Oris are well known for their professional-grade divers’ watches and the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge is Oris’s first dive watch to feature a capillary-style depth gauge. Whats more it is a world first in that its the first divers watch which measures depth by allowing water to enter the timepiece.
Oris Aquis Depth Gauge – Dial
The Oris Aquis Depth Gauge has an attractive matte black dial helping to maximize readability, it has a slight texture to it. To help eliminate distortion at extreme angles the crystal is a double curved sapphire. A single curved sapphire, often found in cheaper watches will completely obscure the dial at tight angles, the crystal also has an anti-reflective coating on both sides. Although a single coating underneath the glass can be tougher, a double sided coating is probably better for black dials since they tend to reflect more light than lighter coloured ones.
Personally I would have preferred chunkier hands rather than the curved style ones Oris have opted for, however they are perfectly functional being nice and legible. The hour hand is also significanly thicker than the minute hand in order to be legible when underneath it.
The depth gauge is indicated not through the use of hands but uses a printed scale. The yellow numbers surrounding the dial are the meter marks that show the depth. Just before the 12 o’clock mark is a small semi-circular indentation which is where water is allowed to enter the watch. The crystal on the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge is actually 50% thicker than usual due to its unique depth guage.
The Oris Aquis Depth Gauge is a patented system that differs from other watches with depth gauges such as those by JLC or IWC in that there is no inertia in the system, this means there isn’t a delay in displaying the actual, accurate depth information. It works as follows.
There is channel on the inside of the crystal that runs until in between the 1 and 2 o’clock position. The hole at the 12 o’clock position leads into this – a rubber gasket seals the connection between the case and the crystal.
The surrounding water pressure compresses the air inside the channel as the diver descends and through the hole at 12 o’clock water is allowed to enter in. To discriminate between water and compressed air the edge of the channel changes from light gray to dark gray and as the diver descends (or ascends) the depth in meters is indicated on the yellow scale. The system follows the principals of Boyles law which states that if the volume of a gas is decreased, the pressure increases proportionally.
Given that this is a serious dive watch the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge features a strong lume, using Superluminova BG W9 to provide a bright blue glow making the hands and dial’s indices very distinguishable for reading in the dark and in the dark watery depths to which this watch is rated to descend to. The lume for the hour hand is substantially thicker than the minute hands and also segmented to help discriminate it from the other. The second hand is represented by a dot of lume.
Oris Aquis Depth Gauge – Case
This is by no means a slender watch measuring an imposing 46mm in diameter with a thickness needed for its special depth gauge , but it appears to be well proportioned. Its brushed finish adds to the tool watch look and helps hide scratches as well as helping the touching up of them. To increase grip and aid unscrewing the crown uses a bold shape, it is signed and the crown guard helps to contribute to the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge’s tool watch appearance.
There is no view of the SW200 movement since the screw down case back is solid. It has a meters to feet conversion chart so you can make quick calculations if you’re international diver. Its stainless steel case is water resistant rated to 500m and other professional dive watch features include a unidirectional rotating bezel with a minute scale on a black ceramic inlay.
The Oris Aquis Depth Gauge comes on a rubber strap as well as including a a replacement metal bracelet. The folding clasp is easily adjustable and has an “anchor” safety feature which prevents the watch from falling off your wrist.
Oris Aquis Depth Gauge – Movement
Powering the central hours, minutes and seconds and the date display at 6 o’clock is the automatic Oris Caliber 733, which is based on a Sellita SW 200. As other automatic movements used in Oris models it features a red rotor.
Oris Aquis Depth Gauge – Conclusion and Price
Not just a run of the mill dive watch with a depth gauge added on the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge is a specialist dive watch with a lot of high quality features usually found in dive watches in a higher price bracket. While most professional divers these days will more than likely rely on electronic depth gauges the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge does provide a mechanical back up at a reasonable price point as well as being a rugged timepiece for daily use with attractive dive watch aesthetics. The Oris Aquis Depth Gauge retails for $4000. And if you need more, you’ll find below a nice Video Review from FriendsOfOris :