Oris went into its archives and resurrected a dive watch from 50 years ago, unveiling it in March at this year’s Baselworld watch fair in March. The Oris Diver Sixty-Five (click here to read about it, along with other vintage-inspired watches launched at the fair) is a great example of a watch company making a heritage piece the right way: it looks very much like the original but in a larger, contemporary-sized case made of stainless steel; a unidirectional bezel; a modern, automatic mechanical movement; a rubber strap; and a sapphire crystal. By contrast, the original model was smaller, came in a chromium-plated brass case with a plexiglas crystal (with no anti-glare treatment), a bi-directional rotating bezel, and on a versatile black plastic strap.
According to the manufacturer, “One significant update is the new watch’s unidirectional rotating bezel, which has a black aluminum inlay with a 60-minute scale. The original’s tritium-filled hands and indices have also been updated and are now filled with “Light Old Radium” Super-LumiNova that contrasts with the black dial and maximizes legibility.”
Crafted in stainless steel, the case measures 40 mm in diameter by 12.99 mm thick. The length is approximately 47.5 mm, and the lugs allow for a 20-mm-wide strap. The size is very comparable to that of a classic vintage Submariner, and that is a good thing. On the wrist, the watch wears incredibly well. It sits ergonomically on the wrist, the crown does not dig in, and the overall dimensions are nearly perfect. Not to mention, at 78.9 grams, it has a weight more similar to that of a vintage watch than a modern one, which means it is very comfortable over long periods of time.
The sides of the case and in-between the lugs are fully polished, the top of the lugs are brushed, and the edges are straight (as opposed to beveled, as on another vintage-inspired dive watch, the Tudor Black Bay). The crown, screw-in caseback (with original Oris emblem engraving) and bottom of the lugs have all been fully polished. This is a dive watch, so the crown is screw-down. The crown is a bit firm but easy to operate, and features an “ORIS” relief engraving.
Sitting on top of the case is a unidirectional 0-to-60-minute bezel with a luminous dot inside the triangle at zero. The bezel is in a black steel with a black aluminum insert. A domed sapphire crystal with an interior anti-glare coating protects the dial and gives the watch its vintage feel.
A curved, glossy black dial with printed luminous indices, and Arabic numerals at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, along with a printed inner minute track, are very similar to those on the original 1965 model on which the watch is based. Nickel hands for hours, minutes, and seconds all have luminous filling that matches the dial.
Practically hidden, just above the 6 o’clock numeral, is a small date aperture with white-on-black numbering, which blends right into the minute track. Considering the trend toward no-date models, this is at least a good compromise. The original model has the date at 3 o’clock, causing the adjacent numeral to have to be reduced in size and throwing off the symmetry of the dial, as it does on so many other watches as well. Thankfully, this modern version chose form over function and went with what looked best.
Powering the Diver Sixty-Five is Oris Caliber 733, which is based on a Sellita SW200 with date function. The movement is automatic and is essentially a clone of the ETA 2824-2. It beats at 4 Hz, has 26 jewels and holds a 38-hour power reserve. Functions include hours, minutes, central seconds, and date. There is a stop-seconds function, and you can manually wind the watch if needed. Some might consider this movement the least interesting part of the watch, but it matters little, as it is hidden beneath the solid steel caseback.
That said, it would have been nice if the movement was the higher-level Caliber SW-200, with a chronometer-level adjustment that would make it more precise. However, it appears to be keeping time very well. And since the movement is not proprietary or in-house-level, when it needs service down the road, it will be very easy to get this done at a low cost. Furthermore, by having a less expensive yet reliable movement inside, Oris is able to keep the cost of this watch down, an aspect that should not be underestimated; a Tudor Black Bay, for example, is nearly twice the price.
In 1965, the watch Oris was selling had a plastic “tropical design” strap, which has now been replaced by a tropical-style rubber strap, with a polished steel buckle with “ORIS” engraving. While the strap is not made of expensive natural rubber, it is extremely soft and pliable. Frankly, it feels awesome on my wrist and is perfect for the warmer months when you sweat a lot. Moreover, it has perforations that allow for enhanced breathability, and therefore comfort. The loop stays hold very well and do not move around, likely due to the softness of the rubber.
There is one downside to the strap: where it attaches to the lugs there is at least a few millimeters of extra space, causing it to look a bit too small. Seems like the tolerances could be adjusted ever so slightly to get this minor issue fixed. Nevertheless, it is not a deal-breaker in my estimation. Besides, if you don’t like it you can always buy another strap or two; in fact, Oris offers a NATO strap as an option for this watch, but to me, the rubber strap is too cool to pass up, and there is no price difference. If you want NATOs after the fact, the average price for one is around $10, so you can pick one up as an alternative to the rubber.
This timepiece is not a “professional”-grade diver, with a 300-plus-meter water-resistance rating and helium escape valve. However, it is an ISO 6425-certified dive watch, which means it must be water-resistant to a minimum of 330 feet (100 meters) in depth. Such a watch must also feature a time controller and comply with standards provided by NIHS 92-11 (ISO 6425) for luminosity, shock resistance, anti-magnetism, and band solidity.
The retail price of the Oris Diver Sixty-Five (Ref. 733 7707 4064) is $1,850 and it will begin arriving in stores in late August to early September 2015.
The Oris Diver Sixty-Five is one of the nicest vintage-inspired watches I have seen to date. Many times watchmakers either make such watches too close to the originals, or, conversely, nowhere near close enough. This timepiece looks very much like the watch that inspired it, but with many modern accoutrements and upgrades, such as the anti-corrosive stainless steel case (as mentioned above, the old model used chromium-plated brass), aluminum unidirectional bezel, modern automatic movement, and hacking seconds.
I love vintage Rolex and Tudor Submariners, and while this watch does not copy these timepieces, it does have a similarly handsome look, at a fraction of the price. Furthermore, this watch is not some no-name Submariner rip-off or clone (of which there are tons on the market). This is a legitimate brand with a historic timepiece design based on what Oris originally offered in the 1960s. The bottom line is that the dimensions are perfect, the look is just right, and the cool retro factor pushes it over the edge for me. And it all comes with a price-to-value ratio that seems almost too good to be true.