Oris Divers Sixty-Five: A Review of the Vintage-Inspired Collection

Oris Divers Sixty-Five: A Review of the Vintage-Inspired Collection

The Oris Divers Sixty-Five collection has found a receptive and substantial audience since its introduction in 2015, firmly establishing itself as one the Swiss brand's most versatile and creatively innovative product families. Whether it's the retro appeal of its original 1960s design, the exclusivity of the Carl Brashear editions, or the playful pastels of the Cotton Candy models, the Oris Diver Sixty-Five has something for just about any type of watch enthusiast. Here is a comprehensive rundown of the line, from its mid-sixties inspiration to today. 

1965: The Original Waterpoof

Oris Waterproof Dive Watches 1965

Oris started making watches in 1904 in the Swiss town of Hölstein, where it is still based today. The brand made its first purpose-built dive watch in 1965, naming it the Oris Waterproof and targeting the era’s growing masses of recreational diving enthusiasts — many of whom were likely seeking a more affordable alternative to prohibitively priced genre pioneers like the Rolex Submariner and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. The Waterproof was a product of its time, with a case made of chromium-plated brass, a crystal made of Plexiglas, and a strap made of sturdy but decidedly non-luxurious black rubber. The case, with a dive-scale bezel that rotated in both directions, measured a rather modest 36mm and housed a manually wound mechanical movement, the 17-jewel Oris Caliber 654; at the time, Oris made most of its own movements in-house. This historical divers’ model (above, right), while never attaining the enduring market popularity of several of its contemporaries, nevertheless paved the way for all the Oris dive watch families to follow. Up until fairly recently, most of those timepieces were variations on the more contemporarily-designed Aquis series, but in 2015, with the renaissance of mid-20th-Century vintage watch designs in full swing, Oris revisited the model that started it all.

2015: The Retro Reissue

Oris Divers Sixty-Five original 2015 

With its first version of the Oris Divers Sixty-Five (above, named for the year of its inspiration’s release), Oris strove for just the right balance between faithfully reviving the aesthetics of the 1960s Waterproof model and enticing a modern audience accustomed to high-end finishing, larger dimensions, and technical reliability. The case was larger, at 40mm, and made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel with brushed and polished finishing. The crystal was made of scratchproof sapphire with non-reflective treatment and an ergonomic bubble-curved surface. The divers’ bezel was now unidirectional, which made it safer to use for actual diving, and featured an inlay made of black aluminum. The dial’s hands and indexes, which were filled with mildly radioactive tritium on the original model, went for an “aged” look with their “Light Old Radium” Super-LumiNova that emits a beige glow in the dark. As on the 1960s model, the caseback was solid and engraved with the same historical Oris logo. The screw-down crown ensured a water-resistance to 100 meters, and Oris went for modern versatility in the watch’s presentation on the wrist, offering it on a steel link bracelet, a rubber strap, or a black textile NATO-style strap. The response from watch enthusiasts convinced Oris that they had a hit on their hands, one that could quickly branch out from being a niche one-off project to a versatile product family. 

Oris Divers Sixty-Five

Price: $2,200 - $2,450, Case Size: 40mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Oris 733 (Sellita SW 200-1 base)

2016: The Bronze Age Begins; First Carl Brashear Tribute

Carl Brashear U.S. Navy Photo

The original Divers Sixty-Five, with its black dial and bezel, soon had colorful company, with Oris launching new models with blue and green colorways; the retro dial aesthetic also gave way to a more classical diving configuration, with an assortment of geometrical hour markers and a date window. In 2016, one year after its debut, the model was awarded its own special edition, one that forever linked both brand and model to a milestone in military diving. The first Carl Brashear Limited Edition paid tribute to its namesake (above), the first African-American Master Diver and U.S. Navy Diver, who managed both accomplishments despite having his left leg amputated after a diving accident. (You may remember seeing Brashear’s story dramatized in the 2000 movie Men of Honor, with Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the lead role.) It was also the first Oris dive watch with a bronze case and bezel, bronze being a metal used historically in diving equipment, like the helmets that Carl Brashear wore during his career in the 1950s through the ‘70s.

Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition

The model (above), limited to 2,000 pieces, was larger than the original Divers Sixty-Five, at 42mm, and featured a midnight-blue dial and a solid steel caseback that bore an engraving of Brashear’s motto: “It’s not a sin to get knocked down; it’s a sin to stay down.” Bronze would play a role in other Divers Sixty-Five editions in the coming years, including several that continued to pay homage to Brashear. Like the Divers Sixty-Five of the previous year, this model contained the automatic, Selllita-based Oris Caliber 733. 

2019: Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph, BiColor Bronze and Steel

Oris Divers Sixty-Five BiCo 

Oris further expanded the material options of the Divers Sixty-Five in 2019 with the launch of the “BiCo” edition, which combined a corrosion-resistant steel case and bracelet with a dive-scale bezel insert and bracelet center links made of bronze, carrying forth the spirit of the megapopular Brashear models while still keeping the watch rooted in its utilitarian origins. The geometrical indexes with beige luminous coating contrast with the deep ocean-blue dial, which features a subtle date window at 6 o’clock. 

