There’s no need to check the link or adjust your monitor or screen. Your eyesight is just fine, and so are all your devices. This is a simple, black dial dress watch from Oris. There’s no bezel or angular titanium case. There are no proprietary lugs or troublesome screws. There’s no textured, inspired dial. To be honest, there’s hardly anything. Just a slim, polished case, a black dial, and a black leather strap. It’s a surprise from a brand that this year alone has debuted no fewer than eight tool or sports watches. You may be thinking, “Well, hold on—Oris makes some dressy watches!” And sure, you could count the watch it literally called the Oris Rectangular or maybe even the Big Crown models. But the former is a love letter to vintage Art Deco watches and the latter have busy dials that more often than not are quite colorful, not to mention their brushed slab sides. No, Oris doesn’t make modern dress watches, watches that pare a design down to its bare essentials and place emphasis on slimness and shine and sophistication. But if you go to its website and look at the list of collections, at the very end—why are they hiding it?—is the Artelier collection, where you’ll find the Artelier S. And the Oris Artelier S shows off an entirely different side of the brand that I thought it had left behind years ago.

Truth be told, it was an Artelier model that first attracted me to Oris: The 2016 Oris Artelier Calibre 112, a 43mm dual-time model with a day-night indicator and one of the brand’s first modern in-house movements, which boasted a 10-day power reserve. But when I tried one on in New York a few years after its release, the case proved too large for my tastes. The spell was broken, and it was shortly after that the brand pivoted away from the Artelier collection (and the classic ProPilots, too) and anything that even resembled a modern dress watch. The collection was left to languish as Oris focused on the Big Pilot, the ProPilotX, the Aquis, and the Divers. (The other two models that are listed in the Artelier line don’t even appear to be available.) So, when the Artelier S was announced, it took me by surprise and jolted me out of the indifference I’d been feeling towards Oris as it rolled out release after release from its other collections.

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The Oris Artelier S first stands out from the rest of the brand’s offerings with its case. While Oris offers smaller watches (like the Rectangular, which is still an awful name), none is as simple and refined as this. At 38mm and with almost no bezel at all, the top-down view of the stainless steel case is all dial, giving the impression of a slightly larger watch, perhaps 39mm. The delicate 20mm curved lugs are a far cry from the chunky and quirky Aquis lugs and allow the Artelier S to sit easily and comfortably on the wrist. The unfussy black leather strap with its deployant clasp is comfortable and pliable, and I had no issue getting a perfect fit on my wrist. The watch’s pull-out crown is paired with an expectedly lower water resistance of just 30m (but you can bet I was reckless and did dishes with it).

Under the massive domed sapphire crystal (with very apparent anti-reflective coating) is what I have to imagine is the simplest dial Oris has made in years if not decades. Minute hashes trace the periphery, smartly placed just inside the edge of the crystal’s dome to avoid distortion, with the brand’s name floating below 12 o’clock in a sea of black. And that’s all you’ll find on the dial itself. While this black dial has a matte finish, a second model features a forest green dial with a sunburst finish. Personally, I think the matte reaffirms the formal sophistication of the model, but I’m sure the green will be more popular. The hands are incredibly simple: straight with slivers of Super-LumiNova BGW9 that’s also applied every 5 minutes on the peripheral hashes. To be honest, the lume isn’t great, and I’d argue it’s entirely unnecessary on a watch like this. As it is, legibility suffers a bit in low light, and in well-lit conditions, the hands can get lost a bit if they aren’t reflecting anything, but usually can be made out thanks to the strips of lume.

I wouldn’t have minded a manual-wind movement for the Oris Artelier S, and it would have been a great opportunity to introduce a center-second version of the hand-wound Calibre 473, but Oris opted for a third-party automatic instead. I have to imagine that returning to the Artelier line after so much success with its sports lines is seen as a risk, and perhaps the brand didn’t want to increase the risk by using a manual movement, which is generally less appealing to most people. The Artelier S instead uses the automatic Oris 733, based on the Swiss Sellita SW200-1, with a 38-hour power reserve at 28,800 vph. Of course, it’s on display through a sapphire caseback window and is fitted with Oris’ signature red rotor.

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When I shared a few of these shots with the internet ahead of publishing the review, the response was instant and unanimous: people really like this watch. Undoubtedly, that’s mostly due to it being a very elegant watch with few if any flaws, but I’m convinced that part of it was that the watch was from Oris. People were surprised to see such a simple, sophisticated watch from the brand that releases a new Aquis every other week. While I probably won’t be holding my breath, I am excited about the tiny possibility that the Oris Artelier S release signals a revival of the Artelier line, whether using in-house calibers or not. Here’s hoping. The Oris Artelier S is priced at $2,200 USD. For more information, please visit the brand’s website

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