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Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

As we look back on the biggest trends of 2017, the heritage movement might still be white-hot, but let’s not forget that some of the year’s most interesting watches have been unabashedly modern, with an aesthetic all their own. The Oris Aquis collection has long carried this distinction, and for 2017, enjoyed a slew of fresh updates to the founding design – the first set of updates since the indie Swiss brand introduced it in 2011. We recently had a chance to check out the newest addition to the Aquis family – the striking Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition – while on an early preview of Oris’ 2018 Baselworld offerings in Colorado.

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

All images by Ariel Adams

Now, if the name ‘Clipperton’ sounds familiar, you might remember we spent 16 days on this tiny, incredibly remote atoll in the Pacific (some 768 miles south of the Baja Peninsula, to be exact), attached to the Big Migrations II research expedition, which was partially underwritten by Oris. The mission’s aim was to conduct exhaustive surveys of the surrounding reef, study man’s impact through debris on the island, and tag sharks. Granted, though this particular expedition itself is complete, a portion of the proceeds of each purchase of the Clipperton Limited Edition will continue to support various ongoing research objectives around the atoll, while also helping raise general awareness, which will hopefully establish a more permanent protected migration corridor between the Baja Peninsula and Chile.

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

But back to the watch itself. As mentioned, the Aquis has matured nicely in its six years on the market – an age that’s reflected in the slightly more grown-up aesthetic updates to the 2017 editions. In keeping with the spirit of the Aquis as a versatile, capable, and purely modern sports watch, Oris focused its revisions around core elements like the dial and case, but kept its edits relatively light, and most readily apparent to a trained eye.

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Aquis is something of an anomaly in modern dive watch architecture, as its multi-piece stainless steel case construction and key design signatures are largely its own. However, its first generation was known for being somewhat visually heavy – a characteristic which the revisions seem to have been focused on reducing, while improving overall wearability. To get there, Oris put the case, crown guards, and bracelet on a strict diet, while deploying a slimmer new spear-shaped handset, along with a set of hour indices which are now beveled and sloped inwards towards the center of the dial, creating a thinner, lighter, and more lively wrist presence under the right light.

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The primary case measurement hasn’t changed – it still measures a fully modern 43.5mm, but all the edits enable the new variant to wear considerably easier – a full 30 grams lighter than the original, as a matter of fact. And while the proprietary lugs prevent traditional strap changes, their sharply downward-turned angle enables the watch to closely hug the wrist, wearing extremely comfortable despite its stout 50mm lug-to-lug width. Eagle-eyed owners or fans of the original Aquis might also note that the screws attaching the straps to the lugs on the new variants now use a ‘triwing’ tip, and are single-sided, meaning one no longer needs a third hand tool to remove or replace the strap (a boon for those who happen to own both the strap and the bracelet).

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Oris was wise to ensure the most key Aquis hallmarks remain: from the overall chunky silhouette and angular, outward-sloping ‘kettle’ shaped case, to the proprietary integrated horned lugs (love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re here to stay), and grippy bezel with ceramic insert. And thanks to the date window positioning at 6:00, the Aquis remains a markedly angular and nearly-symmetrical dive watch. The sum of these parts yields one of the few modern dive watch designs that’s not just highly versatile and comfortable on a wide variety of wrist sizes, it’s also markedly distinct even from a distance – and that’s a very good thing.

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The final indicator that the Aquis is finally growing a little more comfortable in its own skin is the wordmark on the dial – ‘Aquis’ has now earned its place at 6:00. The addition of this text has led to a slight restructure of the older text – gone is ‘Automatic’ and the accompanying underline beneath the main Oris wordmark at 12:00. The movement is still automatic though – Oris continues to fit many of its entry-level time and date watches with the 733 caliber (a slightly modified Sellita SW200), which grants the familiar 40-ish hours of power reserve across 28,800 (4Hz) vibrations per hour.

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Now, there has long been a standard blue gradient dial offering in the current Aquis collection, but a closer comparison to the Clipperton edition reveals that this particular hue of blue is more vibrant and dynamic, and is now applied in a special circular gradient, which is darker around the outer edges of the dial at the applied hourly indices and grows lighter towards the center of the dial. Of course, this is to mimic the visual cues found in ocean depths and their corresponding colors encircling a tiny spit of coral in the middle of the Pacific.

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Also unique to the Clipperton Edition is the caseback – while the standard Aquis offerings are all fitted with an exhibition caseback, this LE gets a special engraved motif of the island instead. It’s a very nice touch, and a slightly more literal interpretation of the dial, which reinforces just how small (barely three square miles!), and just how remote this spit of land in the vastness of the Pacific really is.

Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Limited to 2,000 pieces, the Oris Aquis Clipperton Edition comes in a special presentation box made with "regenerative algae," with a starting price of $2,000 on the rubber strap with its signature adjustable clasp, and jumps to $2,200 on the integrated bracelet.

About the Author

Zach is a writer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His appreciation for watches stems around their ability to inherently tell a story about their wearer, simultaneously representing both a journey, and a particular moment in time. As a genuine gear nerd with an affinity for large bodies of water, he loves getting his hands dirty, sweaty, or submerged with anything that’s been purpose-built for the task at hand.

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What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (47)
  • I want it! (22)
  • I love it! (18)
  • Interesting (13)
  • Classy (9)



Disqus Debug thread_id: 6329931311

  • Geez what a nice looking watch. So many details are nicely and thoughtfully done. I wish it was $500 cheaper but even as is, not too terribly priced. Unless you have a bespoke strap made, I guess you have to live with the bracelet or stock rubber strap, but that’s not too much of a pain point since the bracelet is well integrated and looks like the hot ticket for this watch.

    • BNABOD

      I think Grey you can get it for 1500 bucks in the non “LE” version. It is a nice watch. Oris has always been on my radar just for the reason they make a good product at a reasonable price but like many other have said having movements w much longer PR really should be the norm in 2018. Sadly this isn’t the case..

    • I can’t possibly overstate this enough – the new Aquis models are *extremely* well thought-out. I’m personally not crazy about the movement, but with an Eterna-based caliber or something with a little more modern tech and a longer power reserve, this would be one of the strongest dive watches on the market, bar-none.

      • Sure a longer power reserve would be nice, but it is an automatic – so either wear it or put it on a winder. As a tool watch, having a utterly reliable movement is essential and having the cost held down by using a volume produced movement seems like an acceptable trade-off. If this was a piece meant to provide “cred” with other watch collectors, then sure a 11x family movement would be nice. But I’m OK with this honest watch having the movement it does when all things are considered.

      • spiceballs

        Second this, with the new Eterna movement.

  • #The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    Beautifully made and beautifully photographed.
    Nice article Mr. Pina.

    • Happy new year D.

    • Thanks DBTW!

      • Good Gene 42K18

        That was a sweet ABTW-DBTW moment, by the way.

        • See? We we really all *can* get along 😉

          • Lincolnshire Poacher


    • spiceballs

      Agree, other than pix of lume and bracelet lock/catch would be welcome.

      • Noted – bracelet doesn’t have an adjustable clasp, oddly enough (just a double-pusher on each side of the clasp). The rubber strap is the one that has the really trick setup.

        • spiceballs

          Thx for that Zach.

  • bc_from_aus

    Hoping Oris will put their Calibre 111 in an Aquis soon.

    • Yeah, so long as they take care with the dial layout – this is a dive watch after all. But for sure the long power reserve would be welcome.

      • IG

        The absence of rotor is even more important.

        • On a dive watch with a solid case back, why would you really care – it is not an aesthetic issue in that case and having your watch keeping itself powered up is a good thing since you wouldn’t wind it underwater. So I think your usual preference for a hand winder should allow for a few exceptions. Cheers.

  • Tea Hound

    This watch doesn’t deserve to be photo’d this well.

  • Shinyitis

    Harmonious dial design, decent price, the value Monta OceanKing wanted to achieve.

    • Framlucasse

      The Monta have a much better caliber with a Cal. 39.

    • But the real difference here is that value and reputation are earned, and not bought. Oris has been putting in sweat equity for decades now, and what we’re looking at is the result of such. Monta could still get there, but it’s gonna take awhile, and they’re going to have to start over with their pricing structure.

      • Good Gene 42K18

        Yes, Monta’s swequity is not sweaty enough yet.

  • Framlucasse

    Quite a nice watch, a little too big for my taste. Its caliber is boriiiing. Enough with ETA, Sellita & clones.

    • SuperStrapper

      What would you prefer to see in watches at this price point. Realistically.

      Serious question.

  • John Mark Booc

    The word “Limited edition” nowadays is a misnomer, a pointless bragging rights.

  • Jon Heinz

    No comment here, but I shouldn’t have ever sold my Aquis Ti small seconds, black DLC. That is all.

