
I probably am on the tip of the spear when it comes to not wearing these watches in the way they are meant to. I have had my share of divers, but they have rarely seen water. Maybe from a sudden drizzle of rain when I haven’t had the long-sleeve nearby.
I had a 300ATM watch earlier, a beast that looked like a tank on my tiny wrist. That watch was the closest thing to ever join me when doing the dishes or taking a shower. I remember one time when I didn’t bother to leave it outside the bathroom. It lied on the sink, in the steam from the shower… It was crazy! Luckily it survived, and I had to leave it in the box for a while, just so it could have some time for itself, to relax and recover.
Even if I do not use these watches as they are meant to be used, I still cherish them above many other types. The Oris Aquis is one of the reasons why my vision goes into stare-mode and I get a little warm inside. The first time I saw the Aquis was online, as there were no AD’s where I live. I panicked, knowing I was not able to buy it at that time. I went through all possible solutions, trying to find a way to get it. Unluckily, the watch was sold out before I could gather the amount I needed.
The model I am writing about is the 7653, released in 2011.
With a width of 43mm and length of 50mm, I’m really pushing the boundaries with this tool. The thickness is 13mm and suits my sweaters well. The watch features a blend of brushed and polished details, and the amount of polished parts is just enough to not make it too shiny. I have to admit that when fitted with the stainless-steel bracelet, it balances on a thin bling-edge and sometimes I find it a bit too much…
Nevertheless, this is a watch I love to rest my eyes on. From various angles, beautiful elements pop out. The bezel with the clean and classic ceramic insert, the slightly rugged crown with its protectors gently looking after it and the fat, angular lugs makes this beauty look and feel like the high-quality watch it is. The deep blue, sunburst dial with clean markers is not only a beauty to watch, but also very easy to read. The date is placed right above the six o'clock marker and along with the text "Oris Automatic", "Pressure Resistant 30BAR/300M" and "Swiss Made" placed in centre, from top to bottom, it makes the dial very symmetrical.
The main thing, that really got me drooling, is the shape and angle of the case. From bottom to top, the case is curved inwards and ends up underneath the unidirectional bezel. It’s not only a fantastic, aesthetic design, it makes using the bezel a whole lot easier. Just as my wrists are tiny, my hands aren’t massive either. Turning a bezel has never been a problem, my fingers gets a grip in the tiniest corners and cracks. The Oris’ design just makes it even easier.
The Aquis is fitted with an exhibition case back. Through the sapphire you will see the familiar red rotor and the Sellita SW200-1 movement, the heart of this watch. There is a never-ending discussion regarding the beauty of different automatic movements. In my opinion it’s always beautiful to see these tiny parts turn, spin and shine. I will agree on the fact that some of the cheapest movements looks a bit dull and some of the most expensive movements are breathtaking to watch, but for me it’s not the bling factor that counts. To know that inside my watch, there is a bulletproof movement that runs for decades if treated well, that is beauty in my eyes.
There is a lot going on at the back… The six holes for the opener tool, the window, the underside of the crown guards, all the engravings showing the features, numbers and names. Personally, I would have appreciated a more stripped-down case back. But at the same time, this side of the watch is hidden most of the time, so that is not an issue that bothers me a lot.
The one thing that is a problem for me with this watch, and other Oris models, is the design that only allows Oris bracelets and straps to be used. For me, the choice of putting on another strap when I want is crucial. Being locked to a design or system that only allow the original parts to fit is frustrating. I do want to point out that the bracelet itself is brilliant when it comes to the comfort and durability. And that it has screwed links is not the worst thing in the world either.
I know this is a bit picky, but it’s an important feature. Back in the days, when I thought Pirelli P Zero was a stunner, I didn’t think of the strap being an issue. My simple mind thought that every watch had the same design and to switch straps was a walk in the park. In pure rage and frustration, the Pirelli almost ended up as scrap metal. In the last minutes before I was going to trash it, a friend of mine wanted it. He didn’t care about the details and ended up with the watch. Poor soul…
What I like about Oris is that they are true to their design. In my opinion, Oris is one of the brands that is the easiest to recognise through their looks. You won’t mistake an Oris for a Seiko, Longines, Tag Heuer or any other brand. The historical bit is also something I love, from being one of the top ten brands in the world, producing over a million watches per year, to become a part of ASUAG, later Swatch Group, and almost plummet into the abyss when the quartz-crisis struck. In 1982 Oris split with the Swatch Group and was again an independent brand, now focusing on making only watches with mechanical movements. In the mid 90’s Oris went into partnership with the London Jazz Festival, making it the Oris London Jazz Festival. To combine and connect the brand with a musical scene and genre is a brilliant way to go, in my opinion.
Oris has developed many technical innovations. Some of the modern ones are the Worldtimer that allows adjusting the local time via two buttons on the case, the Quick Lock Crown system, the vertical crown, the rotating safety system, preventing errors occurring while diving, the Sliding Sledge Clasp, the Aquis Depth Gauge, the ProDiver Pointer Moon and the Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter.
Even though I love such innovations, the fact that Oris is deep into music through their jazz-watches, and with their Great Barrier Reef watches, Oris actively support preserving and raising awareness about the fragile environments, such as the Great Barrier Reef, makes this brand even more loveable.
It seems like this review turned into something more than just a review of the Aquis. Even if Oris has a large range of models I cherish, my love for the brand started with this charming diver. Taking this review a bit further might not be such a strange thing to do. The small issues regarding the bracelets are probably not a big issue for most of you, it’s just my need to be able to change straps at least 6 times every day. The boldness, presence, details, finish and the Oris-feeling are more than enough to categorize the beautiful Aquis as a classic.
Now it's time for me to take my dog for an evening walk. I think I'm seeing some small rain clouds in the horizon, so the Aquis stays at home. Risk management at its most extreme…