If you recall when I told you about one of my favorite watches from BaselWorld this year (you can check that out here), I said we would be working on getting in a loaner of that watch to give you some hands-on impressions. Well, supply is tight in the loaner circuit for this model, but we did get to spend some time with the Oris Aquis GMT Date. Read on to see if the “in the steel” impressions lived up to the photos.
The answer is, in a word, yes. I’ve long been a fan of their GMT watches (particularly the Big Crown ProPilot GMT on the textile strap) and their divers (say, the Divers 65), but here, the Oris Aquis GMT Date mashes both of those things together. You start with the Oris Aquis Date (which we wrote about here) and then make it all the more useful by including a GMT complication in the movement. Ta da! For most folks, I’d say you now have the perfect globe-trotting watch. Why is that? Well, it’s carrying a 300m WR resistance, allows you to track up to three time zones, and just plain good-looking. What more do you need?
It is worth noting that the Oris Aquis GMT Date has been upsized a bit from the non-GMT variant; case diameter has gone from 39.5mm to 43.5mm. Not a huge leap, but on the wrist, that’s going to be a good bit larger. I might prefer the smaller size, but I’m sure plenty of folks will be happy with the new, larger case. This also allows the different movement (an Oris caliber 798, which starts life as a Selitta SW 330-1) to have a place to call home. This movement, while not remarkably decorated, is visible through the exhibition caseback, along with a splash of red on the rotor. I also want to call out the flying-saucer shape that you see when you look at the case from the side. Think of the 60’s Lost in Space ship, and that era, and you’ll see what I mean. This more influenced by the angles of the lugs, but still, another interesting, smaller detail.
While I was of course enamored of the GMT complication coming into the mix (from the earlier press releases), when I saw the Oris Aquis GMT Date in person, it was, of all things, the bracelet that captured my attention. I’ve had a bit of a thing for bracelets that are alternating brushed/polished for some time, and that is indeed going on here. The roles are flipped a bit, with the outer links getting the polished treatment. Down the center, they’re brushed, but they’ve also got a bit of a beveled angle to them (reaching the “peak” in the center”) which gives a unique sort of geometric bumpiness to things. Totally unnecessary, but definitely separates it from any other bracelet you’ve seen from other brands.
You’ll note that, holding that bracelet into the lugs of the Oris Aquis GMT Date are some tri-tip screws. I’m guessing many of you don’t have that sort of screwdriver around, but Oris will be willing to sell you one. When it comes to changing straps, though, you are a bit limited with the lugs. You’ve got this bracelet, or one of the stock rubber straps. Past that, you’ll be going with some sort of totally custom strap to get it to fit properly. One might hope for an adapter, but that doesn’t seem likely. I also asked about the possibility of their textile strap making an appearance (I really dig the seatbelt buckle deployment) but the answer was “no plans”. And I get it, it doesn’t fit with the concept of a dive-capable watch. Still, some flexibility would be nice.
In the end, the bracelet on the Oris Aquis GMT Date is definitely the way to go, for the options available. It makes for a very nice-looking watch, one that will feel right for a trip to global offices, or out by the pool. For travelers, the GMT indications are what will be of particular utility. Here, you’ve got a GMT hand with a 24-hour scale printed on the dial, along with a second 24-hour scale printed on the bi-directional ceramic bezel insert. This is where a surprise disappointment came in. Of all things, the GMT hand is not lumed (though it looks like it could be), and on the ceramic bezel, only the pip inside of the triangle is lumed. For a dive-only piece, that might make sense. This watch is more than that, and I felt like this was a miss from the brand. Easily rectified, of course, but still a miss.
So, is the $2,600Oris Aquis GMT Date right for you? Well, only you can answer that for yourself. For me, I found a lot to like about it, but there were some details about it that said, in the end, it wouldn’t be something I’d look to add to my watchbox. Now, this is because I’ve got other GMT watches kicking around that hew closer to my smaller-diameter (and thinner) preferences these days. If you were talking to the me of, say, three years ago, the Oris Aquis GMT Date would have been perfect. The watch is still by far one of my favorites from BaselWorld this year, it’s just not one I’d be getting onto a waitlist for. However, if I ran into you on the street and you had one on your wrist, I’d still congratulate you for a solid, globe-trotting choice. oris.ch
- Brand & Model: Oris Aquis GMT Date
- Price: ~$2,620
- Who’s it for? You want a business- (and adventure-) ready GMT that doesn’t feature an ETA movement
- Would I wear it?In my initial assessment (LINK) the answer was an easy yes. Now, while I don’t see myself purchasing one, if one landed on my wrist someday, I’d still wear it.
- What I’d change: The GMT hand needs to be lumed. After that, the rest of the ceramic bezel insert could use some lume as well.
- The best thing about it: Complication and capability aside, I really, really liked the bracelet.
Tech Specs from Oris
- REFERENCE: 01 798 7754 4135-07 8 24 05PEB
- MATERIAL: Multi-piece stainless steel case, ceramic GMT scale top ring
- SIZE: 43.50 mm, 1.713 inches
- TOP GLASS: Sapphire, domed on both sides, anti-reflective coating inside
- CASE BACK: Stainless steel, screwed, see-through mineral glass
- OPERATING DEVICES: Stainless steel screw-in security crown
- WATER RESISTANCE: 30 bar
- INTERHORN WIDTH: 24 mm
- NUMBER: Oris 798, base SW 330-1
- DIMENSIONS: Ø 25.60 mm, 11 1/2’’’
- FUNCTIONS: Centre hands for hours, minutes, seconds and 24 hours, date window, instantaneous date, date and 24 hour corrector, fine timing device and stop-second
- WINDING: Automatic winding, bi-directionally rotating red rotor
- POWER-RESERVE: 42 hrs
- VIBRATIONS: 28’800 A/h, 4 Hz
- JEWELS: 25
- Design: Blue
- Luminous Material: Indices and hands Super-LumiNova®
- Indices: Applied
- Strap/Bracelet: Brown leather strap, black and blue rubber strap or stainless steel bracelet with stainless steel folding clasp
- Availability: April 2019
- Swiss retail price: CHF 2,600
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