While an increasing number of brands throughout the watch industry have been partnering with environmental conservation initiatives over the course of the past few years, few have made these efforts as central to their overall brand message as Oris. The independent marque has made efforts around the globe with various environmental partners, particularly focusing on marine and aquatic preservation efforts. 2020 has already seen Oris reunite with the Florida-based Coral Restoration Foundation to help protect the United States’ most important coral reef system, and for its latest release the brand has turned its conservation efforts eastward to South Korea. The Hangang River is the second longest and by far the most important waterway in South Korea, running through the capital of Seoul and providing water to over 10 million people.
Although the Hangang River provides a vital resource both for the people of Seoul and for the wealth of Korean wildlife, continuous pollution of the river for decades has jeopardized both the drinking water supply and the delicate ecosystem it supports. In order to combat this threat, Oris has partnered with the Seoul Korean Federation for Environmental Movements (or KFEM) to support the organization’s ongoing cleanup efforts. To commemorate this partnership, Oris has unveiled a unique limited edition Aquis celebrating the beauty of the Hangang River. The Oris Aquis Hangang Limited Edition combines a pair of distinctive complications with an emerald green colorway evoking the pristine riverfront.
The 43.5mm stainless steel case of the Oris Aquis Hangang Limited Edition (ref. 01 743 7734 4187) ought to be a familiar sight to those acquainted with Oris’ flagship diver, whose unorthodox dimensions keep it distinct from most of its competitors. The hefty case diameter is somewhat misleading, as the Aquis’ trademark short and narrow lugs with a pronounced downturn help the watch to wrap around the wrist remarkably well. That said, this is still a case with some noticeable visual heft, and the beefy crown guards combined with the vertical case sides ensure this is a design with commanding wrist presence. Like the standard Aquis, this new model boasts a solid 300 meters of water resistance but sets itself apart in two key areas. The first of these is the unidirectional dive bezel. The Hangang Limited Edition introduces a special ceramic insert to the usual design, rendered in a deep and muted hunter green that reads nearly black under indirect light. This more reserved tone adds a touch of contrast with the more saturated shades on the dial but maintains the green theme without feeling overpowering. The other unique element is the caseback, where Oris has added a deep etching displaying the course of the Hangang River from its source in the Taebaek Mountains to its mouth at the Yellow Sea.
Where the Oris Aquis Hangang Limited Edition really sets itself apart from its stablemates is the dial treatment. The rich emerald green sunburst finish is immediately arresting, and as green dials have emerged as one of 2020’s great watch trends this feels as fresh as it does handsome. The distinctive Aquis handset and brilliantly polished applied indices are carried over here from regular production models, but the Hangang’s dial features a pair of unorthodox complications. The unique cutout date ring cuts through the middle of the dial surface, providing a snailed visual contrast to the surrounding sunburst and displaying the date through a series of 31 individual windows. This works a bit like a pointer date in practice and has appeared on a handful of Aquis models before this point. The other complication is the minimal 9 o’clock small seconds subdial. Small seconds on divers can be a controversial proposition, as the shorter seconds hand can be difficult to spot as a reliable running indicator in actual underwater use. While the execution here is pared back, with markers at every 15 seconds and a double ended hand with a single lumed tip, the inclusion throws off an otherwise finely balanced visual weight across the dial. It’s a love it or hate it element that nevertheless starkly sets this apart from most other Aquis variants at a glance.
Inside the Oris Aquis Hangang Limited Edition beats the Sellita SW-220-1 based Oris 743 movement. Also appearing in the standard production Aquis Small Second, this dependable powerplant offers respectable, if unspectacular, performance statistics. Chief among these are a 38 hour power reserve and a smooth 28,800 bph beat rate.
Oris pairs the Aquis Hangang Limited Edition with its semi integrated three link Aquis bracelet. With solid, rounded links, a dive extension, and a sharp mix of finely brushed and polished surfaces, this oyster style bracelet is a solid companion to the unorthodox Aquis case geometry. With that said, that case geometry with its extremely thick and narrow-set lugs has always made the Aquis a difficult watch to source aftermarket straps for, so the options for visually branching out with the Hangang Limited Edition are somewhat limited.
With the Aquis Hangang Limited Edition, Oris continues to press forward with its efforts to save aquatic environments worldwide with a stunning new color palette. Only 2,000 examples of this limited edition model will be made. The Oris Aquis Hangang Limited Edition is available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $2,600. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.