Oris marks the 60th anniversary of the classic Chinese animated film, The Monkey King: Uproar in Heaven, with a memorable limited-edition watch. The latest Oris co-creation, the Sun Wukong Limited Edition, a 2,000-piece limited-edition version of their high-performance Aquis Date diver’s watch that’s been designed and produced in partnership with the Shanghai Animation Film Studio Co. (SAFS).
The watch celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Chinese animated feature film, The Monkey King: Uproar in Heaven, which was produced by the Wan brothers and originally released by SAFS in 1961 during the Second Golden Era of the Chinese film industry. The Monkey King, or Sun Wukong in Mandarin Chinese, is a legendary mythical figure from the 16th century Chinese classic novel Journey to the West. The story tells of how Sun Wukong, a monkey born from stone, acquires supernatural powers before rebelling against heaven.
In the story, the Monkey King acquires a red pillar with golden tips that he shrinks to become a staff to fight his enemies and their unjust ways with, creating the “uproar” described in the title. Today, the Monkey King is an icon of Chinese culture recognised around the world. The challenge with this charming collaboration was to reimagine a familiar, culturally significant story in a watch. Watches offer a small, largely static canvas – how to show the furious motion of a monkey with superpowers in such a small space?
Oris’s designers saw an opportunity in the Monkey King’s staff, a magical red and golden pillar he uses to defeat his enemies. The seconds hand became that weapon, red with golden tips. To express how fast the Monkey King spins it in battle, the designers abstracted the form, adding repeating flashes of blue that diminish and return in size and colour to suggest constant motion. The effect is intoxicating, creating a tangible and yet otherworldly impression of a fast-spinning staff, which becomes almost audible as you look at it. Beyond its unique, playful aesthetic, the Sun Wukong Limited Edition carries the same quality signifiers and refined silhouette the Aquis Date has become known for.
It has a 41.5 mm stainless steel case and a unidirectional rotating bezel that’s equipped with an ocean blue ceramic bezel that plays an appreciable role in delivering the watch’s singular character. Crown protectors, a screw-down crown and a stainless steel bracelet with an extendable folding clasp serve as a reminder of the watch’s impeccable underwater credentials – as the dial indicates, the watch is water-resistant to 30 bar (300 metres). Inside it is an automatic mechanical movement that provides the watch with its sweeping, “spinning” central seconds hand.
Completing the story, the case back is engraved with the head of Sun Wukong and his staff, while the same dial abstraction repeats on the special presentation case. Only 2,000 pieces will be made. The Sun Wukong Limited Edition is the first limited-edition version of the Aquis Date 41.5 mm. The playful red and golden-tipped seconds hand and repeating geometric dial design are inspired by the mythical Monkey King, a Chinese cultural icon
The watch case is made of multi-piece stainless steel and measures 41.50 mm in diameter with a blue dial and features luminous material indices and hands filled with Super-LumiNova®. The top glass is made of sapphire and is domed on both sides with anti-reflective coating inside. The watch features an Oris 733 movement with functions including hours, minutes and central sweep seconds hands, date with quick setting, stop second device and date window at 6 o’clock and a 38-hour power reserve. The watch is a limited edition of 2,000 pieces with a special presentation box.