The Oris Divers 65 is easily one of the most successful watches of the last few years. With nearly every brand trying, Oris actually nailed the vintage throw-back watch, making it stand out from the crowd. Adored by collectors and well regarded by reviewers, it’s funky, drawing on a strange design from their archives that just shouts 60’s, but properly updated for modern times with a larger, but tempered 40mm case and incredible domed sapphire crystal. In the end it’s a great everyday sport watch for those who want a little more personality on their wrist, or want something vintage without going vintage.
Naturally we reviewed it about a year ago, but today we get to take a look at a really cool new limited edition version of the Divers 65 made specifically for Topper Jewelers of California. Unlike many boutique editions one sees in the world of luxury watches, this one was not designed to flaunt the name Topper, in fact their name only appears once, and it’s on the case back. Rather, it was designed to further push the Divers 65’s vintage aesthetic and address some of the nit-picky details that only enthusiasts are concerned with.
As such, enthusiast were consulted. Rob Caplan of Topper Jewelers set out to create this LE with the help of some well noted collectors, namely Eric Singer the drummer from Kiss, and Michael Martin, a mod on International Watch League. I spoke to both Rob and Eric on the phone about their goals with LE and the theme was clear; more vintage inspired details and no date. The former is spread through the watch, but the latter is a simple and obvious difference between the normal and Topper models.
Hands-On with the Oris Divers 65 Topper Limited Edition
CaseStainless SteelMovementSellita SW200DialDomed blackLumeYesLensDomed SapphireStrapSteel and RubberWater Resistance100Dimensions40 x 47.9mmThickness12.86mmLug Width20mmCrown7mmWarrantyYesPrice$2199
Date windows. They are a tough nut to crack in the world of watches. I feel like I’m constantly critiquing the design, or lack there of, of date windows and disks on watches that just don’t need them. Are dates sometimes convenient? Sure. Do they help sell watches to average consumers? Probably. But do they belong on every watch? Simply no. Now, on the Divers 65, the date honestly doesn’t bother me. They put it at 6, kept it small, lined it up with an index and used a black date wheel. It’s one of the least bothersome of perhaps unnecessary date windows out there. But, it does cut into the 6-block, which is the one detail that annoys.
So, for the LE it had to go. Eric was particularly vehement about this, also bringing up the general lack of usefulness of a date window under water. Obviously, many an iconic dive watch has had a date window over the years (I’m looking at you Submariner), but the point could still be made. Back to the watch, not only did they remove the date window from the dial, they actually removed the date from the movement. As such, the crown only pulls out one stop, and there is no mysterious click at midnight. This is particularly cool for a limited edition, as Oris actually modified the movement (Sellita base) for it. Aesthetically, no more cut into the 6, and the dial just feels a little bit cleaner. Remarkably, this makes the Topper LE the first non-date Oris dive watch ever. Yes, ever.
That’s just one difference, but there are several others. Sticking to the dial, the typefaces and text have changed. The Oris Automatic logo has lost the line between the two words, and the typeface for Automatic has changed to be more like the 60’s model, though it would have originally said Waterproof. Legally, they couldn’t do that again, so just a typeface change was made. Similarly, above 6 the text that read “Water Resistant 10bar/100M” has been replaced with “Anti-shock 26 Jewels”. The logic here is the same, make is closer to the original, but also to address one of the gripes some people have with the watch.
100m water resistant is plenty for you and me, assuming you’re not an aggro diver. You can go swimming with it, snorkel, etc… Saturation dive? No, but you’re not wearing a throw-back dive watch for that either. Nevertheless, it’s on the low side for a modern dive watch, which average 200m+. So, they thought, if it’s not a detail worth flaunting, why put it on the dial? Ultimately, “Anti-shock” and “26 jewels” aren’t important either, but they are what’s literally on the 60’s source.
The next detail is an easy one to miss, but one that has a great effect in my eyes. On the non-LE 65 “Swiss Made” is placed within the white circular index at the center of the dial, flanking the date window. On the LE, they move that to the edge of the dial, with one word on each side of the bottom of the 6-block. This allows the white index to be complete, giving you all 60-minutes of marks. It looks great, balancing out the dial just a little bit more.
Next, we have the introduction of a little color to the watch. The lume pip on the bezel has been turned from white to orange to reflect the bezel of the 60’s model. The tip of the seconds hand has then been painted orange as well. This was more of a general 60’s diver detail than a specific Oris one, and it works aesthetically. The most interesting aspect of the orange is that they specifically chose a tone that looks as though it has aged a bit, and faded. By doing this, it meshes better with the tritium colored lume of the dial.
The last alteration is to the bezel itself. Rather than having a black edge, they kept it polished steel. This is the only intentional diversion from the original 60’s model, which had a single piece, black bezel. At first, I was torn on a bit on this detail. I like how the black edge on the non-LE looks, giving that version a two tone feel, and helping break up the height of the watch from the side a bit. The steel looks more common, but also dresses the watch up a bit. It might also make it look a bit smaller from above. I honestly can’t decide between the two, so clearly one can’t go wrong with either.
Changes aside, the Diver 65 Topper LE comes with both a tropical rubber strap and a rivet bracelet. The bracelet is a new option from Oris that was released since our last review, so let’s check it out. To start, it’s a perfect conceptual match for the watch, extending the vintage look around the wrist. Like other rivet bracelets, it features the tell-tale plates and rivets on the sides of each link as well as stepped taper. The whole bracelet is brushed, a big plus, including the plates on the side, so they don’t add any bling. They look great, adding some texture when viewed from the side.
The taper is the real winner though. Going from 20mm to 14mm, it’s a very exaggerated taper with a dramatic effect. I think it looks great, taking the taper all the way down the side of the wrist, and making for a very thin clasp on the underside of your wrist. When your move your hand around this goes a long way to prevent any digging in of the bracelet. My one complaint about the bracelet is that the links are hard to change. They are push through pins with collars that require some skill and patience to deal with. The removable links also lack rivets and plates, interrupting the design. In this regard, I think Tudor’s solution for the Black Bay was better, with plates and single-sided screw bars. That said, the bracelet is a welcome addition to the watch.
On the wrist, the Topper LE wears very well, as to be expected. It’s not a dramatically different experience by any means, with only the steel rim of the bezel perhaps effecting its wrist presence. The 40mm case fits very nicely on my 7” wrist, and the watch is comfortable through out the day. The bracelet really does add to the package, and was easily my preferred option when testing it out. The rubber looks great too, but the bracelet just builds even more on the character of this already stylish watch.
Overall, Topper Jewelers and crew made a bunch of small changes that do add up to a cleaner feeling watch. I hate to label one better or worse, as both are genuinely great, but the Topper edition does address some of those idiosyncratic issues that us enthusiasts have, making it the version that’s more tuned to our tastes. The fact that there are only 100 is a bit cruel in fact, as this the version many are going to want to have. The Topper edition comes with both the rubber strap and the bracelet, so no need to choose, and comes in at $2,199, just a bit over the bracelet only addition. If you’ve been waiting to pick up a Divers 65, perhaps debating that date window, here’s your chance to get the version that was meant for you.