What makes a watch cool? Difficult question that might lead to multiple answers and many more questions, each different considering who’s answering the question. Defining the coolness (or the attraction, to use a more grammatically correct word) of a watch is all about subjective attributes, led by personal tastes, personal needs or personal budget. However, sometimes a watch appears to be cool to (almost) everyone. The new Oris Divers Sixty Five has numerous tangible reasons to explain this with its stunning price / quality / coolness ratio. Throwback on one of the stars of Baselworld 2015.
What does the Oris Divers Sixty Five has more than other dive watches? Technically, nothing. We can even argue that it’s a poor diver watch, with its 100m water resistance. Movement-wise, it’s also a very simple – however robust and functional – timepiece, that features the Calibre 733, based on a Sellita movement (an ETA-clone). After that, you’d probably ask yourself why? Why we defined this Oris Divers Sixty Five as one stars of our cool wall (Top Gear’s audience will understand the reference)? For all the rest, especially the design, the details, the feeling on the wrist, the consistence and faithfulness to the vintage watch that inspired it.
Let’s begin with the inspiration. Usually, Oris tends to create modern watches with a robust, functional and toolish aspect. Nothing wrong with that, as most of the pilot or dive watches from the Oris collection are great watches, with a superb quality and an interesting price. If you’re looking for a dive watch, you can go for this Oris Aquis Date, that combines a 300m water resistance, a ceramic bezel, a very nice gradient blue dial with applied indexes, a solid and well finished case / bracelet and an automatic movement for 1.400 Euros. You can also choose the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge that features for 2.800 Euros a 500m water resistance, the same overall quality and an intelligent (yet extremely simple in the execution – that’s where you also recognize the strength of a brand) depth gauge. Finally, if you’re into pilot watches, you can go for the Oris Big Crown ProPilot, the first automatic watch to feature a mechanical Altimeter for just 2.900 Euros. You see, Oris does mechanically intelligent watch with interesting features, modern designs together with a reasonable retail price.
This Oris Divers Sixty Five is slightly different, as we’re talking of a vintage-inspired watch, meaning not the usual suspect from Oris. Of course, some watches from the classical collection use clues from the 1950s or 1960s but this Sixty Five goes a step further, by being a pure re-edition – modernized of course but extremely faithful to its roots. It is inspired by a rare and almost forgotten dive watch that Oris launched in 1965 – which you can see here. For the story, a member of the Oris team is the proud owner of an example of this watch. Seeing a huge potential here, the brand decided to create a new watch fully inspired by its ancestor.
Except few concessions to modernity (materials and size), this watch feels (transpires) the vintage inspiration. Somehow, we’re getting kind of bored with all these watches that are using vintage design clues with no real consistency or no proper links with the history of the brand. Reading press releases is sometimes a fun exercise, as some brands use hypothetic vintage inspirations to hide a lack of inventiveness. Here, with the Oris Divers Sixty Five – just like the Longines Legend Diver, its main competitor – it just works. Comparing the old one and the modern one is like playing to ‘Spot the difference‘, considering how close these two are.
As said, concessions to modernity exist. The size and materials are of course different. The case now measure 40mm instead of 36mm for the vintage edition – a size that remains however reasonable. It uses modern stainless steel (something common nowadays, but do not forget that the vintage one, like many other watches from this era, was made from chromium-plated brass). The look however is extremely similar and Oris even brings back the domed crystal, this time made in sapphire and not in Plexiglas – a really qualitative choice considering the high price of such domed sapphire crystals – and a very good-looking one too.
The dial, the bezel and the hands are also faithful to the vintage edition. The 4 main indexes with Roman numerals are using the same squared font and are painted with a faux-patina colour (as well as the hands). The black glossy dial is also slightly domed, again a feature reminiscent of vintage watches. The unidirectional bezel resembles the vintage one with a black aluminum insert with 60-minute timer and triangular zero marker. It is pleasant to use due to deep notches (that allows a good grip, even with diving gloves) and 60 neat clicks. Same goes for the oversized screw down crown.
Technically, the Oris Divers Sixty Five could be seen as outdated. Its 100m water resistance is certainly its main default, considering that almost all the dive watches are now offering a 300m water resistance. However, who really uses their watches to such depth. Professional divers that go under 100m meters are certainly choosing other types of watches, professionally oriented pieces, like an Omega Ploprof or a Rolex DeepSea. Clearly, this poor water resistance is not an obstacle for us. Also comes the question of the movement. This watch features an ETA-Clone (Sellita SW200). Once again, for those who will argue that this movement is void of exclusivity, we’ll answer that it’s again a fake obstacle. The point of Oris is not to have complicated, in-house movement (well, not in such watches but they also have this kind of movements in the Oris 110 years). Having a simple movement is coherent in the context of the Oris Divers Sixty Five, first because the quality, the robustness and the simplicity of servicing is unbeatable and then because it allows to contain the price, making this watch accessible to all kind of collectors and watch lovers.
Once on the wrist, there’s no doubt to have anymore. This watch is definitely cool. Whether we’re talking about the dimensions, about the look, about the design and feel of the very soft rubber strap (that resembles an old tropic strap), every aspect just work. Again, it’s impossible to define the coolness of a watch with tangible arguments but this watch is creating this feeling.
Oris teams have done a complete job with this dial, case, strap, markers and crystal. They even improved the watch a bit by displaying the date more discreetly – it is printed on a black disc in a small window at 6. The final hammer blow: the retail price of 1.600 Euros. Note that it is also available with a fabric NATO strap. More details on Oris.ch.