The agony of choice for a special purpose...

“The agony of choice”, a saying one can only use when in a privileged position. This has been the case with many things in my life, such as “where shall we eat out tonight?” or “what film shall we watch tonight?” but never has it been the situation when choosing a watch to mark a special occasion.

The Oris Aquis in this article is a watch I chose after weeks of constant pondering and research. The process started out fun and exciting, but getting to the final decision felt almost like a battle than an easy “that’s the watch” eureka moment. It all began when my wife and I were approaching a relationship milestone, we met at 16 and fell in love. 20 happy years later we thought it would be nice, and thoroughly appropriate to mark the occasion with a special gift to each other. A gift we would treasure for life. My wife made the decision to get an eternity ring, and I knew this was the perfect excuse to get my first expensive Swiss watch!

The Oris Aquis Diver - Image Credit: Dan Dodson

The research ensued from that point on. You can imagine setting yourself a decent budget, then realising how many choices you really have at that price point! This is where the agony of choice comes in. I wanted a Swiss dive watch from a brand with lots of history and preferably an independent company too, for a maximum price of £2,500. That’s a lot of cash for most people, especially for us too as 0% finance deals were the only way we could afford these gifts to each other.

This is where the process of elimination had to come in to assist with the choosing of this watch. The pressure of the decision grew because I knew I didn’t want to mess it up and get something that just works perfectly as a choice objectively but missed that special something that just clicks when you wear it. I really learnt that looking at dozens of pictures and reading countless reviews does not cover that last, and most crucial of factors to consider when researching and choosing this kind of object. You must try them on and see them up close.

So, with the possibilities in mind, we scheduled a day at Bluewater just the two of us. I could not relax; it was overwhelming shopping for something you never normally shop for. Pouring over the gorgeous watches in a store window had always been fantasy, but now it was for real.

To start with I thought I would rule out my least favourite watches in my shortlist first. A Tissot Sea Star Powermatic 80 was nice but was a little too shiny overall and the bracelet felt cheap. The Longines Hydro conquest was pretty, felt well made and was comfortable on the wrist, but the crown action felt fiddly and uncomfortable to me, so that was ruled out. Next up was the Rado Captain Cook, it looked great on paper and in pictures but just did not do it for me somehow. It was getting more serious now...

Three watches remained which I had narrowed it down to. A Tudor Black Bay, Oris Divers 65, and the Oris Aquis. I ended up ruling out the Tudor Black Bay 41mm case size (a grail watch) because it felt quite top-heavy and tall on my wrist. What a disappointment! I thought it would be more like a skin diver and would sit with more balance and subtlety on my wrist. So next out came the two Oris dive watches. A heritage model, the 65 model with the numbers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 on the tropic rubber strap. Alongside this beauty came the Oris Aquis.

The 65 really had the x-factor for me, as its looks just struck a chord. The domed sapphire crystal and retro design with the elegant skin diver proportions are gorgeous. I thought that was my decision made.

The Oris Aquis Diver - Image Credit: Dan Dodson

However, for some reason, a little thought popped into my head, and that was “is this vintage re-issue attraction just going to be a phase?”. Maybe contemporary design was the way forward, with a design that should not date and is made with slightly more modern materials (the ceramic bezel) and of a more robust design. That is the strange reason as to why I deduced the 65 was not the watch. I was worried about it getting scratches due to the polished case sides and aluminium bezel insert, alongside the possibility of future regret due to it looking too dated or being a fling.

Therefore, I went with my Oris Aquis in the end. I was being sensible at a time I could have been silly. I love this watch with its stunning build quality, brand history and pedigree, a genuine Swiss watch etc, but it just does not have that last 10% of x-factor the 65 does for me.

The Oris Aquis Diver - Image Credit: Dan Dodson

The Aquis has such a good specification at this part of the market. Not just the obvious points such as its Oris 733, base SW 200-1 movement, or the double-domed AR-coated sapphire glass, or the beautifully machined ceramic bezel insert. It has a gorgeous deep blue sunburst dial with highly polished hands and indices loaded with some of the best minty blue coloured BGW9 lume I have seen, it glows like a torch! It has tactile strengths by the bucket load, the crown is the perfect size to grip easily and it threads perfectly. The bezel has a wonderful precise 120 increment click that feels perfectly weighted and engineered. The bracelet is so beautifully made, with a milled clasp that clicks together like two pieces of Lego. All the finishing is perfect. The way everything lines up and looks like it was made with sickening attention to detail does not align with its relatively low price point of approximately £1,500.

A lot of money or course, but it looks and feels as good as the Tudor Black Bay. Even though the Oris is a larger case size at 43mm, it felt perfectly balanced and comfortable on my wrist.

The Oris Aquis Diver - Image Credit: Dan Dodson

So, although this is an incredible watch I do definitely adore, I know the bond with this piece will grow over time. Not possibly a quick fling that the Diver 65 may have been. I was thinking like the guy I am, about the long term. I have committed to a relationship not just with my wife, but somehow that mindset came with this symbolic purchase. I was thinking about building the relationship, and not just a fling. That is why this watch will grow with me, and I will always love it.

Click here to find out more about the Oris Aquis Diver.