Oris just released two colorful new Aquis Date dive watches with very special dials. As the Upcycle name suggests, each dial is made from recycled ocean plastics, and this process apparently results in these extremely colorful watches. This method is essentially random, which has the interesting consequence of making every single Oris Upcycle model a unique one-off creation. Each should retain a vaguely similar colorful appearance, but compared side by side, there should be no matches.
Oris is working with Tide Ocean Material, which scavenges errant plastics, particularly in the region of Southeast Asia, an area near and dear to my own heart. I personally noticed the distressingly common floating pieces of plastic debris while kayaking in the otherwise stunning Hạ Long Bay. Local fishermen, although in this case in Thailand (whereas I was in adjacent Vietnam) are trained and paid to collect these plastics, which are then cleaned and shredded to prepare for the next step.
The prepped plastics are then converted into a number of Tide Ocean Material products, including, intriguingly, yarn and filament. For our purposes, however, we’re interested in Tide granules, which are small plastic pellets that are essentially treated as a raw material for future products. Also of note is that Tide is a Swiss company, a, shall we say, interesting, choice for an entirely landlocked country, but I suppose that adds to the Swiss Made credentials nonetheless.
The result isn’t just that the wearer knows that they contributed to ocean conservation efforts, but rather a truly remarkable dial that I suspect will either be loved or hated by dive watch fans. Regardless of whether you choose the small or large version of this new Aquis Date you’ll receive a unique, truly one-off dial that is the direct consequence of the recycling method itself. The designs, if randomness can be said to be design, appear to all be very colorful and abstract.
This particular photo reveals a lot of interesting details, with the various colors interacting with one other in a way reminiscent of water. I also note that this particular dial has some glittering elements, which should prove to be visually intriguing. I think it looks really neat, almost like a hybrid of a Jackson Pollock painting and a tie-dye shirt, but I will admit that, not only is it divisive, it also detracts (I strongly suspect, anyway) from legibility. It is undeniably fun, however, and is definitely going to make a nice conversation piece.
The new watch comes in two sizes, which vary slightly in some design elements. The first we’ll look at is the larger 41.50mm model, AKA the 01 733 7766 4150-Set; probably best to just call it the larger Upcycle. With either model, however, you get a subtle ceramic bezel insert, which should fend off those almost inevitable bezel scratches.
The smaller (01 733 7770 4150-Set) 36.50mm differs not only in dimensions, but a few subtle design elements as well. Note, for instance, much sparser writing on the bezel and on the dial, and that the 6:00 hour marker has been removed to make room for the date. Otherwise, however, it’s pretty much identical to its larger sibling, recycled dial included. The $2,300 price is even the same. Interestingly, especially for something so exotic, both models appear to be full production, not limited editions.
These are wild and playful watches that showcase a particular interest in conservationism. I don’t think you need to be particularly into ocean conservation to like the Upcycle, but you do need a lighthearted attitude towards luxury watches, which likely means dropping the pretense associated with an ultra-serious dive watch capable of reaching the Mariana Trench. While the watches are functionally very capable, these are simply not going to be stylistic competitors to Submariners or Seamaster 300s, nor does Oris, I suspect, desire them to be. They already make watches for that, as does every other major watch brand in the world. While too colorful for my personal tastes, as a refreshing new addition to the altogether too serious and austere world of dive watches, I nonetheless welcome it.