Oris Aquis Depth Gauge - 30 minutes on the wrist
Maybe this is not exactly the best time of the year to talk about a diver's watch, the summer is over and everybody seems busy waiting for the winter to come but when it comes to wristwatches there is no seasonality. Although these timepieces are called "diver's watches" we are used to wear them anywhere and any time of the year, not only in combination with a diving suit. Oris, like many other Swiss manufacturers, knows this fact perfectly well and it is also that kind of brand that knows how to add that special touch to its watches to always make them look stylish and technically interesting; Oris's timepieces are the perfect choice for those people who are looking for true tool watches.
The Oris Aquis Depth Gauge is the latest achievement of a brand that I got to know some years ago and that is well known and appreciated for its sturdy diver's watches that are equipped with quite uncommon features and that set the brand apart in the world of watch making. I personally love the brand's Limited Edition timepieces such as the Oris Force Recon GMT (you can read about it on here) that blend together technical features and exclusive partnerships with the most renowned army troops. The Oris Aquis Depth Gauge was first unveiled in 2013 and it is an unusual and smart upgrade feature to a well-known diver's watch.
Oris has managed to craft the very first watch that actually lets the water enters it. This sentence might sound crazy or misleading, but the truth is that the brand has simplified something that others have over-complicated instead, that it to say the way one measures the actual depth while going deep underwater. Oris firmly believes in simplicity and its goal is to create timepieces that are free from expensive electronic devices; a feature which actually adds no real value to a mechanical watch but simply turns it into some sort of expensive hybrid timepiece. This is the exact kind of approach used to craft the Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot Altimeter, where the manufacturer has made a wise use of the laws of physics like it did with the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge.
The sapphire glass has a small opening at 12 o' clock and a meniscus on its outer ring that lets the water enters the timepiece and makes it press against the air stored inside the meniscus. The scale has been built according to the precise principals of physics and in such a way that when the water enters the capillary, you can get a direct and "at a glance" measurement of the depth reached using a scale that ranges between a value of 0 and 100m. The main difference between this special feature and most applications created by other brands is that no additional electronic device is being used here, there is no conversion via electronic signals and the only additional hand present is the water meniscus. In a nutshell, a very logic approach and a very original visualization method.
The Depth Gauge measurement is a nice feature that most of us will probably never use but what is actually interesting is the brand's ability to add such a nice function to an already tech-savvy diver's watch. The best piece of news is, however, that this year the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge comes in a new and fresher look; the black ceramic insert has been replaced by a grey tungsten insert, the stainless steel case is now DLC covered to allow even the toughest of uses, the black rubber strap has become yellow and let me tell you that, from an aesthetic point of view, it works perfectly well. The timepiece retails at 3,150€; quite a bargain if you consider the whole nice package on offer, one of the best looking and nicely finished diver's watch created by a European manufacturer and the most consistent answer to Japanese watchmakers, whose diver's watches represent the benchmark in the industry.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter