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Oris Diver 65: Back to Basics

Le 28 November 2015

Oris. A company created over a century ago near Basel, Switzerland, and which has since created numerous models and movements, some of them even labeled certified chronometers as early as 1968 by the Neuchatel Observatory. A sign of genuine legitimacy in both design and development of tool-watches, for aviation or scuba diving alike. Characterized by very technical parts inside large watch bodies, usually always with neoprene bands, they’re not always the ideal piece that will comfortably slip under the sleeve placket of your poplin double twisted cotton dress shirt.

Today, it’s a diver’s watch that caught our eye, an extremely accurate re-edition of an Oris Diver from 1965, a watch which you’re probably familiar with. It’s evocative name leaves no room for doubt: Oris Diver 65.

Oris diver 65

First impression: This watch is charming, and its vintage feel goes beyond its luminova highlights. This re-edition is truly loyal to a fault to the model that was already swimming beneath the oceans 50 years earlier. The finish is just right: not too excessive for a tool-watch. It is worth noting that the size of the casing went from 36 to 40mm. 38 or 39mm would have sufficed for this beauty of a diver to be able to adapt to modern times, but 40mm is still quite reasonable, and ideal for many (including me).

The Casing

The 40mm screw-down case back is polished, along with the signed crown (as opposed to the original model). The uni-directional bezel is made of steel, but the insert is made of aluminum in order to be faithful to the original and obtain the silver tint of the markings, which the use of ceramic would have dimmed along with increasing production costs. Wise decision.

The exaggerated curve of the sapphire glass does a good job of reproducing the form of a 1960s plexiglass, which we’re really happy with. The watch movement is a Sellita SW200, modified by ORIS. It’s trustworthy and doesn’t require any overpriced maintenance. It can be serviced or repaired by any watchmaker and spare parts are easy to come by (keeping with the tool-watch mindset).

In order to go from the 1965 model to today’s automatic movement, all the while maintaining a reasonable casing thickness faithful to its original proportions (12,86mm), Oris had to limit the impermeability of this Diver 65 to 100 meters. Diver purists will claim that that doesn’t make it a diver watch anymore and technically they’ll be right (the standard is 200 meters minimum). Regardless, I’m taking the Oris developers’ side for this decision, for several reasons:

First off, the 10ATM impermeability is already largely enough to be able to wash hands or to swim a few lengths in your pool in the morning and not be late to work. And secondly, this watch in any case wouldn’t be their first pick to go deep water diving. Finally, this decision was made in order to remain faithful to the design and personality of the original, which clearly would have lost its touch with a casing 15 millimeters thick. Thank you gentlemen for this wise and judicious decision!

The Watch Face

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. Keeping with that mentality, Oris even reproduced the 1960s tritium hue. A classic and fashionable process lately, but which still works really well. Yet another good mark for the gentlemen in the design department.

In my humble opinion, another visual element was improved upon compared to the 1965 model: the position and the color of the date window were modified. The window moves from 3 to 6 o’clock and the display is now black. The result? It all fits perfectly on the watch face, only slightly encroaching on the luminova of the 6.

The dagger-shaped watch hands remain faithful to the original model and the “lollipop” design of the second hand allows for excellent legibility in the dark, along with a retro and old-fashioned charm which we can appreciate.

The Strap

The rubber Tropic-style watch strap is quite simply the most comfortable and flexible Tropic strap I’ve ever had the chance to wear. The characteristic “criss-cross” imprints probably could have been slightly more pronounced in order to really mirror the Tropic straps of the 1960s, but the flexibility and comfort of this strap easily make up for this slight esthetic oversight.

And by the way, with a lug width of 20mm (another ideal size), you can easily slide in all of your Nato, leather or fabric straps, you’ll see, we tried them out and and they all looked nice on this watch…

Ideal wearing situations

If you haven’t figured it out yet, myself and the whole Rhabilleurs team was won over by this re- edition, loyal to a fault to the original and its spirit.

This diver has a real personality, its proportions are perfect and at 1,600 euros, it’s at the very bottom of a price range that includes this kind of finish, simple design with a bold personality, all coming from a renowned Swiss company”

Oris diver 65

Quite honestly, this watch is real chameleon that can adapt to many different situations. With a sober gray or military green Nato band, it transforms into a true tool-watch that can be worn leisurely, whether commuting to work and listening to the OST of The Big Blue on your iPod, or trying out free diving near the island of Cyprus following in the footsteps of Herbert Nitsch. Try out an original Tropic strap or a nice leather Nato strap, and you’ll be able to wear it to your cousin’s marriage in Tenerife along with your navy blue suit and white dress shirt. No tie, naturally, but instead with a pocket square of good taste, you’ll subtly communicate the following message to whomever possesses enough finesse to catch it:

“Elegance and sophistication, granted, but never at the cost of efficiency”
Your watch says it all, you’re ready to accept any challenge and to go on a dangerous mission at any moment if necessary.

Make sure to let them know though, with your legendary composure, that you’ll be back in time for dessert, you won’t miss the wedding cake or your first dance with Svetlana, that mysterious cellist who was just introduced to you. Oh James…