Hands-On With The New Oris Aquis Upcycle With A Reclaimed PET Plastic Dial
Oris’s dedication to land and sea conservation is renowned. Following the Oceans Trilogy, this new limited-edition Aquis Upcycle supports the clean-up of non-recyclable plastics from our ecosystem. More so than a single species or localized environment, the impact of certain plastics is widespread and devastating. To bring awareness to the plight of our oceans, Oris represents the appearance of plastic-strewn beaches on the dial of the Upcycle. Used plastic products are shredded and molded into a colorful mosaic pattern. Coloured PET plastics are notoriously challenging to recycle and often end up in landfill sites or release toxins during incineration. Oris elects to upcycle the PET, bringing new life to the material and preventing its polluting destiny. The dial slots into the 41.5mm Aquis case, which debuted in 2020, and the 36.5mm case, with a scratch-resistant grey ceramic bezel and Oris Calibre 733 movement.
Now, I won’t suggest this new Aquis Upcycle will eradicate even a microscopic fraction of the volume of non-biodegradable materials in the environment. As negative as that may sound, that is just the reality of the problem. Oris understands this and instead demonstrates the possibilities of this material for more universal products. By default, luxury watches are inherently sustainable. Electronic equipment that is, on average, less than a year old surrounds me in my home office. I swap the components out in my self-built PC every few years to keep up with technology advancements. Yet, within my Wolf watch box are mechanical watches that stretch back 20 years. I’m sure for vintage watch fanatics, the age of some of your watches will soon hit a centennial milestone. Watches are made to last and in most cases will live on well beyond our lifespans.
The Upcycle is part of the change for the better campaign
So what is the goal of the Oris Aquis Upcycle? The Hölstein brand is nowhere near the output of companies like Coca-Cola or Nike. But consumers of Oris and other luxury watches have a high probability of being in a position of influence. Therefore, exposing sustainable and upcycling solutions to them can cause a ripple effect. With some inspiration, people of power in higher output manufacturing can adopt sustainable processes and materials. This adoption may then aid the effort in reducing plastics in the environment and circulation. Due to the variety of PET colors on the market, each dial has a unique pattern for a personal touch.
PRO TIP: If you have to purchase a plastic receptacle, make sure to reach for the transparent option. Trust me; clear plastics are far easier to recycle. Even better if you choose the bottle that is made from recycled bottles.
The layout of the Aquis has the date at 6 o’clock with the running seconds on the central pinion. This arrangement allows for symmetrical spacing that draws your eye to the main timing indications. In centralizing the time telling, the dial’s tie-dye aesthetic has room to breathe. Although, in honesty, the Upcycle was not the most legible timekeeper. Especially with the polishing on the hands and indices blending in with the white areas. Despite sharing the core design with the recent Calibre 400, the Upcycle uses the Calibre 733, a Sellita SW-200-1 base. The decision may rest on costs as Calibre 400-equipped Oris watches tend to range about CHF 1,000 more than Calibre 733 pieces.
How micro-plastics impact the Earth’s most majestic mammal
There are plenty of documentaries and accounts that report the escalating and destructive issue of material pollution. But the dizzying quantities of plastics in the ocean still need a narrative to drive home the matter. Gliding gracefully through our seas, the blue whale is the largest mammal to ever exist on Earth, and every fact is mind-blowing. You could swim through its bigger veins and arteries; they are as long as a Douglas DC-3 and even louder than a jet engine. But unfortunately, the blue whale is still an endangered species, despite a worldwide ban on commercial whaling. Illegal whaling, as well as small-scale indigenous whaling, still exists in some form, even today.
No creature better exemplifies the impact of plastics in the ocean than with the largest mammal ever to exist, the blue whale.
But the biggest threat to the blue whale are toxins and climate change affecting their primary food source. Blue whales feed on tiny but numerous krill. But rising sea temperatures and microscopic toxin waste in the ocean contribute to this food source’s declining abundance. The blue whale is likely to remain an endangered species for this century. However, modern technology such as satellite tagging monitors migration routes to ensure commercial fishing vessels steer clear and that fishing debris does not cross paths. Still, so much is unknown about the habits of the blue whale and just why they drift such long distances. The added difficulty comes, despite modern technology, from the depths blue whales dive to in the oceans. Every single piece of plastic removed from the sea is precisely one piece gone — no matter how big. By benefitting the blue whale’s food source, we can help bring the species back from endangerment.
As with the blue whale, the Aquis can reach great depths — in this case, 300 meters. A screw-down crown and ceramic dive timer bezel further the diving credentials of the Upcycle. Although, with the dial legibility, I would say the Upcycle is more suited to shallow depths than professional deep dives. The case-back is sapphire and provides the view of the iconic red rotor of Sellita-powered Oris timepieces. For those interested in purchasing this model, you may be happy to know the Upcycle is not a limited production. And using the Calibre 733 allows the entry price to come in at CHF 2,100 for both the 36.5mm and 41.5mm case sizes.
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