There are few (if any) product lines as important to Oris as the Aquis. Although the nameplate has only been part of the brand’s lineup since 2011, this rugged, iconoclastic contemporary diver has become as foundational to the enthusiast perception of Oris as many of its more historic series. However, the brand’s rapid upmarket push in recent years has left the harshly angular, squared-off Aquis silhouette feeling slightly out of place among more refined competitors, and the base design itself has grown a little long in the tooth after 13 years on the market. For its Watches and Wonders 2024 novelties, however, Oris takes on the difficult task of reinventing the Aquis for the current watchmaking landscape. Streamlined, more curvaceous, and updated with a multitude of subtle visual updates, the next-generation Oris Aquis (including the Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400 43.50mm, the Oris Aquis Date 43.50mm, the Oris Aquis Date 41.50mm, and the Oris Aquis Date 36.50mm) is instantly recognizable as an Aquis but brings a more sophisticated, flowing character to the brand’s cornerstone diver collection.

Available in 43.5mm, 41.5mm, and 36.5mm diameters, the stainless steel cases of the new Oris Aquis collection offer the most substantial update to the Aquis formula. By and large, the old semi-integrated Aquis case design was unique and eye-catching, but very much a blocky, function-forward piece of utilitarian design. Although the basic silhouette has barely changed at first glance, nearly every piece of this design has been massaged into a sleeker, more elegant form – as an example, right angles have been almost completely eliminated from this case design. The effects of this subtle streamlining markedly affect the line’s signature chunky, semi-integrated lugs. In previous generations, these lugs are almost brutally simple, defined by an abrupt 90-degree juncture with the case and broad, mirror-polished bevels. For this new collection, the bevels take on a much more pronounced curvature than before, giving the design a softer, more refined look on the wrist and further emphasizing the visual compacting effect that has always been part of the Aquis design. Likewise, the brushed and polished crown guards now incorporate noticeably more tapering and curvature than before, making this a far more complex form than first impressions might imply. Most importantly, though, the main case body is no longer a simple cylinder. Instead, the horizontally brushed case sides gently taper inward towards the reworked bezel, leading to both a wider, grippier bezel overhang and a substantial reduction in visual weight on the wrist. Simply put, while the real dimensions of the two generations are near-identical, the new Aquis looks far lighter, slimmer, and more detailed on the wrist from nearly every angle. Our hands-on sample is the full-size Aquis Date 43.50mm, and during normal wear it feels nearly a full millimeter smaller on the wrist than the outgoing 43.5mm Aquis with no appreciable change in dimensions (of course, given the Aquis’s known habit of wearing smaller than the numbers suggest, this makes the watch wear like a 41mm or 40.5mm case in practice). The unidirectional dive bezel also features a raft of small stylistic updates. Rendered in engraved ceramic (forest green, navy blue, medium gray, or black for 43.5mm and 41.5mm models, and available in a simpler black or taupe configuration for 36.5mm models), the new bezel’s insert features a revised, more classical typeface and a rich, glossy finish. Around back, Oris maintains the Aquis line’s familiar display caseback, and the brand rates each watch in the line for a robust dive-ready 300 meters of water resistance.

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The updates to the new Oris Aquis’s dial are subtler than its case, but still add up to a refreshed feel on the wrist. The most noticeable tweak here is the handset. While the modernized alpha shape of previous Aquis models is still mostly intact here, these hands are markedly slimmer and less harshly angular, leading to a lighter, more streamlined overall feel. By contrast, the tapering, beveled applied indices are more or less identical, but the narrower handset works to make these existing elements seem bolder and more prominent. Oris also reworks the 6 o’clock dial text, introducing a cleaner, more neutral typeface the brand claims will be exclusive to the Aquis line. As one might expect from a full revamping of the series, Oris is offering the new Aquis in a sizeable array of color options. 43.5mm and 41.5mm models are offered in sunburst blue, green, black, or the brand’s randomized, multi-color Upcycle dial made from recycled ocean plastics. Interestingly, the top-of-the-line Aquis Date Calibre 400 43.50mm removes black from this lineup, however. Meanwhile, the smaller, more jewelry-oriented 36.5mm line is available in either gloss black, beige mother of pearl, or Upcycle variants.

Depending on the model, the new Oris Aquis is equipped with either the Sellita-based Oris 733 automatic movement or the in-house Calibre 400 automatic powerplant. Both options are familiar sights in the brand’s lineup at this point, with nothing in the way of substantial updates to speak of. The Calibre 400 remains a genuine contender in its price range, with an immense 120-hour power reserve, a 28,800 bph beat rate, and a stated accuracy within COSC chronometer tolerances. On the other hand, the Oris 733 is fast becoming outdated in 2024, with a below-average 38-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Both movements favor simple, utilitarian finishing, dominated by matte-blasted bridges and brushed rotors.

The new Oris Aquis’s more streamlined, tapered visual language extends to its semi-integrated strap options, as well. The stainless steel three-link oyster-style bracelet that defined previous Aquis generations is largely intact here, with its recognizable polished outer links, brushed center links, and pronounced angular center link peaks, but with a new twist. For this new generation, the bracelet features a far more dramatic taper, leading to a more compact quick-adjusting clasp. Likewise, the available sculpted, signed rubber deployant straps also feature this new aggressive taper, further emphasizing the watch’s lighter, more curvaceous feel on the wrist.

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In the 13 years since Oris first unveiled the Aquis, this distinctive, semi-integrated diver line has grown to define the brand for many enthusiasts. However, over that same time, Oris itself has changed dramatically, aiming to reposition itself from a budget-friendly entry-level marque to a mid-market independent competitor against some of the largest and best-known names in the Swiss watch industry. With this in mind, the redesigned Aquis is a handsome, characterful reflection of this modern Oris ethos, with a more refined, upscale, and complex presentation than what has come before. The new Oris Aquis line is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the new Oris Aquis series ranges from 2,200 CHF for rubber strap-equipped base models to 3,750 CHF for the line-topping Calibre 400 Upcycle on bracelet as of press time (price as tested is 2,200 CHF). For more information, please visit the brand’s website.

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