After ages of languishing in relative unpopularity, two-tone watch designs have resurged in recent years. Offering wearers a touch of flash without the weight, cost, and ostentation of a full-gold design, there’s a lot to like about the classic two-tone layout, and Oris is the latest brand to embrace the two-tone look with a pair of new models in its Aquis diver range. The new Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm Bi-Color adds a high-impact 18k gold bezel and matching dial hardware to one of the brand’s cornerstone designs, creating a vibrant and eye-catching early contender for this year’s informal “Watch of the Summer” honors.
As the name suggests, the Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm Bi-Color’s case measures in at 41.5mm-wide, but as with other models in the series, the dimensions can be somewhat misleading. The stainless steel main case’s semi-integrated design is tightly packaged, with “shrink-wrapped” vertical case sides, chunky squarish crown guards, and the line’s signature semi-integrated wide lugs. These lugs have the greatest impact on overall wearability, combining a short overall length with a sharply angled downturn and contrasting polished chamfered ends to keep the Aquis’s stance compact on the wrist relative to its size. Of course, the real attraction of this new model’s case is the addition of an 18k yellow gold dive bezel. Although Oris does not offer a two-tone bracelet for the Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm Bi-Color, the bezel’s muscular gear-toothed edge and broad diameter give this lustrous material a fair amount of real estate to shine. Available with a ceramic dive scale insert in either muted navy blue or a deep, nearly black shade of forest green, this bezel markedly changes the personality of the Aquis, reframing what has historically been a function-forward (if unorthodox) utilitarian diver design as something louder and more playful. While some enthusiasts may not appreciate this break from the brand’s typically conservative aesthetics, this addition does breathe new life into the familiar look. Like the rest of the line, the Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm Bi-Color is a properly capable diver design, rated for a hefty 300 meters of water resistance.
Sunburst dials are a common sight among divers, even among the Aquis line itself. For the Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm Bi-Color, however, the brand offers a pair of truly dramatic sunburst options. One quality of sunburst dials that can be difficult to display in photos is their “dynamic range.” Sunbursts can vary widely in this regard, from displaying a faint glimmer when light is at certain angles to a bold, almost hypnotic sweep ranging from bright highlights to deep shadows. Both dial options here fall into the second category, with a rich, handsomely grained surface showcasing a vibrant sunburst effect. Oris’s decision to use highly saturated jewel tones for the dial surface helps to reinforce this effect here. The verdant emerald green dial option is the more distinctive of the pair here, with an on-trend look that meshes well with the warm golden hues of the dial text, applied 18k gold indices, and the series’ signature rounded alpha handset. By contrast, the rich, oceanic sapphire blue dial offers a more traditional look but maintains the luxe, summery feel of the overall design. The strength of the sunburst effect along with the shadows cast by the tall rehaut work to give both colorways an almost dègradè dial look at certain angles, with deep black lowlights around the dial edge that help to hide the mismatched black date wheel at 6 o’clock.
Oris powers the Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm Bi-Color with its flagship in-house Calibre 400 automatic movement. The Calibre 400 has become the backbone of the brand’s higher-priced offerings since its introduction in late 2020, and it offers genuinely impressive performance including a massive 120-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Oris rates the Calibre 400 for a chronometer-grade -3/+5 seconds per day in accuracy, but curiously the brand does not send this movement to COSC for certification. Lastly, the Calibre 400 offers a 10-year recommended service interval, twice the length of most other movements.
Oris completes the Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm Bi-Color with a pair of strap options. The first is the Aquis line’s familiar semi-integrated three-link tapering bracelet in brushed and polished stainless steel. Although this is a solidly finished bracelet in its own right, in the context of a two-tone design the brand’s decision to keep the bracelet in full stainless steel feels somewhat underwhelming (even if adding 18K gold links would have dramatically increased the price). By contrast, the signed and structured optional rubber straps fit the more bombastic look of the two-tone design very well. Available in vibrant, summery grass green or cyan, these straps are supple and comfortable and keep the overall look modern and sporting on the wrist.
While the addition of 18k gold elements may not reinvent the wheel for the series, the bright dynamic colors and luxurious touches of the Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm Bi-Color help to bring eye-catching new energy to the long-running line just in time for the summer. The Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm Bi-Color is available now through authorized dealers. Starting MSRP for the Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400 41.5mm Bi-Color stands at $4,400 as of press time, rising to $4,600 for bracelet-equipped examples. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.