Evolution of the Oris Divers Sixty-Five

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Today, the Oris Divers Sixty-Five stands out as one of the most successful collections in recent years, a retro re-edition that became so much more. I distinctly remember the first time I heard about the Divers Sixty-Five, it was Baselworld 2015, and I had just run into Jason Heaton; watch journalist, diver and all-round great guy. As is the custom at this sort of watch fair meetup, “What have you liked?” is the second or third question asked. I expected Jason to expound his love of the latest technical underwater instrument. Instead, he waxed passionate for an odd little Oris with a funky dial design. It was, of course, the first iteration of the Divers Sixty-Five. At the time it seemed like a cool oddity — little did we suspect just how important this model would be for Oris.

Michael Meier, regional director for Oris, might have had a suspicion of just how popular the Divers Sixty-Five would become. When asked about the collection’s vintage charms, he noted: “The Sixty-Five has its roots firmly in the sixties when we first launched it. We brought it back as a vintage-inspired model and it has since evolved from there.” Evolved is one way of putting it; exploded would perhaps be a more accurate description.

In the years following that initial launch, we saw a steady stream of new versions, each addition gradually refining the premise and the proposition of the new watch with an old soul. We got new dials, new sizes, a tweaked case design and eventually new materials. Somewhere along the way, the watch which started life as a bit of an oddity came to represent not just one of the strongest value propositions in its price point, but also a dominant player that had everything needed to become a force in its own right. So effective is the Sixty-Five’s charm offensive that today, ownership of this versatile performer is something of a rite of passage.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five 12H Caliber 400
Oris Divers Sixty-Five 12H Caliber 400

Of course, most of the attention on this collection has been focused on aesthetics. Sure, there’s a few different sizes on offer, but overwhelmingly, this is a family of watches that leans heavily into style.

Alongside the evolution of the Sixty-Five, Oris was working on developing something special, a caliber capable not just of keeping Oris’ proudly mechanical watches competitive, but also of pushing the brand into new — and exciting — territory. That movement became known as caliber 400, and, a few years in, it looks set to do all of the above, and more. Not only does this smartly designed automatic movement lift power reserve to a massive five days, it brings silicon technology and other antimagnetic properties to the table, and guarantees it all with a mightily impressive 10-year warranty.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five 12H Caliber 400

Oris’ next-generation workhorse debuted in the Aquis, and has been seen in the colorful ProPilot too, but now, inevitably, it’s time for the Divers Sixty-Five to get the cal. 400 treatment. While I have no doubt that we’re going to see a lot of “Sixty-Five/400” options in the coming months and years, Oris had to start with something special. Michael Meier explains, “Of course, using our in-house movement in a very clean and simple style has been requested many times, and we are finally able to add it to the collection. What makes the Sixty-Five caliber 400 unique in the collection is the use of a 12-hour top ring, so the watch can actually be used to show a second time zone. And as with all our caliber 400 models, there’s a print on the dial indicating the power reserve of five days. Apart from this, it’s a pure Sixty-Five, probably the purest version of the family so far.”

With a black dial and steel 40mm case, this Sixty-Five does seem to play comparatively safe compared to some of the more recent bold additions to the collection, but that bezel truly is a revelation. The collection as a whole has taken inspiration from dive watches, but it has never leaned too heavily into the “professional dive watch” territory, which is owned by Aquis. So it makes sense for the collection to play with other uses for that rotating bezel, and a 12-hour display is honestly one of the most useful options out there. It functions much like a pared-back GMT except, instead of reading the second time with an additional hand, you read it off the bezel. Like many of the best things in life, it is simple and effective.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five 12H Caliber 400

The design of the bezel, combined with the execution of the dial, also creates a watch that has less vintage flair than previous offerings. Meier explains this subtle shift: “This particular model may have a less vintage look than other members of the family. Still, the Sixty-Five will always have a bit of a heritage vibe with its style, the domed glass and the aluminum bezel. However, it is not exactly a vintage watch but certainly one that shows deep roots into the history of our brand, and I am confident that our customers will continue to appreciate that.”

Oris Divers Sixty-Five 12H Caliber 400

Perhaps what we’re seeing now is the beginning of the Sixty-Five’s latest evolution. On the inside, we now have the option of the caliber 400 and, on the outside, a gradual shift or update to the overall aesthetics. The Divers Sixty-Five started life as a straight-up retro reissue, today it has grown up, and is more comfortable in its own identity. The historical influence is still very much there, but it’s been tempered by more contemporary elements, making it a better watch for more people. Meier certainly thinks so. “The Sixty-Five family is a great and fun platform to play with different styles, colors and materials, and we do have a few more ideas that we’d like to bring to our community going forward.”

Oris Divers Sixty-Five 12H Caliber 400

Tech Specs

Oris Divers Sixty-Five 12H Caliber 400, Ref: 01 400 7772 4054-07 8 20

Movement: Self-winding caliber 400; 120-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Case: 40mm; stainless steel with 12-hour top ring; water resistant to 100m
Dial: Black; Super-LumiNova filled hour markers
Strap: Black leather with steel pin buckle, or steel bracelet
Price: CHF 3,100 (approx. USD 3,290) on leather strap; CHF 3,300 (USD 3,505) on bracelet