First off, the Aquis has great build quality and finish. The watch feels substantial in the hand and features 300m of water resistance. Furthermore, the transitions from polished surfaces to brushed are razor sharp. The head of the watch feels extremely solid with crown guards that are screwed onto it, which for me is a purposeful nod towards the longevity of the case. The bezel and its ceramic insert feel great to use with its snappy ratcheting feedback. Every set of links on the integrated bracelet features polished outer links and full articulation, contributing to a comfortable wearing experience with great wrist presence. Finally, the clasp is one of the best I’ve experienced. It does not feature any quick adjustments but makes up for it in overall quality and machining. The Aquis has everything the quintessential Swiss diver should have, but with enough unique touches to make it stand out.
The other side of Oris that makes their watches so endearing are the various environmental and humanitarian efforts often tied to them. On the Oris website, you can see these programs and the collaborative watches they have produced. For me, it only makes it easier to recommend Oris to others who come into the hobby.
Seiko Astron SSH063 – $2,000
I have always had the feeling that Seiko’s Astron line was a bit under utilized or under marketed. I realize this may just be my perspective being based in the United States, but I had never seen any materials marketing the watch up until the latest integrated bracelet models. I hold this line in extremely high regard, and I would argue that it has the potential to be something of a flagship line for Seiko. Why do I feel this way? Because this model line seems to draw from all the things that make a Seiko a Seiko for me. The reference I have chosen, the SBXC063/SSH063, is my favorite of the bunch. This is an older model Astron from two generations ago, but I find it to be the most attractive and wearable.
Starting with the case shape and lug architecture, that’s pure Seiko Sumo with a hint of King Seiko. The near invisible domed sapphire crystal? I would say this aspect references the higher end JDM Presage models we all love so much. The overall finishing and titanium construction feels like the amazing titanium models from Grand Seiko – honestly the dial furniture alone is enough to sell me on that. It absolutely sings when on the wrist. Even the name itself, Astron, feels like a call back to the original Seiko quartz watch that changed the world of watches forever.