  • SuperStrapper

    “Pressure resistant”

    Young Jeffery has landed his first job: sales associate at the firm. The pay was decent but the sales targets were aggressive and the company was adamant they were met. The pressure was immense. Little did the company know that Jeffery was one of the rare owners of an Oris Aquis Clipperton. He was resistant to pressure. The sales meetings were easy and Jeffrey met his targets without difficulty. Oris: pressure be damned.

  • Middle

    I want to see this regenerative algae box.

  • CognacSocialist

    Why is there a potato on the caseback?

    • IG

      Because it’s the favourite dish of Maximilian Oris, the legendary Swiss watchmaker.

    • Marius

      Because it’s a limited edition inspired by the Irish Potato Famine from 1845. Nevertheless, purchasing this watch is possible only if a) you are an Irish resident, and b) you can prove that you migrated to the United States (preferably Boston, and your current residence should be near the Fenway Park).

      • Naw, my Irish ancestors arrived in North Carolina in the mid 1700s (well before the famine or baseball). But taters! Mmmmm…..

      • Jon Heinz

        “Black Irish” I see.

  • JosephWelke

    Whole lotta watch for the money here, especially if you can get it for $1500. 43(.5!)mm is too big for me though. Sticking with my Diver’s Sixty-Five.

  • Yan Fin

    Nice diver, somewhat oversized and overpriced. Good article though.

  • PollyO

    I am a big fan of Oris. Both pilot and divers. Aesthetically right up my alley. But 38 hours reserve is rubbish. Put out something like 60 and I’m in. (Why jump all the way to 10 days on one model only?)

    • Roughly 40 hours of power reserve is still what “industry standard movements” such as the ETA 2824, Sellita SW 200, ETA 2892, ETA 7750, etc.all provide. Sadly, these movements which were designed decades ago have only occasionally been updated to have a longer power reserve – but with the ETA “Power 80” that was done by also lowering the frequency from 4 Hz to 3 Hz. The Oris caliber 110 (and follow-on calibers 111, 112 and 113) also run at 3 Hz, are large diameter (compared to an ETA 2824 or 2892) and are manual wind. And being in-house movements they don’t enjoy the volume cost structure of an ETA or Sellita movement. So, cost and form factor account for the leap from 38 hours to the over 60 hours you desire. And the ETA 80 hour movements are not generally available to non-Swatch Group companies. Cheers.

      • PollyO

        Good comment. Appreciate the info. I should have said that I would happily pay more for the extra hours. I really like Oris and I think their quality and designs would justify the extra cost the movement brings with it for some select models. They obviously know their market. It’s just a shame they cant get the financial numbers to work between the 40 hour and 10 day movement.

  • Agree, I think we’re due for some of Oris’ more interesting calibers to make their way to the Aquis, but I also think another hallmark of this collection has been its affordability. Maybe Basel ’18 will change that?

  • Ross Diljohn

    I have a soft spot for Oris I must admit. My first real watch was an Oris my mother bought me in the Eighties. Still have it.

    • Dan C

      Agree. Oris always seems to be treated like a b celebrity, but they offer a varied lineup of solid products at a great price point. Not embarrassed at all to say how much I like Oris’ offerings.

  • Ranchracer

    I like the look, but the proprietary lugs kill it for me. Not even the case made of algae will change my mind on this one. 😉

  • R Ramki

    Is there indication that the entire line up is getting revised with these changes for 2018 or is it limited to this particular model

    • The whole Aquis line was revised for 2017 – this is just one of the newest editions for the 2018 range, which now also features those updates (case, bracelet, dial, etc.).

  • It’s okay.. It’s okayyy… Not crazy about it

  • Larry Holmack

    It’s nice enough looking….but not my style. I have no need for yet another dive watch.

  • BobHoover Tiangco

    Not my style, but I do love their other designs like the Big Pilot and Divers 65. Great write up.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    Like the watch a lot. Thank you for the great write up.

  • Forever Great

    I bought an Oris Aquis and the stelita or whatever the movement is sucks monkey nuts. I have an earlier tt1 with the 7750 Vajlou movement and it keeps perfect time all the time, it’s beyond me why they went with these shit movements, I dunno, the watch looks great but there’s no shortages of good looking timepieces out there and for the price they could at least keep seiko quality time.

    • Ross Diljohn

      Thanks for the warning.

  • Nathan Likes Watches

    A bit more on the dressy side of dive watches… I really like the blue in the dial. The engraved caseback is also cool, a tough trade off for the exhibition caseback though.

  • Kuroji

    What’s the deal with the screwed-on crown guard? Is that an Oris thing?

    • Not really, Panerai’s gross looking crown protection system is also screwed on.