Like many of my fellow watch aficionados, I am constantly scouring the deepest depths of the interwebs hunting for the next rare find. I do this for a variety of reasons, from researching an article to (occasionally) looking to make a purchase— but, most of all, I do it to test my knowledge on watches; to be able to quickly identify counterfeits, re-dials, and “Frankenwatches” (pieces developed post-manufacture from a variety of different parts).
Within this frame, I am constantly encountering cheaply priced “vintage” Oris watches. These pieces are bright and bold— often having unusual (read noxious) color schemes and heavily polished cases. To the dismay of some, these watches are, in most cases, less than authentic (hence the quotes around “vintage” above).
Enter the modern Oris brand with the watch we are training our “Vintage Eye” upon this week: the Oris Diver Sixty-Five. This watch, released at last year’s Baselworld to the surprise and delight of many, was Oris’s distinctive response to the growing vintage-inspired craving the watch world continues to display. Based heavily on a diving watch released by the brand 50 years prior, the Diver Sixty-Five today offers a distinctively replica/retro look, but with all the added benefits of modern manufacturing, a relatively affordable price, and substantial popularity among many aficionados.
The Oris Diver Sixty-Five, available in three different dial variations and with many different strap options, is a faithful revival of the 1965 original. Measuring 40 mm, in a long-lugged steel case, the watch features a relatively thin unidirectional bezel, a solid caseback, and a signed screw-in crown without crown guards. Beneath the domed sapphire crystal is the retro dial featuring faux-patina Super-LumiNova Arabic quarter-hour markers, printed tick marks for the intermediate hours, and a date indicator above the 6 o’clock position. The hour and minute hands are sword-type, using the same faux-patina, while the seconds hand has the familiar lollipop design sometimes seen in vintage dive watches of the ’60s. The piece is powered by the automatic Oris Caliber 733, which uses a Sellita SW 200-1 movement as its base and has a power reserve around 38 hours — an obvious indication this watch is meant for daily wear. If you are currently on the hunt, you would be able to find this piece at a dealer starting around $1,200.
In comparison to the vintage model, this watch is as faithful a re-interpretation as possible without being irresponsible. The bezel is now a more diver-specific — thin and unidirectional instead of the bulkier, bidirectional one on the original; the date indicator is at 6 o’clock instead of 3 o’clock, creating a more balanced look; and the entire piece is finished much more elegantly compared to the techniques used more than 50 years ago. The modern piece on its own is very distinct, and the use of contemporary watchmaking to emphasize its retro style makes it an intriguing piece for newbie and veteran collectors alike.
Furthermore, compared to other modern, vintage-inspired divers, this watch may offer the best value for money out there. Priced similarly to the Zodiac Sea Wolf, and a good amount below comparable timepieces from Longines and Tudor, the Oris Divers Sixty-Five offers an ideal price point for consumers looking for a solid watch from a truly historic brand.
Oris has done a wonderful job introducing this series to the market, and at the same time has added yet another reliable tool watch to its many collections. I can only wonder what move the brand will make next.
For our most recent article, in which I compare modern and vintage examples of the TAG Heuer Monza, click here.
Caleb Anderson is the Director of Outreach at the online vintage watch boutique and blog theoandharris.com. Since starting at Theo & Harris, he has garnered extensive knowledge on vintage watches, and spends much of his time sharing his opinions within the field. Currently located near New York City, he is a persistent student in all things historical, a writer on watches, and a casual runner.