The Oris stand was buzzing at Baselworld 2019. The brand’s high-performance dive watches were the stars of the show with a surprising and very cool iteration of the Sixty-Five in a retro two-tone bronze and steel case and bracelet, and two Aquis limited edition models dedicated to ocean environmental projects, the Aquis Clean Ocean and the Aquis Great Barrier Reef III. Fleshing out the Aquis collection with a relevant and practical function for globetrotters, the brand presented its Aquis Diver GMT Date.
Diving into three different time-zones
This is the first Aquis model fitted with a GMT complication. Assuming that most dive watches are bought for aesthetic reasons, and rarely get used beyond the odd dip in the pool, brands can get away with unusual combinations of complications that no professional diver would dream of using in the abyss. To date, the robust, water-resistant Aquis has received a host of additional functions, some of them like the chronograph and day/date models clearly conceived for life on dry land.
The 2019 Oris Aquis GMT Date goes one-step further and offers travellers three distinct time-zone readings. Local time can be set using the standard hour hand, home time using the GMT hand with the yellow tip, and a third time-zone using the bidirectional GMT bezel in combination with the GMT hand. There is also a date window at 3 o’clock.
Black and blue
Benefitting from the 2017 facelift of the Aquis Date, the GMT Date model comes in a sturdy 43.5mm diameter case that is water-resistant to 300 metres. The big change regards the black ceramic insert on the bezel that now bears a 24-hour track for the third GMT reading. Exchanging the 60-minute scale for a 24-hour bezel, coupled with the predominantly black and blue colour scheme might remind you of another watch that was released during Baselworld 2019 – the Rolex GMT-Master II, aka Batman.
The sunburst blue dial is very attractive and extremely easy to read. The large thick applied indices and rhodium-plated hands are all treated with Super-LumiNova and stand out really well against the blue dial. The 24-hour track on the dial is slightly recessed and snailed giving the watch more depth while the arrow-shaped GMT hand is outlined in yellow for heightened visibility. Given the practical travel vocation of this watch, a date window is not superfluous. The models we had for the hands-on session came with a blue rubber strap and a steel bracelet although the watch can also be bought with brown leather or black rubber options, all fitted with extending folding clasps to fit over a wetsuit.
Powering the Oris Aquis GMT Date is the automatic calibre 798, based on a Sellita SW 330-1. This outsourced movement has a 42-hour power reserve and beats at 4Hz. As always with such movements, it is a simple GMT complication, as the additional time-zone is set by one-hour increments, and not the local time (as with a Rolex GMT-Master II, for instance). The movement and its hallmark red rotor are visible through a sapphire caseback.
Sporty good looks, a crisp blue legible dial and a choice of four different straps, the Oris Aquis GMT Date is a rugged, reliable and practical travel companion that won’t mind accompanying you on a scuba-diving holiday to Seychelles. I guess the one thing that I might have ‘sacrificed’ in the name of the watch’s dive origins is the third time-zone on the bezel. I would have preferred to maintain the classic 60-minute dive bezel that is an integral part of the personality of any dive watch. The power reserve is also on the short side (but that’s common with the ETA/Sellita movements) but overall the watch packs a punch and offers plenty of useful functions at a relatively decent price.
The Oris Aquis GMT Date retails for EUR 2,300 on leather or rubber strap and EUR 2,500 on steel bracelet. It is now available at retailers. More details at oris.ch.