When I think back to 2015, there were two new watches that seemed to pop up all over the place: the Tudor Black Bay and the Oris Divers Sixty Five. And for good reason. Both models are great looking and both are positioned to be affordable. We covered the Sixty Five in all it’s glory here last year. What I was keen to establish was, is it the Sixty Five’s rugged, vintage inspired looks or it’s versatility that attracts a collector? The only way to know is to ask, right? I met up with a good friend, Brice, collector and Managing Editor here at Monochrome-Watches, to find out what he thinks about his own Sixty Five, in this new installment of the Collector’s Series.
Brice, tell us when you bought your Oris Divers Sixty Five?
I received the watch in September 2015 or something like that, so that’s quite a recent purchase. It was delivered to me immediately after the brand officially commercialized it and I was lucky enough to be one of the first to get my hands on it. It’s one of my job’s advantages, as being Managing Editor of a watch magazine. It makes things easier… I ordered it directly from Oris and they’ve been kind enough to deliver it to me extremely fast.
The thing is; I was like a child with this Oris Divers Sixty Five. I first saw it on press photos, when Oris introduced it as a Pre-Baselworld novelty. Then, I’ve seen the watch in the flesh during Baselworld 2015 and I immediately had this feeling: “I have to have one!” Yes, it happens to me quite often in fact, but with this Oris, considering the reasonable price, it was a rather easy dream.
What is it about Oris and the Sixty Five you appreciate?
For this watch, it’s 100% about the look. There’s no real horological content here (except a solid Sellita automatic movement… and considering the vocation of the watch, that’s more than enough). So, for me it was love at first sight because of the design and because of the faithfulness to the vintage watch that inspired it. This Divers Sixty Five is indeed a reissue of a vintage dive watch from Oris. Funny thing is that no one (except a few collectors and some people at Oris) knew about this watch. However, they felt a huge potential here.
What I like best is that Oris kept things relatively precise and faithful to the vintage edition. The case isn’t too big (40mm), the dial is glossy and domed (and clearly, it doesn’t help legibility but on the other hand it looks very cool), the case is slim, the rubber strap looks and feels like old tropics… it feels like a vintage watch with the convenience of modernity. And even if I like the look of vintage watches, I don’t like to wear them. I’m way to scared of breaking them. Spending 35,000 Euros on a vintage Daytona and having a flimsy bracelet in return… Not for me. I need to feel the solidity of a watch.
For this watch, I’ve been going for the look only. And the funny thing is that I’m not the only one. I know a lot of my colleagues, some watch journalists and bloggers, usually as posh as I can be in terms of watches, who love this watch – and many of them actually bought it too. It’s a cool watch, superbly designed, very comfortable on the wrist (the rubber strap is just one of the best I’ve experienced recently). One other thing I love is the versatility of the Divers Sixty Five. Of course, it is basically a tool watch. However, considering its rather small diameter and thin profile, it can easily be worn a bit dressier. I mean, try it on an alligator leather strap… It looks quite classy. Put it on a NATO and it will have a military look. Keep the rubber strap, it looks like a stylish diver.
In your eyes, how has the manufacture evolved in the last few years?
I think Oris has well evolved recently, both in terms of design, of quality and mainly in terms of watchmaking. For sure, Oris had always made nicely designed and solid watches (people mainly know the sports collections, even if the brand also has more classical ranges). However, recently, we’ve seen watches with higher quality of the cases, with ceramic bezels, with sunburst patterns on the dial… You have to consider these features for watches that are relatively affordable. In the 1,000 – 3,000 Euros price segment, Oris is very strongly positioned, with an overall quality that is difficult to deny.
Then, there’s the design. On this subject too, Oris made huge efforts. Of course the Diver Sixty Five is rather special in the collection, as it is a vintage inspired watch, something that is not very usual for Oris. However, it also shows the path that the brand wants to take for the coming years. And when you look at the other collections, design-wise, it is quite nice.
