Hands-on — Oris Audi Sport Limited Edition & Limited Edition II
Towards the end of 2013, Oris has announced their partnership with Audi Sport, bringing the Oris logo to prestigious racing events of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the DTM, German Touring Car Masters. This partnership gave birth to a new collection of motorsports-inspired watches: three limited edition chronographs and a GMT. In this review, we are going to take a look at the first two Audi Sport Limited Edition chronographs, the silver-toned Ref. No. 774 7661 7481 from 2014 that and the black DLC coated Ref. No. 778 7661 7784, a 2015 model. For the sake of practicality, let’s just call them Audi Silver and Audi DLC.
Having them both at the same time, it feels like witnessing a drag race — which one will get on my wrist in the morning, and wich one will be left behind? They both have the same size (44 mm), same weight, which is surprisingly light for a chronograph thanks to the multi-piece titanium case, and clearly both of them bear the signature of the same designer. You can tell these are two cool brothers, yet they have different personalities and they are cool in a different way.
Both have rather large dials, giving plenty of space for the subdials, date windows, and the typical Oris Artix “retrograde” small second display. All this space is made possible by the thin bidirectional bezel, featuring a timer scale while the chapter ring comes with a tachymeter scale. Despite its slim lines, it is quite interesting the firm grip offered by the bezel, the secret lies in a rubber insert, an Oris innovation. The bezel insert on the Audi Silver is made of tungsten while on the black Audi DLC the minute scale is engraved on a black ceramic ring.
Dials… The silver-toned dial of the Audi Silver is highly legible, giving the impression of looking at a tool watch. The decoration is minimal and the lume filled applied numerals with their polished contours jump out from the circular brushed base. This is the kind of dial that is begging you to turn it, tilt it, move it around so that the light can play on all its brushed surfaces and polished accents. The Audi Sport red is used strategically for the chronograph hands, the Audi Sport logo is placed at 3 o’clock and the linear small second display is at 9 o’clock. By the way, both of these watches have a small second display, it such an ingenious solution because of its simplicity, an instant eye-candy. 12 o’clock is reserved for the minutes subdial and at 6, we have the hours. These subdials sit lower, adding volume to the dial. Everything on the dial enjoys plenty of room, except the narrow date window crammed into the hours subdial, it is probably my least favorite feature of this dial.
The Audi DLC is a completely different beast. I can’t believe it has the same fonts for the numerals as the Audi Silver. Its stealth approach changes everything. Legibility was not a priority anymore, this model is about being daring and sophisticated at the same time. There is an even more restrained use of red, unlike on the previous model, here only the tip of the chronograph hands are red, the rest is dark gray. 12 o’clock is still reserved for a chronograph minute subdial, but this time, it comes with a 10-minute countdown. At 3 o’clock, we have a day-date indicator with white text on black, and at 9 o’clock we’ll find the same retrograde small second display as on the Audi Silver model. At 6 o’clock branding has plenty of space to stand out. The hour and minute hands and the numerals are filled with black Super-LumiNova, wich is rather cool, but if I would compare it with the other model, the Audi Silver is a lot brighter in darkness, but I don’t think it should be a deal-breaker if you like the stealth style of the Audi DLC.
When it comes to the case design, they both share the same shape, with brushed surfaces, only the corner of the lugs are polished, emphasizing their unusually high position compared to the bezel. Some might find it that the lugs interfere with the rotation of the bezel, but aesthetically, I like how they give a more aerodynamic shape to these watches.
As you could tell from the dial, the two chronographs feature different complications. The two Audi Sport chronographs are based on the Sellita SW 500 caliber modified by Oris. In the case of Audi Silver it is called Oris 774 and it is visible from the back with its typical Oris red painted rotor. The LE2, which uses the Oris Calibre 778, has a black solid case back decorated with the Audi Sport logo and a stylized silhouette of an Audi R18 racing car.
They both come with black perforated leather straps, an obvious choice for racing-car-inspired watches, with titanium folding clasps — on the Audi DLC, the clasp too is coated with black DLC.
When I first received the two pieces for review, I immediately like one of them more than the other, but I tried to stay neutral in order to write an impartial review. Did I succeed, I hope so, but I will let you be the judge of that. All I can say is that my initial opinion did not change over time and I think most of you will react the same way. Go with your fist instinct; whichever of these two you like at the fist glance, it is the one that fits the best your style and personality — I don’t think that you will change your mind. And just to make your life easier, as mentioned earlier, there is a newer iteration that just came out this year, the Audi Sport Limited Edition III, this one too is worth a look.
Pricewise, the difference is minimal, the Canadian MSRP for the Audi Sport Limited Edition is $4,750, while the black DLC Audi Sport Limited Edition II officially goes for $5,100.
For more, please visit www.oris.ch/en/collections/oris-audi-sport