As the streets were lined with pinched shoulders and earmuffs, you could hear on every block someone mentioning that they had enough of winter. It was late April, and the citizens of Toronto still struggled to maintain their core temperatures. Upon getting closer to the city’s core on foot, the topic of the weather intensified. For those who worked in the many office towers which look over the fair city, enough was enough. Not only was it bad enough to never see daylight because of their time spent in their cubicles, but they still had to contend with frigid temperatures.
As a handful of horology enthusiasts were welcomed by Oris for an evening of dining and beverages, everyone settled into place comfortably. The warmth of the environment was a much-needed break for those who had not had any time off since the holidays. It can be read in many publications that Oris is a brand that many writers are comfortable working with, and this is true. On top of being gracious hosts, they never overwhelm those in attendance with specifications or sales pitches.
While marketing departments of other brands often are on aggressive charm offensives, Oris approaches their outreach in a more relaxed manner. This may be due to the size of their company and their marketing budget, or it may be due to actually caring for their supported causes. These causes are primarily environmentally related such as their support for the Reef Restoration Foundation. Unlike other companies that focus their marketing campaigns towards such causes, the name Oris itself can be traced back to the Roman word ‘Orucz’ and the Celtic word ‘Aurisa’ which mean watercourse. All of this ties back together when one realizes that their factory is based by a river of the same name.
Another such cause is the Global Water Awareness Campaign, and Oris unveiled a watch in support of this cause.
Oris Aquis Date Relief
In raising awareness for the global water crisis and its many threats, expedition swimmer Ernst Bromeis will attempt to swim 800 km of the 1,232 km Rhine river. The new Date Relief mirrors the many challenges that Mr. Bromeis has to tackle. The dial of the watch shimmers in a dynamic grey echoing the tempestuous nature of the sections of the river he will swim. The frosted metallic bezel closely mirrors the cold waters that will have to be conquered on his 60-day endeavor. The red accents of the seconds hand and that of the rubber strap release the tension between these two strong monochromatic elements.
The Aquis Date Relief wears like other watches of the same line, and that of their Pro-Divers. They wear very well on the wrist and thanks to their tapering lugs, they wear smaller than what their specs would imply. The proprietary lug design allows the watch to wear more like a module on the wrist than that of a traditional watch. The straps and deployant buckle are very comfortable and have the sweet scent of vanilla.
The colours chosen for this Limited Edition also make it versatile enough to be worn every day. This is especially the case when worn with the supplied bracelet.
Oris Divers 65 & Big Crown Pointer Date Variants & 36mm Offerings
The Divers 65 series has been a hit for the brand since its release and for good reason. In a genre of watches that have been growing larger with features that even divers do not need or want, the 65 was a breath of fresh air.
Both the 65 and the Big Crown Pointer Date received new variants in the smaller 36mm case size, and both got versions in bronze. The application of bronze works spectacularly here for it emphasizes the vintage styling of these watches. The natural patina that these watches will develop as time goes on will suit the nature of these watches beautifully. In offering 36mm variants of the same models, Oris is putting its foot forward as one of the few brands to offer a perfect option for his-&-her watches.
There was an unexpected star of the show in the Big Crown Pointer Date and its new stunning red dial. The deep burgundy red dial beautifully contrasts the bright hands and markers. The restraint shown by Oris in not using vintage-inspired coloured luminescent paint on the markers is praiseworthy. This results in a very sharp watch that undoubtedly hit the mark with the crowd on that evening. This watch which draws its design from eight decades ago easily could be worn for another eight to come.
On a personal note, the Oris Divers 65 Chronograph with the bronze detailing is almost the perfect watch. Its 100m water-resistant case is perfect for diving, and its chronograph complication is one that will be used on shore and while on the boat doing diving support-related tasks. At first glance the Oris logo seems a little too large, and after a while of wearing it on wrist, it persists in being a little too large. I am reminded of when the “Spectre” Edition of the Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial first came out. Many including myself thought that it looked like a counterfeit watch that was trying too hard. The vintage-lumed markers and hands also are not the best, but this is a stunning watch nevertheless, so much so that I considered buying one that evening.
A watch that is essentially perfect is the Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 111. One might complain about its size until one looks at the caseback and sees the truly gorgeous movement on display. This 10-day power reserve watch is truly a masterpiece of production on this scale. The water resistance of 100m also makes this a perfect candidate for someone’s only watch. It is that good, and I would daresay if your wrist can accommodate this watch, it is perfect. I hope to see Oris expand such efforts in their movements in the future, even if it comes at a price increase. This hand-wound wonder of a watch is something that an enthusiast should experience in person.
Oris is a brand dear to the hearts of many horology enthusiasts and for good reason. They are one of the few independent brands from Switzerland on this scale, and they genuinely make beautiful watches. Their use of proprietary lugs and screws which in some cases require thread lock to secure are sore points among some, but they are in the minority. The environmental efforts in using ethically sourced leather for their pouches and partaking in events such as World Clean-Up day only reinforce love for the brand. Oris recently also donated $50,000 to RedBar and its charitable fund in New York. Since 2016, The RedBar Fund has been helping various charitable organizations in the New York area.
The causes which Oris supports are admirable and worth praising. Seeing first-hand thousands of pieces of large plastic on shores and the millions of micro-plastic fibres only reinforces this urgency. I am afraid that there are too many of us removed from coastlines who do not see the horrific coral bleaching. Not seeing these in real time allows most to distance themselves from these ongoing disasters. On a personal note I am grateful for Oris and their efforts. Every little bit of work towards this field counts, and raising awareness is sadly still something the public needs. Thank you Oris, not only for a wonderful and memorable evening, but for continuing to strive to make our world a better place.