Finally, Oris made something big in terms of watchmaking. Before, Oris watches were all featured with reliable but outsourced movements. Nothing wrong in that. An ETA or a Sellita movement is good in a dive watch. It is robust, easy to service, accurate enough and allows to have reasonable prices. And for instance, the Sixty Five has such a movement. However, in 2014, they introduced an in-house movement, with a 10-day power reserve coming from a single barrel and with a non-linear power reserve indicator. Quite a cool movement to be frank. Of course, I don’t see it as something compulsory from a brand like Oris but on the other hand, it also proves that they really know how to make watches.
What does the future hold for Oris and does the future of a brand ever cross your mind when buying a new watch?
I think that the Sixty Five opened the door for a more inspired design at Oris. Previous watches were nice, but not striking. I can tell you that the Sixty Five was certainly in the 3 most discussed watches at Baselworld 2015, alongside with the Patek Calatrava Pilot and the OsyterFlex bracelet of Rolex (well, it’s Rolex… A rubber strap can make night-long talks…). Anyway, Oris made some noise with this watch and it was highly expected by collectors because, for once, one of Baselworld’s stars was accessible.
So I’m expecting more of these cool designs from the brand. I’m also expecting them to show more watchmaking skills, maybe by developing new movements or new modules to be adapted on existing movements, always with reasonable prices in mind.
For the second part of your question, Justin, it’s quite difficult to answer. Of course, we all care about the future of a brand when buying a watch, as you don’t especially want to buy a timepiece from a brand close to bankrupt. On the other hand, brands that are in good shape are in this position because of their products. It is not only marketing. Good products usually mean good future. So in a way, yes, I’m looking at interesting products and then, at the future of the brand.
How does it feel on the wrist?
Superb. It is well built. The case is very well finished considering the price, the bezel feels sharp and solid, the caseback is nicely engraved. It feels slim enough, even if the overall watch isn’t slim, as the crystal is highly domed, but the case itself is very slim. In fact, I don’t mind because this crystal alone is such a beauty.
Then you have the rubber strap. I usually don’t like rubber strap because they are stiff, they are dust-magnets and they make me sweat. The one on the Oris Divers Sixty Five is simply one of the best I’ve experienced recently – except the OsyterFlex from Rolex (it again…) which simply is the best rubber strap ever made. On the Diver Sixty Five, it is super-supple, it nicely designed (looking like old tropic straps) and it won’t end full of dust.
Overall, I really enjoy this watch when casually dressed (and even not so casually, as it looks quite cool on a leather strap). Diameter is really good and for the price, you’ll get all you need.
If you could, would you change anything about the watch?
I would change the crown. It feels solid, its design is good and it is pleasant to use. However, notches are too sharp and it hurts me a bit after a day of wearing. Oris should make it smoother, especially because there’s no crown protection.
Something else that sometimes irritates me is the glossy dial. In certain light situations, it reflects all your environment and it gets difficult to read. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t see this watch with a matte dial… Yes, I’m picky here.
How do you feel about taking tool watches into the wild? Have you ever dived with it on for example?
I’m very comfortable with that. I brought my Speedmaster in the desert during an adventurous road trip (and I properly scratched the crystal), my Breguet Type XX is full of marks and I use my Black Bay as a summer watch, to go to the beach, in water or to sail. On the other hand, I don’t dive, so I buy dive watches more for the look (and that’s why I don’t care about the 100m water resistance of the Oris).
I’m not scared of scratches and dust. I have other watches made to be worn with a suit. I use my tool watches as tools. However, I do understand that some people are extremely precautious with their timepieces. It remains expensive objects and for most people, such a watch is a huge investment. To each his own.
What, if anything, do others point out about the watch when it’s on the wrist?
Reactions are actually very positive. People, even those who usually prefer dress watches, point this watch as very good looking. It all depends on the way you wear it. It remains quite traditional with however, a few original details (indexes, glossy and domed dial, good looking case, well dimensioned) that make it quite different.
What 3 words come to mind when you think of the Sixty Five?
Cool, vintage, inspired.
Finally, I always have to ask, is it a keeper?
Tough question. Honestly, I have no clue. I’ll probably keep it for a while but I know myself too much… I’m always looking for something new. It could probably go away from my collection to finance another beauty. Time will tell.