Okay, here we have yet another cool diver. The 2013 Oris Aquis Small Seconds DLC sports that masculine, easily recognizable design with the signature donut-shaped body, massive hour and minute hands, as well as the luminous hour markers that look kinda like flattened hollow point bullets.
Based on their fairly fresh Aquis Titan, the new collection features the same design, but has its lightweight titanium body treated with DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) process. Although not completely invulnerable, the DLC coating still makes the soft alloy virtually scratch-proof, or, at least, a great deal harder than a much less expensive PVD treatment.
The device is said to be animated by Oris 739 self-winding caliber. Based on the Sellita SW260 (the mechanism is popular among watchmakers who want to create a device with an off-centered second indicator and a simple calendar), the movement gives you everything that you can expect from a watch in this price range: high reliability, acceptable accuracy, and a satisfying power reserve of standard 38 hours
Like many “extreme” divers (this model is rated for an impressive 500 meters of water resistance), the Aquis Small Seconds DLC comes in a large body that is matched by large elements of the case, those including large crown guards, massive lugs and huge setting crown.
Measuring impressive 46 millimeters in diameter, it is designed for the people who succumbed to the recent fad of muscular, XXL-sized timekeepers and want something substantial to hug their wrists. As usual with this sort of beast, the thing is not only wide but is also tall, which makes it a bit more difficult to wear with something dressier than a polo or a sweater, depending on the season. Another thing is that trying to make the setting crown look better proportionate to the body, Oris designers had to make not only larger but also longer, which means that, for those people who like to wear their timepieces closer to their palms, the crown may be a bit uncomfortable.
Another problematic area when it comes to the exterior design is the shape and size of the lugs. Although they look cool falling organically into the overall appearance, they are designed for non-standard straps and bracelets and will severely limit your choice of these accessories when the original black rubber band will either start falling apart or if you find yourself tired with it and start wanting something new. Well, in this case, no NATO straps for you. Nor a third-party strap, be it textile, leather, or even a bracelet besides the proprietary ones from Oris, for that matters. I think you should factor this into the device’s otherwise relatively affordable price.
Still, you don’t have to be a former California governor to wear this timepiece and not look stupid. First of all, it is lightweight thanks to the extensive use of titanium here. Also, thanks to its relatively short, anatomically curved lugs, the watch doesn’t take too much real estate on your wrist. Well, trying this huge timekeeper before ordering it online would still be a good idea.
The watch retails for approximately €2000 (some $2700 USD, give or take).
Although the price is definitely not particularly affordable (and possibly a bit intimidating if you are on the market for your very first Swiss watch), you should take into that, for example, a similarly styled (albeit considerably smaller) Perrelet Seacraft has an MSRP of close to $3500. In fact, this new addition to their line-up looks like one of the most reasonably priced offerings among so-called ‘refined’ divers. If you want a dressy, nicely styled diving timepiece from a serious manufacturer, which is also brand spanking new and sells at around $2000 at an online shop, this Aquis Small Seconds DLC is possibly as far as you can get without feeling ripped-off.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Oris Aquis Small Seconds DLC specification
Movement: Automatic, Oris 739 (base caliber Sellita SW260), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 31
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
Case: Titanium, black DLC coated
Bezel: Black brushed ceramic inlay
Size: 46.00 mm
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 500 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap with blacked-out clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides