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Oris Aquis: History and Best Players
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Oris Aquis: History and Best Players

Dive deeper into the history of the legendary Swiss watch.
Dec 11, 2020


Typically, the Oris Watchmaking Company is not only one of the oldest, but also the greatest thinkers in history. This luxury watch brand made its debut in 1904 through the efforts of two men - Paul Cattin and Georges Christian. For about two decades, Oris offered pocket watches which were, of course, the main designs of the time. However, in 1925, the Swiss brand decided to give the model a new look and introduced a bracelet clasp to its pocket watch.

Oris as the Swiss watch brand is best known for its use of the red winding rotor, which it trademarked the brand in 2002. It is a symbol, the brand says, of the passion with which it produces mechanical watches. At the same time, it's a great way to grab the eye of the viewer and be a good conversation starter. 

Early Days of Oris Aquis

In 1904, Oris was founded in Hölstein, Switzerland, by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian, both of Le Locle. They named the company after a nearby river.

(Paul Cattin and Georges Christian - Two founders of Oris. Photo Credit: Horobox)

In 1911, Oris became the largest employer in Hölstein, with more than 300 workers. To attract more watchmakers, the company is building houses and apartments for its staff. Oris's success continued, and grew so that in 1929 he had factories in Hölstein (1904), Holderbank (1906), Como (1908), Courgenay (1916), Herbetswil (1925) and Ziefen (1925).

(Oris factory in 1906. Photo credit: Horobox)

Oris introduced his first watch for pilots in 1938, which had a large crown function and a unique Pointer Calendar. The collection takes its name from the oversized crown of the watch. It was used as an aid to pilots adjusting their watch while still wearing leather gloves. In time, the flight became one of the four 'Oris Worlds'.

In the 1960s, Oris was one of the most renowned Swiss watches for its innovation and outstanding quality art. At that time, recreational diving watches became a new trend on the market, therefore, watchmakers joined in with the 100 meter waterproof watch. With its calibrated unidirectional swivel bezel, the watch has become one of the company's bestsellers, as divers can now track their underwater moments with ease.

Despite the devastating Quartz crisis of the 1970-1980s that hit more than half of Swiss brands, the Oris Company has remained committed to mechanical watches. In 1997, watchmaker Hölstein launched a world timer with a patented function that allowed one to adjust local time either forward or backward.

Despite setbacks with the introduction of the quartz movement, the 20th century was not so bad for Oris SA. In the new 21st century, the brand has decided to invest in an industry with more commitment, while maintaining its power of innovation.

In 2011, Oris relaunched the acclaimed Diver line of watches, which became an instant hit with their gorgeous bezels and crowns. Today, the scintillating lineup includes more than a dozen watch variants, all offering innovative packages of real-world functionality from high-performance materials and reliable functionality.

In 2013, Oris introduced the Aquis Depth Gauge watch that doesn't just dive with you to incredible depths. But it allows you to track how deep you are underwater too. Aesthetically, this noble diver's watch looks like the pioneering Aquis model, but the sapphire crystal is 50% thicker. The watch is also 500 meters water resistant and the dial is added with a yellow calibration and a semicircular hole which helps with accurate depth determination.

Following great functionality and a reasonable price, the Oris Aquis Depth Meter has had a noticeable moment of success for some time. In 2015, however, the Chronograph version of the watch was introduced and most consumers now turn to its advanced complications.

For attractiveness, the modern Oris Aquis Depth Gauge Chronograph maintains a sporty look, although the matte black dial now has an additional sub-dial. The new complication means stronger movement, therefore, the Oris 774 Chronograph Caliber Movement replaces the 733 automatic caliber from the previous model.

Before the Depth Meter was reissued, Oris Watchmaking Company presented a limited edition Aquis Red series at Baselworld 2014. The attached modish reference features a vibrant aesthetic inspired by the marine life projects that watchmakers have offered. As a relaunch of its famous diver collection, the 300 meter waterproof watch also serves as a tribute to the amazing diving depths of the Red Sea.

Among Oris's most famous watches, the Aquis Date series can be rated in the top three of the list, following its minimalism and versatility. This timepiece does not compromise your style, whether it's deep blue water or your home in the urban jungle.

Borrowing from the red accents on the front of the Aquis Red Limited Edition, Oris decided to give the Date series a new look. The luxury watch manufacturer introduced two new versions of the Aquis Date, with one featuring yellow accents and the other Orange. Literally, through their extensive research, the brand team came to know that these two colors are the most visible underwater. So it is important in increasing the readability of the most preferred option.

While not most Swiss diver's watches offer further complications, Oris SA recently decided to defy the convention with the new Aquis GMT Date. Masculine and very elegant, the 43mm watch made its debut at Baselworld 2019 with a two-way rotating bezel that features a ceramic insert engraved with the 24 hour mark. This allows the watch to provide you three time zones at once, while catering to your underwater desires up to 300 meters.

