Hands On with the new Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400

It was just a few weeks ago that Oris announced one of their biggest feats yet, the Calibre 400. A movement made for real life. One made for everyday life and the challenges that come with that. Today we see the launch of the first timepiece to debut this revolutionary movement for the brand, the Oris Aquis Date. Arguably a watch just as durable as the movement, the Aquis has a long history with the brand for being purpose-built for both high performance and longevity. It is one of the most iconic and easily recognized watches from the brand, being celebrated by watch enthusiasts of all types so it made sense that Oris chose the Aquis to debut a movement that is equally legendary.

This isn’t any ordinary Aquis though. The Aquis Date Calibre 400 has several characteristics that will easily help it stand apart from the vast collection offered by the brand. Let’s start right at the dial where a stunning gradient blue dial and matching blue bezel gives us everything we’ve come to love about the Aquis line in terms of “wow factor”. The brand has integrated a larger date window onto the dial, but to balance it out you’ll find the date wheel in black (as opposed to the traditional white found in Aquis models), keeping the date from distracting against the beauty of the sunbrush dial finishing. Newly added to the dial and rightfully so, Oris boasts their 5 day power reserve immediately off the bat, and with good reason. It is incredibly rare that we find watches with longer than a 2 or 3 day reserve, and if so, they’re usually well over $5,000. But a watch made for the everyday, hard-working person needed to work just as hard to keep up. For the new Calibbre 400, Oris integrated a twin barrel system so that each mainspring would hold 2.5 days of reserve, totaling an impressive 120 hours. That’s definitely worth bragging about.

Flip the Aquis over and there it is, calibre 400 on full display (and we mean “full”). Known for using sapphire case backs on the Aquis line, this new model offers an exhibition that is larger than any other, giving its owner a complete view of the calibre 400 beating away inside. As if that weren’t enough, beauty meets function with a new patented Quick Change Strap Change system, designed so that anyone can adjust the appearance of the Aquis from bracelet to strap without the use of tools, the user jut simply pulls up on the flap underneath. Still water resistant to 300m, Oris is creating a new standard in their dive watch series.

The Details

Case: Multi-piece stainless steel case / unidirectional rotating bezel with ceramic insert / sapphire crystal domed on both sides, anti-reflective coating inside / steel screw-in security crown with crown protection
Size: 43.50 mm
Dial: Gradient blue / sunbrushed finish
Luminous Material: Hands and indices with Super-LumiNova®
Case Back: Stainless steel, screwed, see-through sapphire glass
Attachment: Black rubber strap or stainless steel metal bracelet, both with security folding
clasp with extension and Quick Strap Change
Water Resistance: 30 bar (300 m)

Movement: Oris Calibre 400 / winding automatic
Functions: Centre hands for hours, minutes and seconds, date window at 6 o’clock / date
corrector / fine timing device and stop-second
Accuracy: -3/+5 seconds a day (within COSC tolerances)
Extra Features: Highly anti-magnetic
Power Reserve: 120 hours

Price/ Warranty: $3,300 on rubber / $3,500 on bracelet / 10 year warranty

Thoughts On The Wrist

“Beastmode” is really the first thing that comes to mind after spending some time hands-on with the new Aquis Date Calibre 400. Everything about this watch is made for function, yet, it’s also beautiful at the same time. The Aquis was always a phenomenal collection, blending both tool watch engineering with everyday style and the addition of the Calibre 400 just magnifies that even more. It is a watch that you put on and know without a shadow of a doubt that it can take whatever life throws at you that day, with the added benefit of knowing the movement can handle the day too. Whether you see it or not, we surround ourselves with instruments, tools, and luxuries that wreck absolute havoc on our watches. Magnetism is a growing concern amongst the watch industry, and Oris has answered that by using non magnetic components so that we can also still enjoy the beauty of the movement through an exhibition case back (keep in mind the primary solution by brands is to place the movement in an iron cage, preventing the use of sapphire casebacks).

On the wrist, we’ll admit this isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. At 43.5mm, it sits quite largely on our 6.5 inch wrists. But it is still impressive to look at nonetheless. Gradient dials are an expertise of the brand and we see that here with this incredible blue color that reminds us of a beautiful day out on the ocean waters. And all of you OCD watch enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of relief at the fact that the blue ceramic bezel is the same shade of blue on the dial, creating a seamless and cohesive design.

Now let’s go ahead and get to the elephant in the room real quick, the price. At a bit over $1,000 more than current Aquis models we know there are going to be those who scoff at and question that, and it’s perfectly okay. Oris has made no indication that there will be a decrease in the production of current models, which means that there will still be dozens of options to choose from in regards to size, color, and now movement. For an in-house calibre, a price increase was expected and is reasonable considering all of the added benefits of a highly magnetic resistant movement, 5 day power reserve, and 10 year warranty. But let’s not forget about another big innovation that we see with the Calibre 400, a new rotor system reducing friction and the need for servicing as often. The new movement makes cost of ownership much more practical with double what most watch brands recommend as service intervals, 10 years! While there’s an understandable premium up front, the benefits justify the price.

Overall, it’s a stunning piece to launch what will become the brand’s iconic movement, a work horse movement in an equally hard working timepiece. And we look forward to seeing what collection and case sizes the Calibre 400 moves into next. For more information, visit the Oris website.

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2 thoughts on “Hands On with the new Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400

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  1. Wow that’s stunning, I’m sure down the road when they learn to trim some fat and make it smaller, there will be a sub 40mm version. This is just the beginning for them now. Great job nice review.

  2. So as luck would have it, I had the opportunity to participate last night in an Oris Zoom “sneak peak” of this new Aquis Date Calibre 400. When I learned during that presentation that my local AD (less than 2.5 miles away!) would have one, I blocked out some time this afternoon to stop by for a quick look. Like all Aquis models, it is a truly stunning piece. I especially love the color on this model, which in person comes across more “aqua blue” than the “blue blue” that comes across in most photos I’ve seen. Color reminds me more of one of their one whale or ocean special editions. The 43.5mm case also felt and looked perfect on my medium/large 7.5”/19cm wrist. The new movement looks fantastic in the larger, now sapphire crystal display back, and the quick release bracelet/strap is a welcome change. Aside from the display back and quick release feature, though, there is really nothing here visually to set this Aquis apart from any other. That is unfortunate and I think a missed opportunity for Oris. I get that changing a case design is actually a big deal, but surely they could have come up with something to set it apart in some way. They could have, for instance, changed the bezel numbers/markings in some way, or at least added lume to everything on the bezel. With the absolutely stunning, fully lumed bezels coming from Christopher Ward and others, this unchanged bezel seems a little, well, lazy. As does the fact that virtually nothing else has changed visually here. Taken by itself, it is a beautiful, well made piece. Still, for $1,300 more than a normal Aquis Date, one could get another really nice watch from any number of brands. So this new Aquis is not something I can justify for myself, but I’m sure a lot of purists out there will gladly plunk down the $3,500 for it. As an aside, when I visited my friendly neighborhood AD to check out this new model, they had a lot more Oris models in stock than when I was there last a few months ago. One of them was the Oris Big Crown Propilot X Caliber 115 on the bracelet. First time I had seen one in person since it was released almost a year ago. It is breathtaking—I freaking love the modern, high tech, yet classy design of this Propilot X. And even at 44mm, it felt great and fit my wrist perfectly. I’m not even a huge skeleton watch fan, but the Propilot X just became my favorite Oris by a mile. Clearly, I need to buy more lotto tickets.

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