Perhaps no other figure in Chinese mythology and folklore is better known on the global stage than Sun Wukong, the mischievous and heroic Monkey King from the 16th century novel “Journey to the West.” Over the centuries, Sun Wukong has spawned countless adaptations and inspired other works around the world, ranging from stage plays to films and even video games. Oris has dedicated its latest release to celebrating both Sun Wukong and one of the most famous adaptations of his story – 1961’s “The Monkey King: Uproar in Heaven,” with a unique graphical treatment meant to capture the dynamic look of Sun Wukong’s magical spinning staff. Developed in partnership with Shanghai Animation Film Studio Co., the producers of the original animated film, the new Oris Sun Wukong Limited Edition aims to bring to life one of the most memorable personalities in Chinese myth with a clean and playful twist on the brand’s cornerstone Aquis design.
The 41.5mm stainless steel case of the Oris Sun Wukong Limited Edition is shared almost entirely with the current Aquis line, but features a handful of unique touches. The Aquis line’s signature downturned semi-integrated lugs and tightly packaged case sides should make this new model wear smaller than the numbers may suggest, and the deep oceanic blue of the ceramic bezel insert gives the design a sense of depth and refinement in images. Oris moves this design away from the familiar with its solid caseback, which features a detailed engraving of Sun Wukong’s face as he appears in “The Monkey King: Uproar in Heaven” along with a limited edition serial number. Like the standard Aquis, the Sun Wukong Limited Edition is rated for a robust 300 meters of water resistance.
The dial of the Oris Sun Wukong Limited Edition is a bright and stylish departure from the standard model, meant to evoke Sun Wukong’s signature red and gold magic staff as it twirls in battle. The red and yellow stick seconds hand is the crux of this effect, but Oris continues the motif on the navy blue dial surface itself with a radiating abstract printed pattern. Featuring a gradient from vibrant sky blue to a muted deep purple with wide and narrow line segments, this design is meant to give the dial a sense of blurred motion, but also imbues the dial with a sense of offbeat midcentury charm in images. Outside of the seconds hand and dial pattern, this is functionally identical to the standard Aquis, with the line’s signature blunted applied indices and modernist rounded alpha handset.
Oris opts to use the Sellita SW200-1 based Oris 733 automatic movement for the Sun Wukong Limited Edition. At a time when much of the brand’s lineup is rapidly moving towards more modern in-house movements, the 38 hour power reserve and 28,800 bph beat rate of the Oris 733 feels more than a little long in the tooth. To complete the look, Oris pairs the Sun Wukong Limited Edition with its signature tapering semi-integrated oyster style bracelet in stainless steel. The broad center links and brightly polished outer links of this design give it a markedly different character from most similar designs in images, and add a much-needed sense of flash to the overall package.
Although the Chinese mythological inspiration may struggle to connect with some Western enthusiasts, the simplicity and brightness of its execution should give the limited edition Oris Sun Wukong Limited Edition an appeal to Monkey King fans and the uninitiated alike. Only 2,000 examples of the Oris Sun Wukong Limited Edition will be made, and the watch is available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $2,600. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.