This article was originally published in the March/April 2022 Issue of the WatchTime print magazine.
In early 2022, Oris teamed up with WatchTime’s sister publication Chronos to create a highly limited version of its no-date Divers Sixty-Five model, powered by the brand’s latest in-house movement.
Back in 2015, Oris introduced its first vintage-inspired skin diver, the 40-mm Divers Sixty-Five (Ref. 01 733 7707 4064-07 4 20 18). Its design as well as its name was based on a comparatively generic 36-mm dive watch from 1965 with a manual movement and a water resistance of 100 meters. The recipe immediately proved successful: In the past seven years since its introduction, the Divers Sixty-Five has evolved into a stand-alone collection within the dive watch range of Oris, with almost 40 options currently available, including four different diameters (38, 40, 42 and 43 mm), cases and bracelets in bronze or steel, a chronograph version and consequently up to four different movement choices in total (Sellita SW200-1/510, Oris Calibre 400/401).
While the Divers Sixty-Five was an immediate commercial success, the model’s breakthrough among collectors came a year later with the launch of the Carl Brashear Edition in bronze (Ref. 733 7720 3185 LS), limited to 2,000 pieces. This quickly sold-out model not only earned recognition from collectors, it also introduced a bezel with a diving scale in relief for the first time, while standard models usually came with a printed aluminum insert (one version, the 01 400 7774 4087 from 2021, comes with a ceramic bezel).
The partnership with the Brashear Foundation was later also used to make way for the first chronograph version of the Sixty-Five (Ref. 01 771 7744 3185-Set LS) in 2017/2018, and even served as a base for the introduction of the brand’s Calibre 401 in 2021, with the launch of the third Carl Brashear Limited Edition (Ref. 01 401 7764 3185-Set) with a 40-mm bronze case and small-second indication at 6 o’clock. Oris even became the first watch brand to offer a massive bronze bracelet with the Oris Hölstein Edition in 2020 (Ref. 771 7744 3182-Set).
While the relief bezel has traditionally been reserved for the Brashear editions in bronze, the Divers Sixty-Five Calibre 400 Chronos Limited Edition released in 2022 is therefore the first Sixty-Five in stainless steel to be equipped with this type of bezel. More importantly, it is only the third Sixty-Five to be powered by the brand’s Calibre 400 (or fourth, if you want to count the Brashear’s Calibre 401), and — combined with the slightly larger “10 Years of Mr Porter Limited Edition” from 2021 (Ref. 01 400 7772 4217-Set) — also the most exclusive edition equipped with that movement so far, both being limited to only 200 pieces each. What’s equally remarkable is that Oris and Chronos chose to go with a no-date configuration with an ice blue “dégradé” (gradient) dial with sunburst finish, something that previously was available only within the Aquis range, while the Sixty-Five models typically came with matte dial finishes. Combined with the relief bezel and applied hour markers, the result here can only be described as the most elegant execution to be used in this collection so far (which, most likely, will quickly be nicknamed by fans as “the polar bear” Sixty-Five, factoring in Oris’s bear mascot, which can also be found in the movement’s layout).
Speaking of the movement, Oris’s Calibre 400 is a relatively new movement, first introduced in 2020 within the Aquis range and independently developed by Oris (but produced externally). It aims to set a “new standard for automatic mechanical movements” thanks to its 5-day power reserve (120 hours), high resistance to magnetism, 10-year recommended service intervals and a 10-year warranty (if registered). The automatic caliber is equipped with two barrels (hence the previously mentioned bear shape), a silicon lever and balance wheel, and is wound via an oscillating weight that swings in one direction only without the usual ball bearings, in favor of a less complex sleeve-and-clip attachment. Oris aims to regulate each caliber to “-3/+5 seconds a day, better than a chronometer” and has used more than 30 non-ferrous and antimagnetic components to protect it against magnetic fields. As a result, in tests conducted by Oris, the movement deviated by less than 10 seconds a day after exposure to 2,250 gauss. For context, the latest version of the ISO 764 standard for antimagnetic watches requires that to qualify as antimagnetic, a watch must be accurate to within 30 seconds a day after exposure to 200 gauss. Calibre 400 recorded one third of the deviation allowed after exposure to more than 11 times the force required, making it a highly antimagnetic movement. The finish is perhaps best described as industrial, which underlines the brand’s intention to focus on robustness and function rather than on elegance.
As already noted in previous reviews (see, for example, WatchTime’s test of the AquisPro Date in the October 2021 issue), due to the movement’s design, movements based on the 400 platform occasionally show a tendency to have a jumping-minute hand when the crown is pushed back in, for example, after setting the time. Oris explains this behavior like this, “Since we have little play due to the precision of the construction and tooth design, the effect is more pronounced than with other calibers […] a screw-in crown […] can intensify the phenomenon, as the crown is under more tension (spring) than a normal crown […].” To “reduce this phenomenon,” the company recommends to “turn the crown slightly back and forth before pulling it out or pushing it in.”
Here, the movement is housed in a 38-mm stainless case, which will certainly not only make fans of smaller watches happy, but also anyone with a dislike toward the use of large movement spacer rings: 38 mm is in fact the smallest case diameter to still be able to house the 30-mm caliber.
The fact that the Divers Sixty-Five can only withstand pressure of 100 meters should perhaps be interpreted more as an homage to the model’s history (and as a clear differentiation toward the Aquis and AquisPro models), even if the name “Divers” would suggest a more pressure-resistant case. Swimming and snorkeling at shallow depths shouldn’t pose a problem for the Divers Sixty-Five, and the large screw-down crown, albeit slightly exposed, is both flawless in operation and perfect in feel.
Depending on one’s individual taste, the highly domed curvature along the rim of the sapphire crystal can either be described as a thing of beauty, or something that tends to slightly distort the view of the markings on the domed dial. From a more objective point of view, the proportions of the hands are close to perfect, and the lack of a date window also works in favor of the clean design.
Overall, the Divers Sixty-Five Calibre 400 Chronos Limited Edition is comfortable to wear, thanks to its size, weight distribution and compact proportions. It also manages to keep a certain vintage appeal, while clearly adding a much more elegant appearance. Given the use of the brand’s latest in-house movement, and consequently higher list price, we feel that the riveted steel bracelet (which is the same used for all the Sixty-Five models) would have greatly benefitted from an upgraded clasp with a more refined fine adjustment and, more importantly, quick release spring bars, especially since the watch is being delivered with two strap options.
But what’s perhaps most impressive about this latest version of the Sixty-Five: The Chronos Limited Edition not only demonstrates how versatile the model is, it also provides a more than promising glimpse into the future of the collection, for all those waiting for a slightly larger case size and/or who have not managed to get their hands on one of the 200 pieces of this edition. Interestingly, there is still no regular Divers Sixty-Five with Calibre 400 in the collection.