Oris Aquis Small Seconds DLC
I always find it interesting to see how form versus function balance out in the design of a black-cased timepiece. On one end of the spectrum are the "form" watches such as the Bell & Ross Phantom. These watches sacrifice readability for the "black-out" design as they blend markers, dial and case so well that they are true "stealth" pieces and almost impossible to read. In contrast, some manufacturers prioritize function making their black-cased watches incredibly legible and use them as an opportunity to have "pop". I tend to prefer this later style of black watch and this year’s Aquis Small Seconds DLC is a great example of this aesthetic.
The new Aquis Small Second 46mm on a black rubber strap
Comparison shot with the an Aquis Small Second on a titanium bracelet
The basic case design of the Aquis DLC is not new but is an adaptation. The stylistic base is the identically cased 46mm "Aquis Small Second" with a black dial. Indeed, the markers, lume, and matted ceramic bezel are taken directly from this pre-existing model. What makes it different is that the titanium case is coated in DLC, and the case-back, clasp, crown guards, helium valve, date-wheel, and case screws are all also black. The only parts that aren’t black are the key markings required to quickly read the watch.
Mechanically, the watch is essentially the same Selita based calibre as the older Aquis Small Second models, although there is a slight difference. Whereas the older Aquis model put the small second hand at nine o'clock, the date at six o'clock, and some writing on the dial at three o'clock, the DLC model places all of these features in the six o'clock subdial. The result is an even cleaner dial.
The calibre 739 places the date and small second subdial in the six-o'clock subdial. The configuration of the subdial and date is the main mechanical difference between this model and the other Aquis small seconds.
Though the case has a DLC coating it has the same thickness and construction as the standard titanium model.
Like the earlier titanium colored models, the new Aquis DLC contains all the elements of a professional grade dive watch. It has the helium escape valve, screw down crown, 500m of water resistance, a uni-directional bezel, and bright lume on the hands, markers, and bezel. The black clasp retains full functionality and has a slider for easy adjustments that are needed due to weather changes or the presence of a wet-suit.. At 46mm it is certainly a statement piece, and ideal for those who want a large look. At $2,650 it is around $200 more than the titanium bracelet model, and $400 more than the non-DLC rubber strap model.
The matted ceramic bezel with high luminous markers.
Details such as the crown, screws, and crown guards are all black
the clasp is identical to the titanium model, except it is coated black.