Returning visitors of Monochrome are certainly aware of our speciality: reviews of watches. We believe that reviews are essential in the process of buying a new watch, or any luxury item for that matter. Of course, we encourage you profoundly to test the watch yourself… however that will most likely be in the luxurious ‘ambiance’ of a retailer, and for a short (very short) period of time. In our reviews we share with you our long-term experience, since we test/wear review watches for a longer period. Testing a watch alone is good, however we’d like to give you even better advice. So recently we started with a comparative review, which included 3 watches with a same complication: the worldtimer. Here is another of these reviews – and today, we have 3 dive watches, all vintage-inspired and all reasonably priced: the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue, the Oris Divers Sixty Five and the Longines Legend Diver. Let’s see which offers the best quality / price / pleasure ratio.
These 3 watches are certainly considered as very cool timepieces by most of us, collectors. They are cool, first because they are dive / sports watches. Who doesn’t like good old and reliable dive watches, the perfect ally for your seaside weekends and summer holidays. Then, they are cool because they all are vintage-reissues of glorious historical models. They have some vintage design clues, while being modern watches, with modern diameters, modern materials and modern movements – and of course, all 3 are automatics (and thus, cool…) It allows you to enjoy a vintage look, to surf on the trend of vintage watches, without the inconveniences that actual vintage watches can come with. Finally, they are cool because they are reasonably priced – in the range of 1,800 Euros to 3,200 Euros, and thus accessible to a larger audience.
What we know is that some of you already asked us this big question: this one or the other one, mostly referring to the Tudor Black Bay vs. the Oris Divers Sixty Five or to the Oris Divers Sixty Five vs. the Longines Legend Diver. And their question is totally legitimate. A similar concept, a similar price range, a similar inspiration, a similar type of watch… The choice has to be hard. That’s the starting point of this comparative review. We’re not going to look at each watch separately but we’ll look at each aspect of the watch, comparing the three of them. This is why you’ll have the exact same photos of each of the three watches. And one thing to note, this review has been made without the agreement of the brands and with watches owned by members of the Monochrome-Watches team. Impartial we were, impartial we will remain.
As said, all three watches share the same spirit. They are dive watches, with a mix of modern sportiness and vintage appearance, with a great quality of manufacturing, with out-sourced movements (even if this is about to change for the Tudor… we’ll get back on this later) and for reasonable prices. All three are legible, comfortable and can be used as sports watches – maybe not as proper tools but their specifications are more than enough for recreational use. All three are simple watches, displaying the time with 3 central hands and, for the Oris and the Longines, an additional date function.
As said, all three are inspired by existing vintage models. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is heavily inspired on vintage Tudor Submariner watches, comprising mainly design elements of the iconic ref. 7922, mixed with elements (indexes, hands and the blue colour of the bezel) of the military ref. 94010 made for French Navy “Marine Nationale”. Therefore, this watch is very Submariner and very “Rolex Family” in the design. It has this “Sub feel”, mixed with cool elements, such as the snowflakes hands, the oversized and non-protected crown and the bevels on the lugs. And this is exactly why this watch is cool and successful; a classic with a twist.
The Oris is a faithful (visually at least) reinterpretation of a vintage dive watch made by Oris in 1965. It shares the exact same design, the same case (albeit larger), the same domed and glossy dial, the same domed crystal (now sapphire, and before in plexi) and the same rather unique indexes. It even comes on a super-comfy rubber strap mimicking the vintage tropic straps as used in the 1960’s. Then again, it is very cool.
Finally, the Longines is inspired by a 1961 watch, the Diver Super Compressor 42mm. With this in mind, this Longines is in fact the most faithful reedition here. It keeps the same inner rotating bezel, the same twin-crown, the same diameter, the same indexes, the same hands, the same glossy dial, the same shape of the case… Everything is the same, except the date (and sadly, the Longines Legend Diver without date was discontinued very quickly after its launch.)
Thus, with this first quick look, it is quite difficult to make a point. These three dive watches are very close in terms of spirit – but not in terms of design of course. To differentiate them, let’s look at all elements in details.
As we’ve seen, the concept behind these 3 watches is very similar. However, in terms of design and shapes, they are very different. OK, all of them are based on a vintage and known shape. All are made in stainless steel and all are said to be dive watches. All are rather large, measuring between 40mm and 42mm. However, for the rest, nothing is similar. All have some good points, all have some faults.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is probably the most modern… even if this shape dates back to the 1950s. However, it’s a shape that is still (more or less) used by Rolex for the Submariner and thus, it is timeless and doesn’t feel vintage. The shape of the Black Bay is also modern because it is the bulkiest here. It has a 41mm diameter but the case itself is rather “monobloc”. It is large and visually quite thick. The watch isn’t thicker than the others but the casebands are straight, creating a impression of thickness. The steel case is very, very well executed. It is superbly adjusted, very sharp, very detailed. It is on the level of watches usually priced over 5,000 Euros. Polishings and brushings are clean. The case has a vintage appeal mainly because of the absence of crown protection and because of the bevels on the lugs. The oversized crown is screwed and practical (and the tube is made in anodized aluminum, matching the bezel). Finally, the bezel has very sharp clicks (60 to be precise) and feels solid as a rock. Overall, this is some very serious work. The perceived quality of the case is above all critics.
