Oris has been making watches bearing the designation “waterproof” since 1949, and started offering the Super Diver shortly after the Rolex Submariner (or was it the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms?) originated the genre in 1953. Left in the shadow cast by those two, Oris continued to make solid underwater timekeepers – with Kif anti-shock systems – trusted by professional divers around the world. With summer just around the corner, they’ve just launched three new dive watches – one heritage update, and two limited editions, proving that half a century later, they are still making strong diving instruments.
First up is the Oris Divers Sixty-Five. Based on a diving watch made by Oris in – you’ve guessed it – 1965, the Sixty-Five made a handsome return last year, when the company introduced this very cool retro-inspired diver. Then came a blue-dial version and a bronze limited edition dedicated to the U.S. Navy’s first African American master diver, Carl Brashear. In 2016, the collection continues to grow with a new model in a style suggestive of early dive watches.
In terms of design, the latest iteration has all the good things true divers, as well as more terrestrial beings, like about this kind of tool watch: a rotating bezel with a 60-minute timer, some large and legible hour markers, hands filled with Superluminova, and proven water resistance.
While the color of the dial strongly mimics that of deep waters, water resistance for the new Sixty-Five is limited to “only” 100 meters. Oris still makes chunkier and more rugged instruments, with depth gauges and other tools meant for more technically oriented divers. And of course, it’s worth pointing out that ISO 6425, the international standard for diver’s watches, specifies 100-meter water resistance as the minimum – and of note as well is that recreational diving typically is limited to 30-40 meters.
The 42 mm stainless-steel case has a very attractive profile, with slim components and a retro bubble-curved sapphire crystal. A subtle but very cool throwback is the engraving of Oris emblem from 1965 on the case back of the watch.
Inside, the watch is powered by an automatic movement based on a Sellita SW 200-1, with a date placed at 3 o’clock. All things considered, this is a sturdy timepiece, with good looks and interesting provenance. For the same price (the Oris Divers Sixty-Five is CHF 1,900), you’d be hardpressed to find better alternatives, though the Longines Legend Diver ($2,300) and the Tudor Heritage Black Bay ($3,100) provide some strong competition (as of course, do the under-$500 Prospex divers from Seiko). A large choice of straps is available for the Divers Sixty-Five, including a vintage-inspired leather strap and a water-friendly black rubber strap.
Next are two limited editions, both very different takes on the Oris Aquis, the go-to diver in the company’s catalogue. In Australia, Oris has partnered with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) to help protect and preserve the Great Barrier Reef by funding the charity’s work through sales of the newly launched Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition II. A 46 mm day-date, the watch is made in stainless steel and is water resistant to 500 meters.
In the Spanish Canary Islands meanwhile, Oris is backing the scholarships of three university students at the Faculty of Marine Sciences at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) to support their research of El Hierro’s submarine volcanic activity. The sombre watch, named after the volcano, is essentially a DLC-coated, limited edition of the Oris Aquis. The 43 mm dive watch is again powered by an automatic movement based on a Sellita SW 200-1, but this time, the date window is placed at 6 o’clock. It will be limited to 2,000 pieces, is available from May, and will be priced CHF 1,950.
For more information, visit Oris online.
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