Geneva Watch Days takes place in the Swiss cultural capital from Monday, August 29, to Thursday, September 1, 2022, so stay tuned to HODINKEE in the days ahead for detailed coverage of all the top releases, from brands such as Bulgari, MB&F, Oris, Urwerk, and many more.
What We Know
Oris just announced a pretty sweet tool watch as part of Geneva Watch Days, which kicked off today in Switzerland. The new release is part of the main Divers Sixty-Five collection, features the company’s in-house-designed caliber 400, and has an unexpected bezel format, featuring 12 one-hour markers.
Believe it or not, today’s release is actually the very first Divers Sixty-Five with the caliber 400 to enter serial production. Oris originally included the new movement solely in the Aquis Date family, but we gradually saw the caliber 400 make its way into a number of limited-release Divers Sixty-Five and Big Crown Pointer Date models, including last year’s Divers Sixty-Five Caliber 400 Limited Edition for HODINKEE.
The stainless steel Divers Sixty-Five Caliber 400 12H has a slightly larger profile than our recent collaboration with Oris (40mm × 12.8mm versus 38mm × 12.6mm), but it is a mainline production release that is not limited to any specific number. The choice of a 12-hour bezel is a compelling and highly functional one, recalling vintage tool watches such as the Benrus Type I and the Heuer Autavia ref. 2446. Just to be clear, a 12-hour bezel is empirically not a dive bezel, but what it does allow is a particularly low-key and useful way of tracking a second-time zone without requiring a specific GMT or world-time complication.
The black aluminum, 120-click bezel insert moves bidirectionally, so all you need to do is select a relevant time zone outside your current one and align the zero marker on the bezel with the difference – no need to pull the crown out and adjust the time. For instance, I’m currently in Switzerland for Geneva Watch Days, which is six hours ahead of my colleagues in New York. I would adjust the bezel 60 clicks from 12 o’clock, to where it’s now aligned with the traditional six o’clock position on the dial. Once that’s completed, I can now tell my local time in Switzerland by where the hour and minute hand are positioned related to the hour markers on the dial, and then I can see the time in New York by where the hour and minute hand are located related to the bezel’s position. Not too shabby, eh?
Outside the bezel orientation, the latest Divers Sixty-Five is fairly straightforward in its styling cues, featuring a simple, matte black dial, applied hour markers filled with white Super-LumiNova, and a six o’clock date complication in a color-matched aperture. It will be available for purchase in the coming days, if not immediately, from your favorite Oris AD, and it comes on a pick-your-poison choice of either a black leather strap, for $3,500, or a three-link stainless-steel bracelet, for $3,700.
What We Think
The caliber 400 has been a part of the Oris catalog for almost two years now, can you believe it?
The introduction of the in-house-designed movement in October 2020 was a major moment for Oris, pushing the Swiss watchmaker into a new realm of advanced technical watchmaking. After decades of primarily relying on sourced ébauche movements from ETA and Sellita, the caliber 400 was a major investment in the company’s future.
I’m personally a big fan – more than one of my HODINKEE colleagues has described me as a “Caliber 400 evangelist.” I think it’s better engineered, more technically interesting, and a better value proposition than any other similar movement from ETA, Sellita, Kenissi, La Joux-Perret, etc. The specs speak for themselves – 120-hour power reserve, a silicon escape wheel and anchor, anti-magnetic, and a 10-year warranty with a decade-long service interval recommendation.
And yes, I’m aware there were a few kinks in the movement that developed within its first few months – something to be expected of any just-released caliber, especially one with a brand-new architecture – but my understanding is that those have all been worked out. For reference, I’ve owned my personal Divers Sixty-Five Caliber 400 Limited Edition for HODINKEE for over a year now and haven’t experienced a single issue.
And similar to last year’s HODINKEE collaboration, I’m attracted to the offbeat bezel format of the new release. I’m already on record as being an overly enthusiastic advocate of the countdown bezel, but I’ve also always loved the 12-hour format. And while the countdown bezel is plenty rare these days, the 12-hour bezel might be even rarer. I know Damasko and Sinn use it fairly often, and TAG Heuer famously brought it back on the 2017 Autavia relaunch. A few of the recent revivals of vintage brands, such as Nivada Grenchen and Ollech & Wajs, have also called on the design to great success. I might be missing a few other examples, but it’s really a fairly limited bunch at the moment, so I’m glad to see Oris open to experimenting with it.
It also doesn’t bother me that despite retaining “Divers” in the collection name, the new 12-hour model should not be used for serious diving due to its lack of a unidirectional bezel (not to mention its 100-meter water resistance). I’ve never really thought of the Divers Sixty-Five line as being a purely professional dive watch; after all, that’s what the Aquis lineup is for if you really need it. In my view, the Divers Sixty-Five is Oris’ way of exploring vintage tool watch design, using its own history in the category through the mid-1960s Oris Star collection as a platform.
And from that perspective, it’s hard to find fault with today’s release. The contrast of the black dial and white hour markers is excellent. The movement inside is a winner. And you have a multi-function bezel format that can be used for a second time-zone display or to track prolonged periods of elapsed time.
I talked just yesterday about Oris’ gradual upmarket progression, and how it can potentially alienate longtime owners, but I think watches like this are indicative of real growth and maturation for the brand. The Divers Sixty-Five Caliber 400 12H is an update on a recognizable design that’s authentic to Oris’ history, while offering a number of real improvements and features.
As for me, I think I’ll stick with my Divers Sixty-Five Caliber 400 Limited Edition for HODINKEE. I appreciate its slightly smaller case profile and no-date dial, but I won’t lie to you – today’s release definitely caused my eye to wander a bit.
Model: Divers Sixty-Five 12H Caliber 400
Reference Number: 01 400 7772 4054-07 5 20 82; 01 400 7772 4054-07 8 20 18
Diameter: 40mm (lug to lug: 48mm)
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Color: Black
Lume: Yes, Super-LumiNova
Water Resistance: 100 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Black leather strap with stainless steel buckle, or multi-piece stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp
Caliber: Caliber 400
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, 12-hour bidirectional bezel
Power Reserve: 120 hours
Frequency: 4 Hz / 28,800 vph
Chronometer Certified: N/A
Pricing & Availability
Price: $3,500 on leather strap; $3,700 on bracelet
Limited Edition: N/A