An Oris Aquis that costs US$19,000? No, it’s not a typo; it’s for a good cause. The good people at Oris, who have certainly done their bit for aquatic causes, have just released the Oris Carysfort Reef Gold Limited Edition. It’s the second limited edition for the Swiss brand working in partnership with the Coral Restoration Foundation, a world leader in the restoration of coral. Only this time they have come up with something entirely different — and with a price tag to match.
The first-ever gold Oris diver
This weighty new 43.5mm piece is the first time Oris has ever released a solid gold diver, and is based on Oris’ Aquis GMT diver with the same features and the same standard specifications.
At 300 meters, it has the same water-resistance of a regular Aquis, but unlike a regular Aquis, the case, bezel, crown, and even the crown protectors are all made of solid 18-carat gold. Even the hands have experienced the Midas touch; they’re yellow gold-plated and filled with luminescent Super-LumiNova®, including the ‘lollipop’ central seconds hand.
This automatic diver also offers a complication that can be worth its weight in gold on occasions: a GMT, or second time zone function. The central hand sweeps fully round the deep blue dial once every 24 hours, while the second time zone is readable on a 24-hour chapter ring on the dial. And for good measure, there’s a laser-engraved 24-hour scale on the bi-directional scratch and fade-resistant ceramic bezel which can function as a third time zone. The watch runs on Oris caliber 798, based on the Sellita 330-1, with a 42-hour power reserve. It comes on a comfortable blue rubber-coated leather textured strap.
A golden moment
Why has Oris decided upon such an ostentatious gesture? A solid gold diver is uncharacteristically blingy, and not to everyone’s taste, but it’s all for a good cause. By the end of this year, the Coral Restoration Foundation will have planted over 30,000 corals on Florida’s Carysfort Reef. A coral reef located within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Carysfort is the third-largest in the world and the only barrier reef in the USA. It lies to the east of Key Largo, within the Key Largo Existing Management Area.
The work to restore the Carysfort Reef is crucial because in 2020, the Florida Reef Tract hosts just 3% of the staghorn and elkhorn cover that it had in the 1970s. These corals are included on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species and are both currently listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ — one step away from a listing of ‘Extinct in the Wild.’
So, in order to boost vital funding for the Coral Restoration Foundation, Oris is donating three watches from the limited-edition 50-piece run to be put up for auction. These will be watch numbers 02/50, 03/50 and 04/50, which will be auctioned off at a series of events this coming spring.
Why it matters
Coral Restoration Foundation’s reef restoration methods reintroduce coral to damaged reefs, and their pioneering work has been adopted by a growing number of enterprises around the world. It’s ironic that a golden dive watch should come to the financial aid of the reef, considering the depletion of the coral reefs in the Florida Keys was partly as a result of the early recreational dive industry in the 1950s and 1960s. In the last 40 to 50 years, mass tourism, agricultural pollution, sewage, and rising sea temperatures have all played their part to render the reef severely degraded with coral populations in the Keys in decline by up to 98%. Among the Earth’s oldest and most biodiverse ecosystems, coral reefs cover just 1% of the Earth’s surface, yet they support at least 25% of all marine species. And this matters because healthy oceans are vital to all life on Earth, as they produce 70% of the world’s oxygen.
The Oris Carysfort Reef Gold Limited Edition is limited to just 50 pieces, it comes in a special wooden presentation box and will be available from April 2020.