Considering that every watch enthusiast has his or her own preferences, the famous Oris Aquis GMT Date watch has four different variants, with all of the Caliber 798 housings. With a 25 jeweled movement, the GMT watch can store up to 42 hours of power, while offering a wide range function, including three time zones and instantaneous date.

Apart from the GMT edition, Oris also launched the Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition III at Baselworld 2019. The two watches may look similar, but this series is completely different but has a similar 300 meter water resistance. For more details on the Oris Aquis watch, take a look at the various options below and also visit our blog page for a full review.

Aquis Date Blue - Bracelet - 43.5mm - Ref. 01 733 7730 4135-07 8 24 05PEB

As a result of deep research and extensive thinking, the Oris Aquis is a fully functional watch series that doesn't compromise on style, and is the partner you can count on in being deep under the waves.

The Oris Aquis date has a very distinctive look especially on this blue dial. The unique shape of the casing and lugs is the unique Oris recognizable from a mile away. The 43mm stainless steel case is satin finished on the sides and polished on the lug top. While the specs of the watch may sound daunting, it really isn't because of the shape of the watch. With a thickness of 12mm and a lug-to-lug distance of just 50mm, the Aquis is fairly ergonometric on the wrist. The one-way bezel is very smooth to operate and the ceramic bezel on the Aquis means it is scratch resistant to most elements.

A rear view that shows off Oris' signature automatic movement

Oris features the Aquis Date with a fabulous blue dial in this model which, depending on the lighting, changes from deep blue to deep black; because of the sunburst finishing. It comes with a polished applied index which is filled with a superLuminova luminous, like a hand. One of the watches that must be seen in person to enjoy its beauty.

This Aquis comes with a 316L stainless steel bracelet which is made to be extremely sturdy. One could feel how good it was made of the weight and sturdiness of the bracelet. The 3-link band features a brushed polished and satin finish and a wetsuit extension for an application clasp.

Aquis Date Blue - Bracelet - 43.5mm - Ref. 01 733 7730 4135-07 8 24 05PEB is available for purchase in Gnomon Store.

Oris Aquis Date Caliber 400 - Bracelet - 43.5mm - Ref. 01 400 7763 4135-07 8 24 09PEB

The Oris collection is currently full of high-performance and purpose-fit mechanical watches. But when it comes to choosing which model should carry our groundbreaking new Caliber 400, there's only one candidate.

Around the world, Aquis is recognized as a contemporary diver's watch design icon. Powerful, reliable, versatile and equipped with a long list of functions, this watch is chosen by men and women from all walks of life who love watches.

The new Aquis Date, powered by the Caliber 400, has various unique aspects from the standard model. The first clue of what's underneath is the words '5 days' scrawled on the gradient blue dial. The date window is also larger and the date disc is black instead of white. In contrast, the sapphire back case is the largest on the Aquis Date. It allows the display of movement to be as open as possible.

At the same time, the watch is still water resistant to 30 bar (300 meters), has a uni-directional rotating bezel with a scratch-resistant ceramic insert for safe time dives, and a SuperLumiNova® hand and pointer.

It also features Oris's patented latest development, the Quick Strap Change system, which is designed so that a bracelet or strap can be removed by simply lifting the cover. No tools required. No jewelry required.

With these features, the Oris Aquis Date Caliber 400 sets a new standard for diver's watch. Get your Oris Aquis Date Caliber 400 - Bracelet - 43.5mm - Ref. 01 400 7763 4135-07 8 24 09PEB on Gnomon store.

Aquis GMT Date Blue - Bracelet - 43.5mm - Ref. 01 798 7754 4135-07 8 24 05PEB

The Oris stand is bustling at Baselworld 2019. The brand's high-performance dive watch is the star of the show with its shocking and super cool iteration of the Sixty-Five in a retro two-tone bronze and steel case and bracelet, and two limited edition Aquis models dedicated to the project. marine environment, Aquis Clean Ocean, and Aquis Great Barrier Reef III. Complementing the Aquis collection with functions that are relevant and practical for world travelers, the brand presents the Aquis Diver GMT Date.

For the first time, Oris has equipped the high-performance Aquis GMT diver's watch with a two-way rotating bezel engraved on a 24-hour scale. What's important about this is that the watch can now display the time in three separate time zones simultaneously - one via the conventional central hour and minute hands; second through the yellow tipped middle hand; and the third reading on the bezel. The 43.50 mm stainless steel case is water resistant to a height of 30 bar (300 meters), has a screw-in crown with a guard, and the metal strap and band are all equipped with foldable clasps that extend to be worn over wetsuits.

Dive Into Three Different Time Zones

This is the first Aquis model to be equipped with a GMT complication. Assuming that most dive watches are purchased for aesthetic reasons, and are rarely used other than swimming in the pool, the brand can get away with an unusual combination of complications that the professional diver in the abyss did not dream of. To date, the rugged and waterproof Aquis has received a number of additional functions, some of which such as a chronograph and day / date model clearly designed for life on dry land.

