Another year, another Oris Hölstein Edition. And another Aquis. For the fourth year running, Oris has released its annual Hölstein Edition, an opportunity for the brand to have a little fun (though I would’ve though the Kermit had scratched that itch). While previous years have seen them revisit the 90s, bronze a chronograph, and go gray with the pointer date, this year the brand has selected its Aquis diver for the limited treatment. While the Aquis has been subject to plenty of wild dials and limited editions, the Oris Hölstein Edition 2023 is very much doing its own thing.
If you know the Aquis, you know this case; nothing has been changed for the Oris Hölstein Edition 2023. In my experience, the 41.5mm stainless steel case is unexpectedly wearable, despite its chunky look. The rounded, downturned lugs have always been a favorite feature of mine, as has the sloped mid-case that expands as it approaches the wrist; both help with how the model appears on the wrist. The case features a screw-down crown and 300m water resistance. The bezel insert is listed as gray ceramic though the color almost seems taupe to me; it’s similar, if not identical, to the gray bezel seen on the Aquis with recycled plastic dials). The integrated bracelet features polished outer links and brushed center links to match the case’s finish. The bracelet now features Oris’ new quick-release mechanism, making strap changes much easier (though not expanding strap options).
The new Oris Hölstein Edition 2023 is immediately recognizable by its deep purple sunburst dial. The brand is transparent about this dial being a direct response to consumer demand: People have been asking for a purple dial, so Oris gave them one. (Perhaps the demand wasn’t so high as to make it a regular production model, though). Another change explicitly offered in response to customer requests: this is the first no-date Aquis ever produced (and hopefully the first of many). The remainder of the dial is Aquis as usual: Oris’ blocky alpha hour and minute hands, matching applied indices, and a lollipop seconds hand, all with a healthy dose of Super-LumiNova.
The Oris Hölstein Edition 2023 features the brand’s in-house Calibre 400 with its date function removed, marking the first Aquis without such a complication. (Surprisingly, Oris hasn’t renamed this no-date version, a common practice undertaken by no less than Rolex, Seiko, and La Joux-Perret, to name just a few.) The Calibre 400 runs within chronometer spec at -3/+5 seconds per day, with a tremendous 5-day power reserve at 28,800 vph. On top of that, it has a recommended service interval of 10 years and is paired with a 10-year warranty (that also applies to the rest of the watch) when the owner signs up for MyOris. The movement is concealed by a special screw-down caseback with a deep purple disc that features a graphic of Oris Bear jauntily scuba diving in a purple sweater. Because, per the brand, “Why not?”
The Oris Hölstein Edition 2023 is priced at $4,300 USD and it bears mentioning that this is a notable price jump for Aquis models with the Calibre 400. When the Calibre 400 was first introduced to the Aquis line in 2020, the watch was priced at $3,300 USD on bracelet. Last year, Oris released the 43.5mm Aquis Date Payoon Limited Edition with the Calibre 400, priced at $3,600 USD on bracelet. It’s hard to see how a dateless dial, a ceramic bezel, and a playful purple caseback can fully reconcile the almost 20% premium for the Oris Hölstein Edition 2023. While this year’s Hölstein Edition has undeniable appeal and deserves its plaudits, it also seems to be a harbinger for an Oris that will be charging more across the board with little apparent justification beyond having an in-house movement to which it’s imputed significant value. The Oris Hölstein Edition 2023 is available exclusively through Oris’ website and is limited to 250 pieces. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.