Introducing: The Oris Hölstein Edition 2023 Aquis
Today is June 1st, which happens to be the 119th birthday of the brand Oris. Incorporated in 1904, Oris has enjoyed over a century of independent, Swiss, and — most importantly — fun watchmaking. Another full revolution around the Sun marks the release of this year’s Hölstein Edition, a special-edition watch for Oris fans that embodies some of the brand’s more unique fun. If you get excited about purple watches like some of us at Fratello do, this birthday may be a good one for you too.
Last year’s Hölstein Edition was the Full Steel Worldtimer, a radical love-it-or-leave-it chunky sports watch à la 1999. In my opinion, it’s cool in the way that all-white Reeboks with jeans are cool (again). This year, the Hölstein Edition is a steel Aquis. On paper, that might not seem so radical, but just look at the pictures.
Hölstein Edition 2023 — Purple for the win
Here at Fratello, Brandon, Thor, and I have all made a case for purple watches. They’re now coming around more and more in the industry, to my delight. Oris is the latest brand to embrace the color with this release. The dial of this 41.5mm steel Aquis is a rich, royal purple. To avoid detracting from the dial, Oris opted for the muted gray ceramic bezel insert found in another radically colored Aquis, the Upcycle.
Perhaps not initially apparent, missing on this Aquis is a date window, a first for an Aquis watch. This further emphasizes the purple dial and makes this Aquis a touch more elegant with applied hour indices all around the dial.
Purple is also on the case back, which features a printed image of the Oris bear in scuba gear with purple goggles and, for some reason, a purple sweater, diving on a purple backdrop. For those that know the Hölstein Editions, you knew that the Oris Bear would be there. Oris engraved his likeness on the case backs of previous editions. This purple print is a fun take on the theme and certainly even more playful.
Oris did not give over entirely to the purple, however, and left some text typical of the Aquis on the dial above 6 o’clock. It indicates the product line (Aquis), 300m water resistance for proper diving capabilities, and “5 Days” at the bottom.
The Hölstein Edition 2023 is a Calibre 400
Because, yes, this purple Aquis, the Hölstein Edition 2023, houses a Calibre 400. For those that don’t know, this is Oris’s in-house movement. It has a five-day power reserve, better-than-chronometer accuracy, high magnetism resistance, and a famous 10-year warranty and service interval. It was a natural choice of movement for this birthday watch. After all, it doesn’t get more Oris than the Calibre 400.
So, why purple?
Aside from the color purple organically making its way into the watch industry (if you count the clamoring of watch writers like me as “organic”), Oris has a clear message for why it’s showing up in its Hölstein Edition 2023. In an interview, Rolf Studer, co-CEO of the brand, indicates that both purple as a dial color and a no-date Aquis were options fans have been asking for from Oris. Yes, the Hölstein Edition 2023 Aquis is a limited edition of 250 pieces, but it’s not intended to be elite or unattainable. Instead, it’s as much a watch for the fans of Oris as it is for Oris itself. Whether these options will find their way into the standard lineup remains to be seen, but it indicates that Oris pays attention to its people.
The brand’s choices make this Hölstein Edition Aquis a special watch. Beyond its limited nature, unique color, and excellent specs, each piece is individually numbered and comes in a wooden presentation box. All that combines for a price of CHF 4,000 for this Hölstein Edition 2023 Aquis on a bracelet. If this watch is as special to you as it is to Oris, it’s available as of this publishing from the official Oris website or the brand’s boutique at the Maison in — where else? — Hölstein, Switzerland.