The Oris Aquis 2019 GMT date goes a step further and offers tourists three different timezone readings. Local time can be set using standard hour hands, home time using the yellow tip GMT hand, and third time zone using a bidirectional GMT bezel in combination with the GMT hand. There is also a date window at 3 o'clock.

Black And Blue

Taking advantage of the Aquis Date 2017 facelift, the GMT Date model comes in a rugged 43.5mm diameter case that is water resistant up to 300 meters. The big change comes to the black ceramic insert in the bezel which now has a 24 hour track for the third GMT reading. Replacing the 60-minute scale with a 24-hour bezel, coupled with a predominantly black and blue color scheme might remind you of another watch released during Baselworld 2019 - the Rolex GMT-Master II, aka Batman.

The sunburst's blue knob is very attractive and very easy to read. The large index applied bold and rhodium plated hands are all crafted with the Super-LumiNova and really stand out with the blue dial. The 24-hour track on the dial is slightly recessed and curved for a deeper depth in the watch, while the arrow-shaped GMT hand is highlighted in yellow for increased visibility. Given the practical travel dialing of this watch, the date window is no exaggeration. The model we have for the hands-on session comes with a blue rubber strap and steel band although the watch can also be purchased in brown leather or black rubber options, all of which come with folding clasps that extend to fit a wetsuit.

Caliber 798

Powering the Oris Aquis GMT Date is automatic caliber 798, based on the Sellita SW 330-1. This outsourced movement has a power reserve of 42 hours and a pulse at 4Hz. As usual with such movements, this is a simple GMT complication, as additional time zones are set in one hour increments, and not local time (as on the Rolex GMT-Master II, for example). The movement and signature of its red rotor is visible through the sapphire back cover.

Overall Appearance

With its sporty looks, clear blue dial and choice of four different straps, the Oris Aquis GMT Date is a tough, reliable and practical travel companion who won't mind accompanying you on your scuba-diving holiday to the Seychelles. I think one thing I might have 'sacrificed' in the name of the watch's diving origin is the third time zone on the bezel. I prefer to keep the classic 60 minute dive bezel which is an integral part of the personality of any dive watch. Power reserves are also on the short side (but that's common with the ETA / Sellita movement) but overall the watch takes a beating and offers lots of useful functionality for a relatively decent price.

Aquis GMT Date Blue - Bracelet - 43.5mm - Ref. 01 798 7754 4135-07 8 24 05PEB is available on Gnomon, get yours now!

Aquis Date Green - Bracelet - 39.5mm - Ref. 01 733 7732 4157-07 8 21 05PEB

The Oris Aquis date needs no introduction. This is one of the relatively affordable automatic watches that we often cover. Appearing either at the office or on the beach, the latest facelift operated by Oris gives it a more desirable look, without compromising its diving capacity. Typically seen in the massive 43.5mm diameter, there are other, smaller options available - which we'll call more user-friendly. And today this model gets a new, trendy dial. Meet the 39.5mm Oris Aquis Date now with Summon Green.

As already mentioned, the Aquis Date is a no-brainer for anyone looking for an accessible yet robust dive watch with Swiss automatic movement, a protected case but elegant enough for everyday use. Previously just a tool watch that made no sense considering only its dive capacity, an evolution made in 2017, when this watch was facelifted, added a slight touch of elegance to this model - redesigned index and hands, new colors, several different forms. elements - all of that was done in a somewhat conservative but successful way.

A year later, the brand decided that this model should be more "urban", by introducing a smaller version - not a ladies' watch but some kind of mid-size model, replacing the 43.5mm case with the easy-to-wear 39.5. case mm. Already available in black with a brush bezel, black with a glossy bezel or blue with a glossy bezel, there's a fourth model that joins the rest of the collection - and a model that's clearly playing on the trend for colored watches.

Based on the same specs as existing models - Oris gave the Aquis Date 39.5mm a new, well-executed green dial (definitely one of the trendiest colors of the year). For this occasion, the dial isn't matte but features a sunburst brush pattern, which is sure to make for nice tonal changes and reflections. The index and applied pointers, all filled with Super-LumiNova, have not changed.

Instead of a typical black bezel, Oris combines a green dial with a matching - polished ceramic bezel. The case, with the integrated lug and redesigned protective device on the side, is the same as the rest of the watch and is still water resistant up to 300 meters. It will be offered in a choice of leather straps, rubber straps, or stainless steel wristbands - all with a diver folding clasp.

Inside the case is the tried and tested Caliber 733, based on the Sellita SW 200-1. This automatic movement ticks at 4Hz and has a power reserve of 38 hours. It's hidden behind a solid steel back but still features the distinctive red rotor.

Aquis Date Green - Bracelet - 39.5mm - Ref. 01 733 7732 4157-07 8 21 05PEB is now available on Gnomon Store.

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