Oris × Topper Jewelers “Maxi” Diver Hits Shelves In Burlingame, CA
Don’t say the words “heritage re-issue”. It’s become a sometimes tiresome term over the past few years, with every brand under the Sun mining its back catalog for inspiration, only to artificially age the resulting “re-issue” so it looks both new and old at once. The Caplan brothers of Topper Jewelers in Burlingame, CA, don’t seem to mind being inspired by the past with the latest limited edition to hit their shelves. But with the Oris × Topper Jewelers collaboration, you find any pre-aging whatsoever. Instead, you have an entirely new piece inspired by perhaps the brand’s most inventive period. Intrigued? So was I…
I’ve worked with Rob and Russ personally during my time with NOMOS Glashütte. They are, to say the least, characters. Their enthusiasm for watches and creative projects knows no bounds. Consequently, they’ve managed to charm more brands than one could shake a stick at into making limited editions for them and their dedicated clientele.
And that’s the thing about Topper Jewelers in Burlingame, CA. It is very much a family business and that extends to the customers too. The brothers’ grandfather Arthur worked for their great uncle who had acquired the business around 1947 after it had been founded seven years earlier in 1940. In the ’60s, their father Bill joined the show. Russ followed in the ’80s and Rob completed the set at the turn of this century. Their customers are more like a gang of friends that congregate at store events to collect whatever madcap creation the pair have dreamed-up most recently. Invariably, everybody leaves with a smile on their face.
A beige kind of guy…
I know that firsthand. In fact, on more than occasion, I almost missed a flight out of the nearby San Francisco International because time ran away from me in the company of so many watch addicts. It’s no surprise to me, then, that this latest project is something I find interesting. Just how interesting I found it, however, was a bit of a surprise.
When news of this release, landed in my mailbox I cast a cursory eye over. At first, I thought I would just write it up quickly — I wasn’t so sure I “got” the angle the brothers had gone for this time. After all, I am actually one of those numpties that perpetuates this “new-old” trend that irks so many of you. Sorry about that, but I like fauxtina. I can’t explain it. I guess I’m just a beige kind of guy…
Anyway, the new Oris × Topper collab seemed cold to me at first. “Oh man,” I said to myself, “where’s the eggshell? Where’s the pumpkin? Where’s the burnt sienna, man? It’s so clean! It’s so fresh! Man, it almost looks new.”
Good grief. Imagine that. Something new in 2020. Who’d have thought it possible? I’d almost forgotten it was… But here we have it: ticking-proof that brands can still do something “new” and be praised for it. And sure, neither the dial layout nor its design is new. The colorway is satisfyingly modern and the little flashes of orange on the seconds hand and for the lume pip at 12 (which, although not super clear on the photos does actually glow in the dark, emitting a cool yellow light in contrast to the dial and hands) give the whole affair the right amount of fizz. But the case proportions paired with this dial set-up? Well, that’s what really got me going.
A dateless wonder
This is the second collab between Topper Jewelers and Oris. The first came in 2016. Back then, the 65 Diver that became the subject of the Caplans’ first limited Oris run was 40mm. This time? This time we have a 42mm case on the always-classy Oris Diver 65 riveted bracelet. This dateless wonder has a super clean dial (which is accentuated by the box-fresh color scheme). Designed to look as if this watch were being sold brand new in 1965 (which would have been the store’s 25th anniversary), this addition to the Diver 65 catalog could be a bit of a gamechanger.
And that’s not because its design is so shocking that it knocked me off my seat (it didn’t), but it is because this new size when paired with this dial configuration and the different proportions of the watch on the wrist really change the look of this model. In the same way, there is a perceptible difference between the silhouette of a Submariner and Sea-Dweller, here too is something individual. Something different — something that I personally prefer.
An actually limited limited (better get your skates on)
Cruelly, there will only be 165 of these pieces made. To make matters worse, they will go on sale for $2,450, which suggests to me they won’t be around for so long. Whenever Oris drops these awesome limited editions I find myself simultaneously happy that the brand didn’t go crazy with the number, but also wishing there was more of a chance to get one of them.
A piece like this could, in my opinion, have handled a run size of 1,965 pieces quite comfortably. But, as always, time will tell. If you’re interested, make it known swiftly. Shipping will commence in December 2020. The watch will be packaged up with some cool retro gifts that are supposed to transport the buyer back to the 1965 shopping experience that they could’ve enjoyed in the Topper store of old.
“A portion of the proceeds of the sale of each Diver 1965 Edition will be donated to the CuriOdyssey Museum, in support of a new exhibit, which will be launching in the fall. Located a short drive from Topper’s own downtown location, CuriOdyssey is a unique science and wildlife center that helps children acquire the tools they need to understand and appreciate our changing world – a mission that simultaneously aligns with Oris’ commitment to conservation, and Topper’s ongoing tradition of supporting the future generations of its local community.”
Learn more about this initiative and the watch here.