SUB­MERSIBLE STOP­WATCH

Oris added a chrono­graph to its sporty Aquis col­lec­tion this year. How does this big, blue-di­aled time­piece per­form as both time­keeper and wrist wardrobe?

WatchTime - - Table Of Contents - By Mark Ber­nado

| Oris added a chrono­graph to its sporty Aquis col­lec­tion this year. How does this big, blue-di­aled time­piece per­form as both time­keeper and wrist wardrobe?

The maritime blue dial man­ages to look both com­plex and em­i­nently leg­i­ble.

— Oris’s Aquis col­lec­tion of pro­fes­sion­al­grade divers’ watches has grown to en­com­pass a va­ri­ety of lim­ited edi­tions de­voted to marine con­ser­va­tion and preser­va­tion causes (i.e., 2017’s Ham­mer­head), a hand­ful of small com­pli­ca­tions like big dates and small sec­onds, and no­tably, an in­no­va­tive me­chan­i­cal depth gauge. At this year’s Basel­world, the Höl­stein-based brand added a chrono­graph to the lineup. It was a time­piece that in­stantly caught my eye and, as of a few weeks ago, found its way to my wrist for some re­view time.

To be­gin, as per usual, with the case, it needs to be stated up front: this is a mon­ster of a time­piece from a size stand­point, and in pro­file, it suit­ably brings to mind the hull of some kind of sub­mersible. At 45.5 mm in di­am­e­ter it’s got the heft you’d ex­pect of a steel watch of this girth; the wrist pres­ence is im­pres­sive and not at all sub­tle. And yet, it never strained against any of my shirt cuffs and never felt like it was drag­ging my fore­arm down; maybe it’s the rub­ber strap, maybe it’s how that con­vex curved case­back nes­tles oh-so-nat­u­rally into the sub­tle in­den­ta­tion of the wrist, but once you start wear­ing this watch, it be­gins to feel like a part of you.

The uni­di­rec­tional ro­tat­ing divers’ bezel ratch­ets smoothly and au­di­bly to set dive times (or any types of tim­ing in­ter­vals, re­ally) and is ex­tremely easy to grip – though ad­mit­tedly I did not at­tempt to do so while wear­ing div­ing gloves or any other type of thick gloves. e black uni­di­rec­tional ro­tat­ing bezel in­sert has a gleam­ing, pol­ished fin­ish that makes it ap­pear as if it’s an ex­ten­sion of the sub­tly con­vex sap­phire crys­tal (and also, in some light­ing con­di­tions, can look like a dark blue ex­ten­sion of the dial). In­dexes for the first 15 min­utes of dive time, Ara­bic nu­mer­als at the 10’s and in­dexes at the 5’s, are all etched in white into the in­sert, which is made of ceramic. Ori­en­ta­tion in the dark depths is pro­vided by the in­verted tri­an­gle at 12 o’clock and its Su­per-lu­mi­nova-coated dot. Only at the tail end of my re­view pe­riod did it oc­cur to me that per­haps a matte fin­ish to the bezel would have been more prefer­able, and per­haps more util­i­tar­ian for a diver. At this point we don’t know, but I ap­pre­ci­ated the touch of lux­ury that the pol­ished fin­ish lent the piece.

The at­trac­tive, maritime blue dial man­ages to look com­plex and busy while still be­ing em­i­nently leg­i­ble in all con­di­tions. Su­per­lu­mi­nova coats the large, wedge-shaped hour hand; the long, ta­pered, lance-like min­utes hand and the ap­plied hour mark­ers (with a sin­gle dot at 6 o’clock and a dou­ble dot at 12 o’clock). e con­trast with the dark blue dial is stark; and as we know, leg­i­bil­ity is goal num­ber one of a pro­fes­sional dive watch.

The sub­di­als are slightly re­cessed from the main dial, in a slightly less vi­brant shade of blue, and with white num­bered and marked scales sur­round­ing a snailed cen­ter. Stacked at 12, 9 and 6 o’clock, they con­vey the read­outs of the chrono­graph’s elapsed min­utes (up to 30), the run­ning sec­onds (with an unusual two-sided hand), and elapsed hours (up to 12); a thin, rec­tan­gu­lar date win­dow is en­sconced inside the bor­ders of the hours sub­dial.

Oper­at­ing the chrono­graph is a tac­tile joy. The push­ers are rounded and re­spond in­stantly to soft but de­lib­er­ate pres­sure from a fin­ger­tip. e cen­tral chrono­graph hand is also tipped with Su­per-lu­mi­nova, so it’s easy to see in the dark as it races around the dial. The screw-down crown – which helps en­sure this ti­tanic time­piece’s im­pres­sive wa­ter re­sis­tance to 500

me­ters (aka 50 bar; both are in­di­cated on the dial) – pulls out to two po­si­tions, the first to quick-ad­vance the date, the sec­ond to set the hours and min­utes. Like the bezel, the crown, which is graced with an Oris logo on the top, is notched for easy grip­ping.

Be­hind the solid steel case­back, which is screwed down and en­graved with Oris’s clas­si­cal crest and a me­ters-to-feet con­ver­sion ta­ble, beats the move­ment, Oris Cal­iber 774, which uses a Sel­lita SW500 as its base and fea­tures the typ­i­cal Oris re­fine­ments, in­clud­ing the hall­mark red wind­ing ro­tor, though it is, of course, hid­den from view in this par­tic­u­lar case con­fig­u­ra­tion. The au­to­matic wind­ing move­ment has 25 jew­els, a 28,800-vph fre­quency and a 48-hour power re­serve.

The watch, suit­ably, comes on a very sporty strap made of black rub­ber and at­tached to the lugs by screws. The clo­sure is a steel fold­ing clasp and it in­cludes a divers’ ex­ten­sion that al­lows the wearer to tighten or loosen the watch by nearly half an inch. This was the first time I had worn a watch with such an ex­ten­sion for any ex­tended pe­riod and it was much ap­pre­ci­ated; this would, in most in­stances, be a watch suited for thicker wrists than mine, so to make it fit se­curely I had to not only take the buckle tab to the last hole, I also had to tighten the divers’ ex­ten­sion to the very last notch. That said, I had no com­plaints what­so­ever about the fit of the watch once I had it ad­justed in this man­ner. As I al­luded to above, this is a watch that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily grow on you but cer­tainly feels like it’s grow­ing with you once you’ve had it strapped on for a few days.

The Oris Aquis Chrono­graph (which is avail­able in five styles, with this blue-di­aled look be­ing far and away my fa­vorite) car­ries a re­tail price of $3,600. It’s a lot of watch for un­der four grand, but of course we’ve come to ex­pect such value propo­si­tions from Oris. —

The watch’s wrist pres­ence is im­pres­sive and not at all sub­tle.

The date win­dow is in­cor­po­rated into the chrono­graph hours counter.

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