The Oris Divers Sixty Five is certainly the most vintage looking of all 3, mainly because of its retrained proportioned. The case measures 40mm and the casebands are extremely thin (the watch isn’t thin but feel thinner and smaller than really is). When compared to the original 1965 edition (see it here), the link is immediate. Then lugs are thin, the crown is big (probably too sharp…) and the black bezel emphasizes the small diameter – very vintage. The steel case is well executed, with sharp angles. Finishing alternates between polished surfaces on the flanks and caseback and brushed surfaces on the lugs. It is pleasant. The bezel, with its aluminum insert, is practical (120 clicks) but it lacks a bit of firmness. It doesn’t feel very precise neither very solid. Something that Oris should improve. Overall, a well finished watch which feels qualitative, considering its price level. And what a design…
Finally, the Longines Legend Diver. It’s clearly the most faithful of the 3. It is 99% the same as the vintage edition. It is also the only of the 3 to show a compressor style, with two crowns – one to adjust the time and wind the movement, the other to adjust the inner bezel. The case is solid and sharp. However, it is entirely polished, showing a certain lack of attention to details and a look that is maybe not diver enough. No issues in terms of adjustment. However, it measures 42mm and has some long lugs, making it the bigger on the wrist of all 3. No external bezel here, so we’ll skip this subject. Overall, the Longines Legend Diver is a very cool looking watch, with a solid case but it lacks some attention to details and suffers a large case, with very long lugs.
To conclude, the Tudor wins the game here, with a very precise construction and perfect finish. The case is a rock, the bezel is precise and solid and the overall watch is made to last decades. The Oris is certainly the coolest but, in terms of quality, it can’t compete.
What does a watch need to be a diving instrument? (for more see our article here) – A good legibility (day and night), an efficient lume, a rotating bezel with 60-minute scale, a sufficient water resistance (in fact 100m is the minimum required), an indication that the movement is running (usually, a second hand) and it needs to be easy to use with gloves, under water.
All three watches meet with these requirement, but with more or less success. The Tudor Black Bay benefits from a strong day light visibility. The contrast of the hands and indexes on the matte black dial is perfect. The hands are perfectly sized (they match perfectly with the indexes and the minute track) and are large enough. The bezel is easy to use with gloves, unidirectional and features 60 clicks. Same goes for the crown (even if you normally won’t touch it when diving). The Black Bay is water resistant to 200m, which is sufficient for most recreational divers (and probably for many professionals too). It is a very well conceived diving tool. Finally, it is highly readable at night time. The lume is strong, it lasts long and the hands easily differentiate.
The Oris Divers Sixty Five is easy to read… in certain conditions. Because of its glossy dial, it can happen that the dial resemble a mirror and thus, reading time isn’t easy. The dial also has an issue: the hands are not dimensioned correctly with the tracks. The bezel is easy to grip with gloves but, as said before, can feel a bit flimsy. However, it is easy to read. The night-time readability is also excellent and the markers, as well as the hands, are easily visible. The main issue that some will spot is the 100m water resistance. In fact, it could be seen as a restriction, but in reality, who really uses such a watch to dive under 100m… It is not a problem for us, just a performance that is under the other 2.
Finally, the Longines Legend Diver benefits from a 300m water resistance, so to say the norm in the industry for dive watches. However, there issues with the dial and the easiness of use of this watch, compared to the diving vocation. The dial is glossy, and like the Oris, it can be difficult to read. Then, it is busy. Many tracks, long indexes, slim hands… not the best choice as a professional diving watch. Then, there’s the night-time legibility, which is very poor. The lume plots are small and hardly visible after 5 minutes. Then, the small second doesn’t feature luminous paint (no indication that the watch is running). Finally, the inner rotating bezel might be nice, it is not easy to use underwater. It requires to unscrew the crown at 2, to rotate this crown (which has no clicks) to the right position and to screw the crown again. It is typical from compressor watches, and if it is visually appealing, it is not a practical choice.
Here again, the Tudor over performs, because of it strong legibility, its easiness of use and its 200m water resistance. The Oris might lacks water resistance for some and the Longines proves to be more a vintage-designed watch than a modern diving tool.