Oris Divers Sixty-Five

Also making their debut in 2019 were the first serially produced chronograph models in the Divers Sixty-Five collection. Once again, it was a Carl Brashear limited edition in bronze that tested the waters (no pun intended), back in 2018. The first unlimited Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph (above) used bronze only for the rotating divers’ bezel and stainless steel for most everything else, including the case  — larger than than that of the three-handed models, at 43mm — bracelet, crown, and vintage-style pump pushers for the chronograph function. The dial is in a two-register style, with subdials at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock for elapsed minutes and running seconds. Powering the watch’s functions is another Sellita-based automatic movement, called the Oris 771, which offers a 48-hour power reserve.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five BiCo

Price: $2,300 - $2,550, Case Size: 40mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Oris 733 (Sellita SW 200-1 base)

2021: Cotton Candy, Turquoise, and Caliber 401

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy

The Divers Sixty-Five took its retro tool-watch aesthetic into softer-edged territory, and pushed the boundaries in its use of bronze components, with 2021’s “Cotton Candy” editions (above). Boasting cases as well as three-link bracelets in bronze, the models are defined by their pastel-colored dials in “sky blue,” “wild green,” and “lipstick pink” and by their 38mm- diameter case dimensions, which Oris has described as “intentionally unisex.” The watches — the brand’s first all-bronze models in serial production, after the 2020 Hölstein Limited Edition paved the way —  feature relief dive-scale bezels and domed sapphire crystals over the dials and each offers the same 100-meter water resistance as their larger siblings in the Divers Sixty-Five series.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Gray Turquoise

Beating inside each model is the Sellita-based automatic Caliber 733, which is hidden behind a steel caseback. The year was a watershed of new, bold colorways for the model, with a 40mm steel version (above) also launching with a gradient gray dial highlighted by luminous details in bright turquoise.

Oris Carl Brashear LE 2021

Yet another Carl Brashear Limited Edition also dropped in 2021, clad in the now-customary bronze livery and dark blue dial, but particularly notable for being the first watch in the steadily growing Divers Sixty-Five family with an Oris in-house movement, more details on which are below. The 2021 model (above) is distinguished by its small seconds sundial at 6 o’clock in place of the customary central seconds hand, and by its custom-designed, color-coordinated, woven-nylon NATO strap from Erika’s Originals, a boutique maker of straps and other accessories in the Netherlands.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy (Bronze)

Price: $2,600 - $2,900, Case Size: 38mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Oris 733 (Sellita SW 200-1 base)

2022: Diving Traveler: Divers Sixty-Five 12H Calibre 400

Oris Divers Sixty-Five 12H Calibre 400Oris has made a gradual return to in-house movement making in the years following the quartz crisis (more detail on that history here), and introduced its first automatic movement, Caliber 400, to great fanfare in 2020. The movement, which made its debut inside an Aquis model, represents new heights of technical innovation and user-friendliness. Its two mainspring barrels hold a 120-hour (five-day) power reserve, its silicon parts contribute to an extreme magnetic resistance to 2,500 gauss (that’s more than the 1,000 gauss of the Rolex Milgauss, a watch noted for its antimagnetic properties), and its highly efficient gear train reduces energy consumption for a mainspring barrel torque of 85 percent, more than the 70 percent of most automatic movements. On top of all that, Caliber 400 is COSC-certified for chronometric performance and carries a 10-year warranty. Oris installed Caliber 400 into a Divers Sixty-Five for the first time in 2022 (its offshoot with a small seconds display, Caliber 401, preceded it the previous year in yet another Carl Brashear Limited Edition), and marked the milestone by adding a new element of functionality. The Divers Sixty-Five 12H Calibre 400 (above) has the familiar 40mm steel case, black dial with luminous indexes, and fluted, screw-down crown, but replaces the traditional divers’ bezel with a bidirectional 12-hour version that offers a simple but practical means of reading the time in a second time zone via the main hour hand. 

Oris Divers Sixty-Five 12H Calibre 400

Price: $3,700 - $3,900, Case Size: 40mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Oris Caliber 400

2023: Cotton Candy in Steel, Chronograph Update

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy - steel

Always a watch brand attuned to the desires of its core customers, Oris rolled out two Divers Sixty-Five models those customers had been clamoring for in 2023: a version of the unisex Cotton Candy in a more understated stainless steel case and a smaller, more wearable version of the Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph. The former (above) expands the pastel palette in the collection’s 38mm cases, with the same appealing dial shades offered in the bronze line. The latter watch (below) now comes in a 40mm steel case, trimmed down from its 43mm predecessor. The movement is the same — the Oris 771, based on the Sellita 510 — and the dial’s bicompax aesthetic is also unchanged. What’s new in addition to the more modest dimensions is the option of a black leather strap, made of sustainably sourced deer leather by the Swiss leather-goods firm Cervo Volante, an Oris partner.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy (Steel)

Price: $2,350 - $2,550, Case Size: 38mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Oris 733 (Sellita SW 200-1 base)

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph

Price: $4,200 - $4,400, Case Size: 40mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Oris 771 (Sellita SW 510 base)

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