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  • Writer's pictureGregg

Oris: It's Hip to be Rectangular

The Oris Rectangular was released earlier in 2022 to some fanfare. Fans were drawn to the design, styling and reasonable price tag. Not to mention the fun colors. After short while though, it felt like the Rectangular was seemingly left behind when talking about Oris’ catalog. That could be due to it being relatively niche. We’re here to remind folks that it’s still great, and a watch that should be considered for those who are rectangular-curious or simply looking for an underrated, versatile watch.

To point out the obvious, non-traditionally shaped watch cases – rectangular and square in particular – have enjoyed a bit of a renaissance of late. Call it the Cartier Tank-ifying of fashion and watches in the last few years. To be fair, non-round watches have existed since the beginning of wristwatch history. Depending on the decade, they could have been in or seriously out of fashion. It’s estimated that between 80-90% of watches sold today are round. Which makes sense. The movements that power our watches in almost exclusively round. And the simple exercise of telling time just makes sense in a circular fashion.

Enter the Oris Rectangular, which has existed in various forms throughout Oris’ history, but absent for a number of years. After stainless steel sports watches dominating many people’s minds for the last few years, it appears like dress watches are on the comeback. And, as a lot of watches continue to downsize, this might be the perfect opportunity to reintroduce this kind of Oris to those who are interested in the wearing experience of these style of watch, which is clearly Art Deco inspired. Let’s address the biggest elephant in the room (pun intended) – is it too small? Well, that’s personal taste, but when one hasn’t interacted or wore watches of this size and shape, it’s probably the largest barrier to entry.

The Oris Rectangular measures 25.5 mm across and 38 mm lug to lug and it’s approximately 10 mm tall. With most watch conversation centered around 36-42 mm round watches, that might be hard for a lot of folks to square up and a round watch at even 34 mm is probably a major hurdle to most. Let’s make no bones about this, this is a slight watch and a very minimal wearing experience. But that’s the beauty of it too. For all the words spilt on how a watch just disappears on wrist… well the Rectangular really does.

Now, there’s definitely somebody saying, “This is fine and all, but I hardly wear dress watches.” This is where I reply – “Oh, but this doesn’t have to be a dress watch!” The Rectangular comes equipped with a supple Horween leather strap which is color matched to one of the four dial colors. It’s not overly formal, but as a total package, it leans toward the dressier side. Start experimenting with straps though, and you understand this watch is at home in a jacket and button up as it is with a t-shirt and jeans. Think suede and lightly distressed leather and you quickly get into casual mode with just a hint of class. It’s a sweet balance that will surprise many.

Clearly, I’m a fan of wearing a smaller, irregularly shaped watch and I’ve pointed out all of its virtues. That doesn’t come without some sacrifices. As noted, the Rectangular is in fact a small watch, with a dial, hands and markers to match. Legibility is not a concern in the same way a busy dial presents, but if you already have some issues with smaller text, than I’m sure this could be something you’re aware of. In particular, the date window to me is nearly unusable from a distance. I doubt this is a daily driver for most, so leaving a date off this watch would have been a better move in my opinion. The movement, noted as Oris 651, is a ETA 2671 base and should function reliably for many years. It’s a small movement, and visible through the partial case back display with signature red rotor. It’s cool to see the movement with one of the hallmarks of the brand, but I would have been just as happy for a closed case back as the Rectangular is begging to be engraved (milestone or significant gift anyone?) Lastly, wouldn’t this watch be a prime candidate for an alternative metal? Think silver, two tone or even yellow or rose gold. A man can dream.

So, is this watch for you? The answer to that question is unique to the reader. If you want a non-round watch but like to zig when most others zag, then yes, this might be for you. If you find yourself wondering about Reversos and Tanks but not sure if you want to take that plunge, then yes, this might be for you. If you’ve had your eyes on vintage rectangular watches and want something more modern, then yes, this might be for you. The Oris Rectangular is a great watch offered at an approachable price, and more versatile than assumed. Whether you’re hip enough to be rectangular, that’s another question!

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