The Colt 41 is one of the few Breitling watches with an uncluttered dial. Consequently, many people that would never buy a Breitling might consider it instead of buying a more traditional diver’s watch like an Oris Aquis.
In today’s article, I will compare those two watches to help you decide if the Breitling Colt is worth the premium price, or If you should stick to the bang-for-the-buck Oris Aquis.
|Breitling Colt||MEASUREMENTS||Oris Aquis|
For a fair comparison, I chose the mid-sized version of each watches. With their 41mm case, those timepieces will look great on the majority of men.
The biggest difference for me is the case thickness. The Aquis has a non-negligible 2.3mm height increase over the Colt 41. This might be a dealbreaker if you potentially plan on wearing your new watch at the office or anywhere you might wear long sleeve shirts.
The Colt 41 is also the kind of watch that you’ll probably forget you’re wearing, whereas the Aquis will make its presence felt throughout the day.
Another important divergence is the 50,4mm tip-to-tip distance of the Breitling. This measurement makes it much harder to pull off for someone with smaller wrists (6.25” or less). Conversely, the Aquis’ 48mm length and curved lugs will fit snuggly even on slender wrists.
|Breitling Colt||MOVEMENT||Oris Aquis|
|Breitling 17||Caliber||Oris 733|
|28,800 vph||Frequency||28,800 vph|
|-4 to +6 spd||Accuracy||+-12 spd|
Both Breitling and Oris use movements from third-parties as a base for their calibers. However, Breitling takes the base caliber (ETA 2824-2), modifies (better mainspring, balance spring, etc..), and tunes it to bring it up to COSC standards (-4 to +6 sec/day accuracy).
This means that your Breitling Colt 41 will be as accurate as your average Rolex or Omega watch.
Conversely, Oris takes the base movement (Sellita SW-200-1) and only makes a few aesthetical tweaks (like the red Oris rotor), but leaves the functionality unchanged. This means that it’s rated at a more modest +- 12 seconds/day accuracy.
In short, the Breitling caliber has more soul, is more unique and accurate, whereas the Oris Aquis is powered by a run-of-the-mill Swiss movement with standard accuracy.
Apart from accuracy, both movements are extremely similar in that they have a short 38 hours power reserve due to the high 28,800 vph frequency. Consequently, the seconds hand will sweep in a smooth motion around the dial.
Also, both watches will be very reliable and relatively easy to repair because their movements are based on proven and ubiquitous ébauches. It’s also good to note that they can both be hacked and hand-wound.
|Breitling Colt||SPECIFICATIONS||Oris Aquis|
|200m / 20 bar||Water Resistance||300m / 30 bar|
|Flat Sapphire||Crystal||Double Domed Sapphire|
|Steel 60-min||Bezel||Ceramic 60-min|
|Stainless Steel||Bracelet||Stainless Steel|
Water resistance is often a priority when shopping for a diver’s watch. Both the Breitling Colt 41 and Oris Aquis offer plenty of water resistance for recreational diving, but the Aquis has the edge if you’re looking for something professional.
Indeed, the Colt 41 “only” offers 200m of water resistance. This means that it can be taken for a dive, but it’s nothing special considering you can buy an $80 Invicta watch with the same rating.
On the other hand, the Oris Aquis is rated at 300m WR which is now the standard for high-end dive watches. It won’t have any real-life benefits for most of us, but it’s always nice to have more resistance than less.
The Breitling has a double-gasket screw-down crown, which might make it a bit more waterproof than the 200m figure lets us believe.
The crystal might seem like an inconspicuous part of these watches, but it’s actually a big point of divergence. The two watchmakers use sapphire for their crystal, but they vary in shape.
Breitling opts for a flat sapphire crystal, which is naturally less reflective. This makes it hard to figure out why they apply two layers of anti-reflective coating (inside & outside) since one is usually plenty for a flat crystal.
While glare will be almost unnoticeable on the Colt 41’s crystal, the outer layer of AR-Coating will certainly get scratched easily. The only option to avoid this problem is to remove it following this tutorial.
Conversely, the Oris Aquis’ dial is covered by a double-domed sapphire crystal. This shape gives the distinctive look of a domed crystal while avoiding any distortion caused by a single-domed crystal. Oris only applies anti-reflective coating to the inside of the glass.
