[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]t is here. This is the unveiling. The first watch to get the newly announced Oris in-house Calibre 400 is the Oris Aquis Calibre 400, which is quite aptly named. A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have this watch and a sample movement encased in plastic sent for a first look and review, and while I only had it in hand long enough for photography and to record the video, I can say I am not only impressed with the new in-house movement and the price, but also the Aquis itself. Now, the big news here is the movement, and the watch itself has not changed from previous iterations, except for the bracelet, which I will discuss in this article of course. But at $3,500 for one of Oris’s most popular watches with a movement that has a true 5-day power reserve, well, that is something.
Most of you reading this have probably seen the press release or the posts on social media from Oris and others about the Calibre 400. I posted a photo on our Instagram page as well. The movement is all-new, designed by Oris and of course, the big takeaway is the 5-day power reserve. I could go ahead and copy a lot of information from Oris’s website, or I can just link to it HERE, where you can find all the information you need and want on this new movement. For those that do not want to navigate away, here is what you need to know-It has a power reserve for 5 days, it has a 10-year warranty and 10 years recommended service intervals, a new slide bearing system for rotor attachment, and is extremely anti-magnetic. One question I received a few times is if this movement was COSC certified. At this time, and at least for this Oris Aquis Calibre 400, it is not, but Oris may release future models with that certification but expect the price to go up if they do.
Before I get into the review of the Oris Aquis Calibre 400, let’s discuss what this means for the rest of the watch industry. Oris has a new tag line- “The New Standard’. It’s even at the top of their website right now. It is in part a marketing tag line, but think about it, how will this affect the industry and other watch brands moving forward? I review a lot of microbrand watches here, who mostly use the same movements over and over. Even brands like Oris have been heavily reliant on the Sellita series of movements, most notably the SW200. Oris was one of the early adopters of the SW movements, switching from ETA. We have seen in-house movements from other brands, countless brands make their movements, but they are usually in much more expensive watches. Don’t be fooled by many brands that list their movements as their own either -there’s a lot of them that list a movement with a caliber number but it is nothing more than a stock movement with a custom rotor, and they somehow get away with renaming it to make it sound like something proprietary.
Oris Calibre 400 known playfully as “ORIS BEAR”, illustrated here by Scottish Watches.
Oris didn’t make this new movement overnight, years of research and engineering have gone into this, and as such, a lot of capital. Oris is a relatively big company though, so they knew what they were doing and decided they could take the risk. Tudor is another company that has its own movements, but we are talking sister brand to Rolex here. So, where am I going with all of this? Well, this new Aquis is $3500, with a new in-house movement and a new bracelet. It is not inexpensive by any means and the pandemic has made everyone take a look at their finances and priorities, but looking out there in the rest of the marketplace, the number of brands at this price point legit making their movements let alone movements of this caliber, are pretty slim. Take a look at most of the Breitling watches at this price, you’ll see what I mean. Bottom line, this is going to force other companies to step up or fall to the wayside. At the very least, other brands may have to rethink their very high pricing strategies for watches that use off the shelf movements with little to no modifications.
So, back to the Oris Aquis Calibre 400. What do you get besides a great look at the movement in this new watch? Well, you get a new bracelet, or more specifically, a new way to remove the bracelet. Now, I am not trying to downplay it, and I will talk more about it here in a minute, but I won’t lie, I was hoping there was going to be a little more done to the Aquis for this release. This is the first watch to get this brand new movement, the very first watch. Since Oris is by no means a new company, I thought they could maybe take a little risk, but they decided to play it safe and gave us the same Oris Aquis we know and love. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, and I am sure we will see limited editions and such down the road, but when you put this watch on the wrist, there is no indication that it is any different than the Ocean Clean model that this Aquis is highly inspired by, except for the red pip outline and the size. This 400 looks just like any other standard Aquis-there isn’t even an indication on the dial at all that this is a first edition or anything. *EDIT It does say 5 days on the dial, which I seemed to overlook, but somehow it gets lost in all that text.
Now, I am sure there are many reasons for that. Maybe Oris has plans for some different versions in the future, maybe they didn’t want to radically depart from what works for this first release. I don’t know. I was just hoping for a new colorway or just some indication this is not your SW200 Oris, and that it is something new, exciting, and very different. So, all that said, what do I think of this new release? Well, beyond the movement, which I didn’t have time to test in the limited time I had with it, it’s an Aquis. I reviewed one a few months ago here actually, the 39.5mm version, and my opinion has not changed. It is a great watch, with a great and unique design, but I’m still not in love with all the high polish. Lots of people love the finish on these watches, which is clear by the sheer number of watches produced and sold, but I would prefer an all brushed model or the very least, only subtle amounts of polish on certain areas.
Getting to the bracelet, it isn’t all-new, but it is refreshed if you will, and another look to the future of watch bracelets and straps and how we mount them. Previously, the only way you could remove an Oris strap or bracelet from the watch was with a proprietary tool used to remove the screw-bars. With the Oris Aquis Cailbre 400, the first Aquis to get this new system, you can remove the bracelet and put on a rubber strap (sold separately), with no tools. I demonstrate this in the video, so rather than explaining in detail here, I will just direct you to the top of the page to check that out. I love this new system and it is definitely the best incarnation of a quick-change strap system I have seen to date, I just hope that Oris will have special packages available where you can purchase the watch with bracelet and rubber strap, or maybe even give you one for free as a special promotion. Maybe they have that planned, but as far as I know, for now, they are offered separately, and the rubber strap version will be priced at $3,300.
I love what Oris has accomplished here, and I hope to get more hands-on with either this watch or the next watch to use this movement, at least a couple of weeks, and if I do, I will do a follow-up video on our YouTube channel. That is the one downside to getting a new release ahead of the debut, you usually do not have a lot of time with it. Sure, I could read a lot of specs and quote the press release, but I prefer to give my real feedback from actual use. If you want to see how this movement in the Oris Aquis Calibre 400 stacks up from real-world use, let me know in the comment section. For now, I am excited about the future releases with this movement, and also wondering what variations there will be-such such as GMT complications or more. I am also looking forward to what new changes the Oris Aquis will get in the future if any. Either way, this is a very exciting time for Oris, and for us watch enthusiasts.
I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.
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