Strap / bracelet
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay photographed here has a metallic bracelet, which is not the case of the two others. However, it is also available with a leather strap (with folding clasp) and a additional fabric strap (NATO style) is included in the box. The bracelet of the Tudor is like the rest of the watch, solid as a rock. It is entirely brushed on top and polished on the flanks. It features a solid folding buckle (no easy extension device here). Since this year, the bracelet is riveted, for an even more vintage look (really superb – see it here). Overall, the bracelet is very comfortable and well manufactured. So is the buckle.
The Oris Divers Sixty Five was introduced on a rubber strap mimicking the old tropic strap. It comes with a pin buckle. It is one of the most comfortable and suppler rubber strap available on the market, and its design really complements the look of the watch. Since Baselworld 2016, it is also available with a vintage inspired riveted metallic bracelet, very thin and flexible. Again a killer in terms of look and comfort. Finishing is like the rest of the watch: a good quality for the price.
The Longines Legend Diver again disappoints here. The original strap is made of synthetic fabric (mimicking a sail cloth) but it has a poor quality. It feels cheap and the look is, to our tastes, not complimenting the vintage feel of the watch. Thankfully, owners of the Legend Diver know how to change it. Note that it is also available since 2015 on rubber with finding clasp.
Dial and hands
We already and briefly touched the subject when talking about the diving capacity but let’s look at the dials and hands in details. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay has a very classical dial, inspired by vintage Submariners. It shows the same round indexes, combined with a large triangle at 12 and rectangles at 3, 6 and 9 – making this watch easily recognizable as a diver from the Rolex / Tudor family. However, even if it shows vintage accents, it also makes concessions to modernity. Yes, the dial is domed. However, it is matte and grained and not glossy like vintage watches. Thus, it is easy to read in every conditions. Yes, its indexes are very typical from Submariners but they are applied and not painted. Overall the dial is precisely executed and easy to read. The hands show the iconic “snowflake” shape and, as the rest, they are legible, perfectly proportioned together with the tracks and well manufactured.
The Oris Divers Sixty Five is certainly the most exotic here, with its domed glossy dial, its squared indexes and its faux-patina. It is very vintage looking but not easy to read in sunlight. The dial reflects the environment A LOT. The indexes here are painted and the hands are well executed. However, there’s something a bit wrong in terms of alignment between the minute hand and the minute track. Same goes for the hour hand, too short to touch the hour indexes. It might be cool to look at, it is however not so practical when used a bit more professionally. The Oris features a date, positioned at 6 and rather hidden. We could have done it without but this window is not too disturbing.
Finally, the Longines Legend Diver suffers the same faults as the Oris… and benefits from the same cool factor. The dial is very glossy and thus hardly legible in the sun, the hands are perfectly proportioned and the dial might be too busy, considering the long and highly present indexes and tracks. The date… oh that date! Why Longines changed the Legend Diver a few years ago and added a date. It was so perfect without. And now it is quite visible and placed at 3. Too bad – even if most seasoned collectors can find old ones on the second-hand market. But it has to be said that the Longines looks properly cool. It has a unique look and a very faithful design. It is probably its faults that makes this watch desirable.
At the moment these photos were made, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay was still available with the ETA movement only. Inside ticks a 2824, a reliable time-only movement, slightly modified by Tudor (Incabloc modified by a Kif system and ETA regulation system replaced by a new fine adjustment mechanism). However, in a few weeks from now, the Black Bay Blue will change from ref. 79220B to ref. 79230B, by the implementation of Tudor’s in-house movement – and this with a priced increased of only 250 euros. This Calibre MT5602 is the same as the one into the Pelagos and the North Flag, without date and power reserve. Thus, it is COSC-certified and has a comfortable 70h power reserve. It also features a silicon hairspring, making the watch more resistant to magnetic fields. A strong improvement, with small effect on the price.
The two other watches, the Oris and the Longines, still relies on out-sourced movements. The Longines Legend Diver features an ETA 2824 with date and the Oris Sixty Five Diver a Sellita SW-200, basically a clone of the ETA 2824. Both measures 25.6mm in diameter, feature a date, beat at 4hz and boast 38 hours of power reserve. They will both do the job perfectly and last for years. Furthermore, they are easy and rather cheap to service.
Accuracy (own tested)
Note: These tests were done with a simple application (Timegrapher) on an iPhone and are here only for illustration purpose. They cannot reflect the reality of a test performed on a Witchi device, by a professional watchmaker. However, all three watches have been tested in the exact same condition, fully wound, in the exact same position (dial up) and with the same device.
All three watches are pretty accurate and could possibly undergo the COSC certification with a minimal adjustment. This again proves the efficiency of the old ETA movement.
