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Oris Carysfort Reef Limited Edition

Oris has introduced an impressive series of limited edition dive watches over the years, many of which incorporate a philanthropic cause into their finely engineered designs. The just-introduced Lake Baikal Limited Edition, for example, was created in partnership with the Lake Baikal Foundation to help raise funds to conserve the world’s deepest freshwater lake. 

Oris last week carried on its environmental fund-raising by introducing the Carysfort Reef Limited Edition, a significant new watch on two fronts: in its composition—it is the company’s first Aquis model in solid gold—and in its mission to help support the Coral Restoration Foundation, with which Oris has been working since 2014.

Based on the Oris Aquis GMT, the Carysfort Reef Limited Edition comprises just fifty pieces, each with a blue dial and SuperLuminova-filled hour markers and hands. The self-winding Oris 798 (base SW 330-1) movement that powers the watch offers hours, minutes, seconds, 24 hours and date, with a power reserve of forty-two hours.

Oris Carysfort Reef Limited Edition

The watch’s 43.5mm yellow gold case provides water resistance to 300 meters and features an 18-karat security crown and a bi-color rotating bezel. The caseback has a sapphire crystal inlay decorated with a Carysfort Reef motif and the number of the watch within the edition. 

The watch’s namesake, Carysfort Reef, is in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary near Key Largo, and it is part of the Florida Reef Tract—the third largest barrier reef in the world and the only barrier reef in the U.S. Since 2014 the Coral Restoration Foundation has been working to restore the reef, which has severely degraded over recent decades. The foundation has made great strides, this year aiming to return 30,000 corals to the reef—up from 25,000 last year.

And this is where the Oris Carysfort Reef Limited edition steps in. Oris is donating three watches to the cause, slated for auction over the next few months, and the funds raised will go directly to supporting the foundation’s work.

The watch, available in April, is fitted on a blue rubber-coated leather strap with an 18-karat gold pin buckle. Price: $19,000.

The latest Oris Diver Sixty-Five chronograph is big, bold, two-register, black and gold monster with a standout sapphire domed crystal.  

This vintage-inspired chronograph, which debuted in mid-2019,  grabs you with its striking black, glossy dial that’s framed with a bronze-edged bezel and gilt applied markers. It loudly says, “Read me. I don’t care if you’re under water or not.”

The brown leather strap (also in a steel bracelet) is comfortable on my loaner with exceptional legibility and super-functional features. Despite the 100 meter water resistance, this bad boy probably will not get wrapped around dive suit.  More than likely, it will time the heck out of a hamburger on a grill.

The watch’s bronze bezel trim is a nod to the highly successful limited edition Carl Brashear Chronograph in bronze which came out a couple of years ago. (Good luck finding one, along with the other limited edition versions Oris has launched recently.)

So what’s not to like?

Design and Finish
I think the downside of this watch includes the size and height and then the very thing that makes this so easy to see. I’m not a fan of gilt. I said it.  It’s me, not you. I don’t doubt their popularity, and I always take a second look at these. I’m just less formal.  My day-to-day watches are low key, usually vintage and don’t attract much attention.  

Don’t get me wrong, Oris isn’t flaunting the gold on this and uses a subtle edge of bronze around the bezel to contrast with the white 60-minutes ring on the black aluminum insert. Even now, in the low light of my laptop, I can see the time, the applied markers and the bezel’s 60 markers. There’s some play in the bezel on the model I have, but it’s not a deal breaker for me.  Still, someone looking at this watch may want to consider how tight they like the action in their bezel. 

Likewise the chronograph function on a diver seems out of sorts. The signed crown is a screw down crown and that always makes sense, so I think the absence of the screw down pushers is more about its design than function. 

From what I know around my dives at the public pool with my kids, this isn’t really a function I need unless I’m timing the life guard’s rest period.  

These are functional and aesthetical compromises, and I think it makes sense if you’re not a die-hard diver.  

Innovation
Innovation usually focuses on a brand’s ability to refine and improve a movement, new case materials, longer reserve time or design.  I think expanding a legacy model to the 21st Century is another way Oris innovates. 

It’s a clever diversification from the successful Sixty-Five diver.  Oris launched the line in 2015 and it keeps showing up with a new dial, case metal, case size options and limited editions. 

Legibility
The legibility of the watch is its dominant aspect. In low light, bright light and even at various angles, it reveals the time easily. The dial and the hands shine clearly through. The hour and minutes hands use SuperlumiNova Light Old Radium for luminescence in the dark. The chronograph hand is gold and has the right color and reflective contrast between the base during other times.

The 43mm case diameter shows off the rose-gold PVD-plated hour, minute and second hands and the hands filled with SuperlumiNova indices make them pop.

The vintage chronograph pushers and retro layout direct the wearer to a deep glossy black dial with two flat-black registers. The minutes counter is at nine and the 30-minute counter at three. Each is read by a stark white hand and a gilt base that offers an exceptional view into the function. 

Hold the watch to the light and you’ll appreciate the antireflective coating on the domed sapphire crystal. The curved sapphire dome offers a clear view heads on, but in any curved crystal, you can sacrifice legibility for design aesthetics, even though this crystal shape is worth it.  

Oris helped this curve with the antireflective coating on both sides of the crystal. What you might lose on the curved crystal (I will always love this despite it) you make it up with the dial size and gilted markers.  The dual-side coating offers clarity at almost any angle. 

Rarity and Value
Heritage lines are becoming very common in brands that can reach back in their archives. Oris did this very well on the first model of the Sixty-Five and continues with that success.

There aren’t many watches like this one to compare it to, although the use of gilt accents is a design element we’re seeing more frequently.  The gold or bronze accents aren’t unique but are well suited to sit next to other chronograph divers at a competitive price (for instance, alongside the recent Tudor Black Bay model.) 

Under all the bling, the Oris 771 movement, built from a Sellita SW 510 base, offers an automatic winding with a 48-hour reserve.  Its screw down crown offers water resistance and allows hand winding. 

 The design, comfortable brown leather strap with stainless steel buckle is a good version for land-lovers who want the functions and brand. Of course, Oris also offers a stainless-steel bracelet with folding clasp. 

Priced at $4,000 (leather strap) and $4,250 (steel bracelet), the Diver Sixty-Five chronograph shows that Oris continues to find the balance between design, function and value.


Specifications:

  • Reference number: 01 771 7744 4354
  • Movement: Oris 771, base SW 510
  • Case & Bezel: Multi-piece stainless steel and bronze uni-directional rotating diver’s bezel with an aluminum insert
  • Case Back: Stainless steel, screwed
  • Crown: Stainless steel screw-in security crown and pushers 
  • Crystal: Sapphire, domed on both sides, anti-reflective coating inside
  • Water resistance: 10 bar/100 m
  • Dial: Retro bi-compax dial layout with a black, curved dial and applied rose gold PVD plated indices and hour, minute and seconds hands
  • Hands: Applied Indices and hands are filled with SuperLumiNova® Light Old Radium
  • Bracelet: Brown leather strap with stainless steel buckle or stainless-steel bracelet with folding clasp
  • Dimensions: 43 mm and lug width 21 mm.