We often hear that trends are an endlessly repetitive cycle. They come, they go and then they come back again. And, like or not, watchmaking cannot escape trends. Look at the array of luxury sports watches or gradient dials introduced recently. So what are the main trends for 2019? One one side we have two-tone watches (even on instrument watches) and on the other side, bronze cases. And what if both were reunited in a single watch? Oris did it, with the Divers Sixty-Five Bi-Colour or “Bico” – and that includes the bracelet too.
Who could have thought that two-tone would become cool again? If you would have asked me five years ago about the return of two-tone steel-and-gold watches, my answer would have been “no way, mate!” (and I would have been one among a thousand to answer that). Two-tone used to be the opposite of cool, the perfect definition of outdated – and not the nice kind of outdated. But… Things have changed and the repetitive cycle of trends came to a point where two-tone is cool again – just think about a two-tone Royal Oak 5402SA and you’ll get my point. It’s an undeniable fact: two-tone watches are all over the place again – something that Rolex certainly appreciates…
On the other side of the 2019 mood board is bronze, a material that was introduced on the scene a few years ago by Panerai and has since made its way over to multiple brands – and that includes Oris, which started to use bronze with the (very) cool Carl Brashear edition and the subsequent chronograph version. Since then, bronze has made it to the regular Divers Sixty-Five collection, mostly on bezels. But at Baselworld 2019, Oris incorporates bronze on the bracelet too creating this unprecedented Bi-Colour model.
Let’s first quickly look at the basics about this watch – obviously, there aren’t many novelties here, with the exception of the materials. The Oris Divers Sixty-Five Bico is based on the classic 40mm version, without the trapezoidal painted hour markers of the inaugural model but with a more mainstream glossy blue dial with applied, rose gold PVD-coated indexes and hands. Mechanics (Calibre 733, based on a Sellita SW200-1) and proportions are still the same too.
The big news here is… the two-tone bracelet in steel and BRONZE! But before explaining why this sounds quite strange, first a note on the reason behind this choice of material. As Co-CEO Rolf Studer explained in our video, Oris wanted to have a two-tone watch but the brand also wanted to stick to its usual affordable pricing. Gold was not an option. The result is just brilliant and perfectly matches the already vintage look of the Sixty-Five. The use of bronze on both the bezel insert (and only the insert, so no risk to see the bezel blocked because of oxidation) and the mid-links on the bracelet works. Period! It looks cool, wears nicely and has true character.
However, you probably have the same question we had when seeing this watch for the first time. Bronze on a bracelet? We often hear that bronze shouldn’t be in direct contact with the skin, for the main reason that this isn’t a stable material. The patina that some like in bronze watches is the result of the oxidation of the material – this green pigment is named verdigris or “vert-de-gris” in French. This explains why most bronze watches have a steel or titanium caseback.
In the case of the Oris Divers Sixty Five Bi-Colour Steel-and-Bronze, we should keep in mind that there is bronze… and bronze. Bronze is an alloy and thus, multiple compositions exist, some more stable than others, some more prone to oxidation than others. Oris states that the alloy of the Divers Sixty-Five will develop only a light patina and that the team has run tests for several months on this bracelet. Last but not least, bronze patina can easily be removed.
The Oris 65 Bico is bold, handsome and certainly the coolest version of this watch to date. Note that it also exists on a leather strap, in case you are 1) scared by the idea of having bronze directly on your skin 2) not so much into two-tone watches yet. Still, the bi-colour bracelet is what makes this watch noticeable. Price is still reasonable at CHF 2,200. More details at oris.ch.