Overall quality and price
In terms of quality, the supremacy of Tudor can’t be denied here. It is a clear victory. Wether we look at the case, the bracelet or the dial – and now even more with the in-house movement – the Heritage Black Bay is out-performing the other two. This watch is solid, precisely manufactured and pleasant. Angles are sharp but never cutting, surfaces are smooth and the watch is full of details usually reserved to higher price segments. It could be easily seen as € 5,000 Euro watch. That’s were the Rolex influence is. However, the Black Bay is priced € 1,200 Euro higher than the other two watches. Although we think that’s fully justified, it’s still € 1,200 Euro more to pay when you’re at the cash register.
The Longines and the Oris are reasonable proposals, with a price that is accessible, even to young or not so fortunate collectors. We’ll tend to place the Oris just before the Longines in terms of quality / price ratio, mainly because its nicer case (polished and brushed surfaces) and its superb rubber strap. It is not perfect though, as the bezel could be firmer and the crown more finished (the machining process can be felt). The case of the Longines is entirely polished, however objectively it remains a very good watch. It’s a close tie for second or third place.
- Longines Legend Diver (on fabric strap)- 1,870 Euros
- Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue 79220B – ETA movement (discontinued) – from 2,910 Euros
- Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue 79230B – In-house movement (starting in 2016) – from 3,160 Euros
- Oris Divers Sixty Five (on rubber strap) – 1,700 Euros
- Oris Divers Sixty Five (on riveted metallic bracelet) – 1,900 Euros
The conclusion of such a comparative review is not simple, as there is always a part of myself, as a writer and above all, a watch collector, who tends to have a preference. Subjectivity apart, we’ve been looking at all the aspects of these 3 watches, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay, the Oris Divers Sixty Five and the Longines Legend Diver. One thing is sure: all three are great watches, with very cool design and, besides sharing a lot of similarities (same kind of movement, same vintage inspiration, same type of watch – diver – or same price range – approximately), they also are rather different. However, this comparative review also allowed us to see the pros and cons of each watch reviewed here, something that we summarised in this chart:
Clearly, there’s an advantage for the Tudor Black Bay. Its manufacturing quality is just superb, and certainly better than the other two. The case, the bracelet, the dial, the bezel… Every single part is perfectly executed. The new in-house movement is also a great addition, for a minor increase of price (€ 250 euros extra). The Black Bay is also a great diver, legible and easy to use, and this is not the case for the two others. The Oris, because of its 100m water resistance, and the Longines, because of the lack of visibility in the night and the complex operations indued by the compressor case, are both to be considered as recreational watches. The question of the style remains of course highly personal. All three are beautifully designed, even if the Tudor could be considered as ‘a bit cold’ and maybe too classic for some. It is also the least vintage of the three. The two others are very cool vintage-inspired watches.
Comparing these 3 leads us to grant the victory to Tudor, no matter how we look at it, and despite the higher (although fully justified) price. The Black Bay is better maybe because it is more expensive (or the other way around). Then, if investing over 3,000 Euros is not an option for you, the Oris, because of its coolness, would be our choice… Or a used Black Bay.
- case – stainless steel – 41mm – polished and satined surfaces – unidirectional bezel with aluminum insert – screw down crown – screwed caseback – 200m water resistant
- dial – matte black, domed – applied indexes polished, with white luminous paint – hands polished, with white luminous paint – domed sapphire crystal
- bracelet – stainless steel bracelet, riveted – steel folding clasp – additional fabric strap (also available on aged leather strap)
- movement (since 2016) – in-house MT5602 – COSC certified – self-winding – 70 hours of power reserve – 25 jewels – hours, minutes, seconds
- case – stainless steel – 40mm – polished and satined surfaces – unidirectional bezel with aluminum insert – screw down crown – screwed caseback – 100m water resistant
- dial – glossy black, domed – painted indexes, with aged luminous paint – hands polished, with aged luminous paint – domed sapphire crystal
- bracelet – stainless steel bracelet, riveted with steel folding clasp OR rubber strap with steel pin-buckle OR fabric strap with steel folding clasp
- movement – Oris 733, Sellita SW-200 based – no certifications – self-winding – 38 hours of power reserve – 26 jewels – hours, minutes, seconds, date
- case – stainless steel – 42mm – polished surfaces – compressor construction with internal rotating bezel, actuated by the crown – screw down crowns – screwed caseback – 300m water resistant
- dial – glossy black – painted indexes, with aged luminous paint – hands polished, with aged luminous paint – domed sapphire crystal
- bracelet – fabric strap with steel pin-buckle OR rubber strap with folding clasp
- movement – Cal. L633, ETA 2824-2 based – no certifications – self-winding – 38 hours of power reserve – 25 jewels – hours, minutes, seconds, date