Summer Splash — Round 4: Thomas’s NOMOS Club Campus Vs. Ben’s Oris Aquis Great Barrier Reef III
All right, with three quarter-finals down, these are the final two contestants entering our 2022 Summer Splash showdown. We are still on the hunt for the ultimate colorful summer watch. This time, we focus on aesthetics first. No monochromatic stuff allowed. We want something bright and cheerful to wear out in the sun. In this last quarter-final, we see the entry of the NOMOS Club Campus Future Orange and the Oris Aquis Great Barrier Reef III. It’s orange versus teal, diver versus do-it-all. Let’s get ready to rumble!
Ben will defend the Oris, while Thomas puts forward the NOMOS. Let’s hear what they have to say about their respective candidates.
Thomas: NOMOS Club Campus Future Orange
Okay, Ben’s Oris is nice, but it is also a bit too serious for a summer watch. I mean, it isn’t really very brightly colored. It has a very serious cause for a theme. Heck, it is even a limited edition. That’s not what a summer watch is about, right? You should be able to get one and wear it without a worry in the world. That’s why I opt for the NOMOS Club Campus.
Let me throw a major punch straight away: the NOMOS Club Campus is the single most affordable watch in this entire Summer Splash contest at €1,100. And that is part of the fun. If I go out for drinks in the sun, sailing, swimming, etc, I want something accessible and light-hearted. A true summer watch should not be a collectible, ultra-expensive watch. It should be this — a brightly colored NOMOS.
A capable little gem
The specific NOMOS I picked is the ref. 710 with its large-wearing 36mm case. I do not think there are many word combinations I like more than “large-wearing 36mm case”. I love a good do-it-all watch with modest proportions. This is such a watch, but with a fun dial. Come on, what’s not to love?
Do not let the modest size and price fool you though. This is one capable little gem. It has a summer-proof 10ATM water resistance and an in-house-built caliber. So no one will mistake you for anything but a true watch connoisseur while out and about with this. Not many people still look credible in their swim trunks. This watch will not harm your case, though.
The one negative I can come up with is the closed case back. The NOMOS Alpha caliber is rather nice to look at, but for some reason, not all colorways come with a display case back option. The silver version does, but the Future Orange does not. If we found NOMOS willing to add this option, this watch would be a sure thing.
Why this is the best summer watch
NOMOS might be known for quite serious designs, this is the exception to prove the rule. The combination of a California dial and bright orange is pure fun. Just picture yourself sipping a cocktail while the sun hits this dial. It is just right.
As you probably know, Fratello is based in the Netherlands. I, myself, am Dutch. This gives this watch a second purpose for me as the perfect choice for the upcoming football world championship. What better way to support the Orange Lions than with this NOMOS Club Campus Future Orange? Okay, this argument might only apply to our Dutch readers, but still. Cut me some slack, will you?
Don’t think for a minute that NOMOS just slapped any old color onto this Club Campus. You will still spot the brand’s famous eye for detail here. The dial is a warm tone of bright orange. It is offset by a redder, brighter orange seconds hand. The subtle minute markings are executed in a minty green tone, adding even more visual interest. The bright white numerals glow blue in the dark. This, then, is a finely tuned tasting of hues that remains interesting beyond face value. This is everything you could possibly desire in a summer watch.
Let’s see what Oris can bring to the table. Ben, take it away!
Ben: Oris Aquis Great Barrier Reef III
While I cannot compete with the tangerine slap in the face that is the NOMOS from Thomas, the Oris Aquis Great Barrier Reef III at least has a touch of orange. Anyone who grew up in the ’90s in the UK will remember the “You’ve been Tango’d” adverts for the fizzy Tango soft beverage. But strangely, the Club Campus reminds me of a pornstar martini. And just like the overly sweet cocktail, one is about enough before switching to something more refreshing and responsible. That’s where my Great Barrier Reef III comes in.
The flash of light orange surrounding the lume pip is an amber warning sign. As the name suggests, the Great Barrier Reef supports the Reef Restoration Foundation. Like many of Oris’s ocean commitment partnerships, the Reef Restoration seeks to protect and nurture the vast and vital coral reef ecosystem in eastern Australia. The third in the Great Barrier Reef trilogy came out in 2019 after coral bleaching occurred twice in 2016 and 2017. At the time, the amber signal was a warning to combat climate change and rising sea temperatures. I’m sad to say that coral bleaching occurred again in 2022.
Summer watch sadness
I’m not looking to bring a downer on this fun summer competition, but as most of us endeavor to travel during summer, it’s crucial to remind ourselves of our impact and spread awareness. That’s why I bought this Oris and still savor each moment with it. It doesn’t hurt that it is also breathtakingly beautiful in my eyes. We often glaze over the beauty of watch design to focus on the functions, but this Aquis may be the most stunning dive watch.
The depth and symmetry of the radial date indication break up the vast gradient blue/turquoise dial. The offset surfboard subsidiary seconds hand also corresponds to the laid-back Aussie coast lifestyle. But unlike the NOMOS from Thomas, the Oris Aquis is a suitably sublime diving watch with 300 meters of water resistance and a unidirectional dive scale ceramic bezel. And while it comes with a steeper price of just over €2,200, it retains a level of affordability that makes it not too precious so you can wear the watch as intended.
A summer watch for all occasions
Diving into the Coral Sea might be your first activity with the Aquis Great Barrier Reef III. But in my experience, it’s just as comfortable ascending a volcano or exploring a jungle. Mostly, it’s seen soaking up the rays and swimming to the pool bar but always performing perfectly. For summer, I often swap the stainless steel bracelet for the Oris rubber strap. Since the watch has integrated lugs, the aftermarket strap options are limited unless you buy a converter, but I appreciate the Oris strap’s look, feel, and smell.
That’s an odd way to describe a watch strap. Still, Oris infuses a synthetic vanilla scent into the caoutchouc (non-vulcanized natural rubber) to overpower the stench from a sweaty wrist. Some do not enjoy the smell, but it’s good enough to eat. Sticking with sustainability, the Aquis Great Barrier Reef III also comes in an algae box that I’d prefer not to eat but is another quirk about the watch. Are there downsides? Absolutely. The bezel has become stiff over time, probably due to salt water residue, but I’ve also almost lost the watch when a link unseated itself. You’re supposed to use a small drop of Loctite to seal the single screws, but I find the idea of gluing my watch less luxurious.
What’s on the horizon
Chief of my complaints with my GBR III, which I’m willing to admit even in competition mode, is the 38 hours of power reserve. This watch debuted during the Sellita era of the Aquis before the Calibre 400 was beckoned in 2020 and now slowly replaces the core collection. I’m already looking lovingly at the new Calibre 400-equipped bicolor Aquis that Nacho introduced, as it also comes with a more wearable 41.5mm case diameter. The 43.5mm diameter of this watch is excellent but can get cumbersome when wearing it daily. However, the on-the-fly adjustment of the steel clasp is a nice addition for warmer and more active days.
Still, though, this has to be one of my most treasured watches in my collection, which I’ve found makes a splash during summer.
Now it’s your turn!
So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Which one of these two fantastic summer-ready watches goes on to the next round and on to potentially win this year’s Summer Splash? Is it the NOMOS Club Campus in Future Orange? Or is it the Oris Aquis Great Barrier Reef III? Make sure to vote below for your favorite! This concludes the preliminary rounds. Stay tuned for the winners from this week that will advance to the semifinals!
But, for now, which watch will it be? NOMOS or Oris? Cast your vote below.