My interest in this watch was originally piqued by seeing discussions about it on the internet and the multitude of reviews and comparisons. After trying on in real life I bought it almost straight away. It is a striking watch in person and certainly better than the pictures.
For a tiny bit of background, I am just a watch amateur and currently really enjoy the diving watch genre. My first Oris was a black Aquis Date which introduced me to the brand and was very impressive. The focus and heritage of Oris is interesting and is recognizable in their watch DNA more then with many brands which have a bland homogenous look. Its probably no coincidence its one of the few independent Swiss watch companies left.
Even compared to Oris’s Aquis and Diving range the Aquis Depth Gauge is something else entirely, and makes other watches I have used recently seem frail by comparison.
I was initially put off by the quoted 46mm size. I have a very small wrist, and although I like large watches, I felt the 44mm of the Breitling Colt Automatic was my limit. This is very interesting as the Depth Gauge doesn’t wear like a 46mm watch. I have seen this written before and cannot explain exactly why. It could be due to the case tapering inwards from the base, or the proportion of the bezel to the face, but it seems equivalent or smaller then the Breitling 44mm, more of a 43-44mm size. IMHO it looks nicer and better proportioned on my wrist.
It comes with both a stainless steel and rubber strap. The steel strap is not particularly heavy but the rubber one is very cool and its surprisingly smart with its very well made tang buckle with fine adjustments and safety catch.
The watch has a beautiful black reflective ceramic bezel with easy grip steel teeth on the side. The face is dark grey, beautifully offsetting the bezel black, with white hour markers and white inlay on the steel hands with a slightly fatter small hand, and yellow numerals for the depth gauge reading just between the outer bezel and the hour indicators on the face. In the sapphire crystal you can make out an light silver/grey ring running around the edge which is the depth gauge. This combination is quite unusual and look both serious and smart. The bezel has the classic quarter marks and 20-50 positions in a bold and crisp font, finished off with a triangle with circular lume pip at the 12 o’clock position.
The crystal is 50% thicker then normal to accommodate the depth gauge and is slightly domed to give a lovely integrated feel. The dial is easy to read and the contrast with the polished case makes the watch looks very classy. The oversize crown with subtle crown guards finish the face off perfectly and the screws on the side fitting the guard, together with proper screwed in strap pins, give the side view a quality industrial look.
The strap lugs are interesting in that they are not oversized and taper downwards. The result of this is that the watch is comfortable to wear, and looks well proportioned, even on small or medium wrists.
The extra depth this case has compared to a typical divers watch is noticeable and gives the watch a very serious engineering look, which many diving "look-a-like” watches can’t achieve, and if watches are measured in mass over cost you have a high value item indeed. Saying that it feels comfortable for me to wear all day and I feel the balance is right. It feels lighter then the Colt with metal strap overall albeit with the weight obviously concentrated more in the watch body itself.
The back is smooth, solid and slightly domed stainless steel, with a circular meter-to-feet scale engraved on it.
The Oris rubber strap is thick at the watch end but tapers slightly narrower towards the buckle. The feel is slightly soft and grippe on the surface but solid in the middle. The tang buckle is large and beautifully made. I seem to remember Breitling wanting £200 extra for this over the simple pinfit strap buckle, but with the Depth Gauge its included.
The overall effect of this extremely well designed watch is both classy and also purposeful. A real divers watch which can be worn by those who barely go below the surface of the water. Its elicits many unprompted positive comments from others, from those into watches and those who are not. This has become very quickly my absolute favorite watch and I use it for everything, from swimming through work and events and, hopefully,soon, holidays J
In this world of “me too” diving designs it stands out with the gravitas of a unique real “tool” watch with class which is instantly recognized as an Oris. Quite an achievement.
This photo is not one of mine but I like it ! (its at 13 meters and you can see the Depth Gauge reading):