- 100 meters water resistance
- Calibre 400 in-house movement with 5-day power reserve and date
- Date of release: August 2022
- Price upon release: $3500 on leather, $3700 on bracelet
Oris Going Upmarket
What had always made buying an Oris Diver Sixty-Five a no-brainer was its unbeatable price-to-quality ratio (under $2000 upon release in 2015). That value is still available in multiple Divers Sixty-Five models without the Calibre 400. However, as we consider the first serially produced Divers Sixty-Five with the in-house Calibre 400 movement and a price of $3500-$3700, we may need to summon a bit more brainpower than before.
With this watch, Oris is edging up on Tudor’s smash-hit Black Bay 58 ($3800), Breitling’s Superocean 57 Heritage ($4500), and perhaps more modern dive watches like Tudor’s 39mm Titanium Pelagos ($4400) and even Omega’s Seamster 300 (a bigger leap at $5100). The looming question is whether to spend the extra money to jump from a Divers Sixty-Five to a Tudor, Breitling, or even an Omega? We never really had to confront that question before with an Oris Divers Sixty-Five, but here we are.
I can’t answer that question for anyone else, and can hardly answer it for myself. But perhaps I can pose the question a little differently: Is the Calibre 400 movement worth the extra $1600 you’ll spend over getting the same basic watch with a Sellita movement?
For now you only have one option for a D65 with an in-house movement. But other than the clear caseback, 12-hour bezel insert and handsome charcoal dial paint, we’re talking about the same watch you can get for $1600 less with a Sellita movement, and I think this is a question many folks will be asking themselves.
Maybe this choice doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I was surprised to find what an impact the movement had on my experience of the watch.
Going In-House With the Calibre 400
You can learn more about the Calibre 400 through my conversation with Oris CEO VJ Geronimo about its release, but I have some new information to report based on a recent conversation with the folks at Oris. According to a Swiss representative of the brand, the Calibre 400 was developed in conjunction with consultants who only work for Oris, and the movement is built entirely in a Swiss plant owned by Oris. The plant is not in Hölstein, however, yet apparently the plant does not provide movements to other brands. That’s about as “in-house” as it gets for an off-site industrial facility (as opposed to an on-site hand-building workshop like Vacheron Constantin’s Cabinotier, for example).
The concept of an in-house movement is rarely clear these days. Yet, after about a decade of heavy marketing and journalistic brew-ha-ha about this distinction, owning a watch with an in-house movement has become a big deal. The story of the in-house distinction should also include the decade-long threat that ETA would stop supplying movements outside the SWATCH Group, a threat that inspired companies like Fossil/Zodiac to acquire STP and Rolex/Tudor to acquire Kenissi to supply movements “in-house.” Cynically, one can frame these decisions as more economical than horological, though the brands always stress the horological implications.
But Oris made a movement they couldn’t source from anywhere else, and the results are rather impressive from a mechanical perspective. There are dual barrels offering 5-days of power (this more akin to a Panerai in-house movement than any other that comes to mind). The Calibre 400 employs many a-magnetic components. And the movement requires service at 10-year intervals. The validity of the service interval claim remains TBD, of course, but seems likely given modern movement design and cutting-edge manufacturing – neither of which characterize a Sellita movement.
Whether that’s worth $1600 or thereabouts to you as a consumer I can’t say, but for me the Divers Sixty Five Calibre 400 felt qualitatively different from its Sellita-equipped counterparts.
The Feeling of Quality
Keep in mind that a standard Divers Sixty-Five has a closed caseback, so you can’t see the Sellita movement. This is both more vintage in spirit and – in my opinion – the better choice with Sellitas, which are common, not especially attractive, and mechanically mundane. But the Calibre 400 is on wide display with this model, and thus an unavoidable part of the experience.
I find the Calibre 400 to be a rather refined looking machine. The bridges are wide, close-set and softly brushed. The rotor is thin, the twin barrels uniquely streamlined, the finishing impressively clean. The Calibre 400 actually reminds me of what BVLGARI is up to these days. The two brands are in different leagues mechanically, but similar vibes come off the perfectly machined parts with their unprecedentedly close tolerances. This is brand new mechanical watch technology. Very 21st-century.
I initially found the elevated modern vibe from the Caliber 400 a little jarring inside the retro-styled Divers Sixty-Five. I wouldn’t call the movement and watch objectively incongruous – that’s ridiculous – but subjectively I’ve long struggled to grok retro-designs that encase new technology. From “modern classic” motorcycles with computerized engines, to old-school-looking turntables with USB-ports, to digital cameras that look like my old Canon AE1 beater from high school, I may just be too old for all this as one who grew up in an analog world.
And yet perhaps this is the best way to understand the Divers Sixty-Five Calibre 400 – as a 21st-century machine dressed up to look like it’s from the 20th. I think that’s a fair summary, and even I will admit that, while the styles of the last century were wonderful, the technology most certainly left room for improvement.
And as I spent time with the Divers Sixty-Five Calibre 400 12-Hour, that logic slowly seemed to radiate out from the watch. I got the sense that this Divers Sixty-Five captured something essential about these early decades of the 21st century: the desire to use our fast-advancing technologies to make longer-lasting, better things, but to temper today’s rush of technology with reverence for the relative sanity of the mechanical-analog era.
Actually, I think that’s the whole point of owning a mechanical watch in the 21st century.