The Breitling Colt 41 is known for its distinctive steel bezel. There’s no insert for the 60-minute scale, it is instead etched directly on the bezel itself. This makes it easy to scratch, but almost impossible to break. Also, it gives the Colt 41 a vintage/military look.
The crisp 120-click unidirectional rotating mechanism paired with the signature Breitling “rider tabs” makes this bezel easy to operate even with diving gloves.
Although the Oris Aquis can also be bought with a full steel bezel, the majority of the collection is offered with a ceramic 60-minute scale insert. This one will be basically unscratchable, but it will also be much more prone to shattering.
The two watchmakers use a Superluminova formula to brighten up the dial in dark situations. Breitling doesn’t mention which formula is used for the Colt 41, but we know that Oris uses the BGW9 (second brightest in Superluminova’s offering).
The brightness and durability are pretty similar, so there’s no clear winner here. However, the Breitling’s seconds hand is void of lume, a big no-no for diver’s watches. For this reason, I must say that the Oris Aquis has the best lume of the two.
It’s almost impossible to outdo Oris when it comes to bracelets, even for pricier watches like the Colt 41. Breitling offers a pretty standard steel bracelet that is comparable to other watches at this price point (except maybe for the clasp which has a few cheap stamped parts).
Conversely, the Oris Aquis’ bracelet blows the competition out of the water. Not only is it extremely comfortable and sturdy, but it’s also gorgeous & unique. It even comes with a diver’s extension, an important feature that the Colt 41 lacks.
However, there’s one pretty important drawback to the Aquis’ bracelet: the proprietary lugs. These custom lugs mean you will not be able to swap the OEM bracelet for anything third-party. This might be a dealbreaker if you love to swap straps, so you might want to consider the Oris Divers 65 instead.
|Breitling Colt||DESIGN||Oris Aquis|
|Applied Batons||Indices||Applied Batons|
|Stainless Steel||Case||Stainless Steel|
For instance, Breitling pushes the baton indices towards the middle of the dial, whereas the Aquis’ indices are included directly into the chapter ring. The logo and scripts are also a bit larger on the Colt 41, making it appear a bit less delicate in my opinion.
Another interesting difference between the two is the placement of the date display. Breitling opts for the traditional 3 o’clock position with a regular-sized date display. Conversely, the Aquis’ date display is situated at the 6 o’clock position.
Not only is the position slightly unusual, but it also has a peculiar vertical shape, which makes it blend in a bit easier with the rest of the dial.
The rest of the dial of these two watches is eerily similar, with both featuring a sunburst effect, a painted-on minute track, and the iconic “Swiss Made” script at the bottom.
Both companies are very conservative with their choice of hands. Breitling uses straightforward sword hands with a high level of polish, which is a very safe bet, but slightly uneventful.
Oris is also conservative, but the Aquis’ hands are nevertheless unique and are not directly inspired by another watch.
The Colt 41’s seconds hand seems a bit counterproductive to me. It’s painted in red for added legibility, but it also has a skeleton shape, making it a bit harder to read. I prefer the Oris’ seconds hand which is legible (day & night), and also has a unique vase-shaped counterbalance.
The Breitling Colt 41’s case features a mix of polished and brushed surfaces, a departure from what we’re used to from the brand. It’s surprising to say but I actually think it’s a bit more subtle than the Aquis’ case.
The Oris has these square screwed-in crown guards that make the watch feel like a true tool watch, whereas the Breitling has more subtle curves and a smoother finish.
It’s also good to know that the Aquis has an exhibition case back instead of a steel one like the Colt 41.
|Breitling Colt||VALUE||Oris Aquis|
As you can see, there’s a very large price difference between the Breitling Colt 41 and the Oris Aquis. Although Breitling’s premium price might be worth it depending on what you’re looking for, I must admit that the Aquis is the best bang-for-the-buck watch of the two.
However, the Colt 41 does exceed the Aquis in many fields including; movement accuracy & complexity, case finish, and versatility. There’re also a few unspoken advantages like the longer warranty and the higher brand recognition.
Indeed, Breitling is a brand that will garner respect from watch novices and experts alike, while Oris won’t ring a bell to regular people.
Get the Colt 41 if you want:
- An accurate movement
- Great case finish
- Higher brand recognition
Get the Aquis if you want:
- High water resistance
- A robust watch
- More bang-for-your-buck