Two For Tuesday: Oris Divers Sixty-Five Vs. Big Pointer Date
It’s Two For Tuesday where we take a look at a couple of models often considered during a purchase decision. This week, we’ll talk about the Oris Divers Sixty-Five and the Big Pointer Date.
Last week, we spoke about two incredibly popular Seiko divers. The Marinemaster 300 took on its offspring in the Baby Marinemaster. It seems that most of you enjoy saving a few bucks while staying comfortable because the little guy took home most of your votes. This week, we’ll look at a couple of really nice watches from Oris. The 116-year old brand from Hölstein, Switzerland has a pair of hot tickets on its hands with the Divers Sixty-Five and the Big Pointer Date.
My Oris memories
Prior to 2015, I have to admit that Oris and its watches weren’t real eye-catchers to me. I still remember browsing the local Tourneau in Troy, Michigan, and seeing the first Chronoris reissue sitting in the showcase. That was a really neat watch with its bracelet and straps included in a cool leather pouch. I came close to buying one, but other priorities got in the way. I didn’t think much about Oris after that until 2015. One of my first “embargo release” stories happened to be on the new-for-then Divers Sixty-Five. What a watch it was and still is. Since then, Oris has gone on to release some great pieces including the Big Pointer Date in 2018. As seen on both these watches, I can think of no other entry-level brand that uses color as effectively as Oris. And due to similar pricing and sizing, they often come up together in a “which should I buy” conversation. Let’s explore that.
The Oris Divers Sixty-Five
As mentioned, the Oris Divers Sixty-Five debuted back in 2015. To put it mildly, the watch was an instant success. At 40mm, with retro looks, a slim case, and a domed sapphire crystal, it ticked a lot of the right boxes. Some moaned about the light 100 meters of water resistance but I don’t think this has harmed sales. Since its introduction, Oris has continued to develop the model to great lengths.
When I say developed, the Divers Sixty-Five is the horological equivalent of a Gremlin that’s encountered water. I checked the Oris website and, excluding the chronograph versions, there are 53(!) versions of the Sixty-Five. There are now three case sizes — 36, 40 and 42mm — and a wide variety of dial colors (such as black, blue, silver and green) and special editions. Also, Oris has made bronze a real mainstay in its lineup. However, the brand has created a wide array of bronze and steel combinations. The Sixty-Five is offered with a full bronze bezel, bronze bezel with aluminum inlay, and full steel. A full bronze version was offered in 2016 as the limited Carl Brashear version.
The Sixty-Five uses the Sellita SW200-1 automatic across the board. That’s essentially an ETA 2824 clone and it has proven to be a reliable runner. A date function is also present on all models (aside from some limited editions), but the placement differs depending on the case diameter. The 36 and 42mm versions have the date at 3:00 while the 40mm places it at 6. For my money — and I did buy one for my wife — I like the 40mm edition because the date is most obscured and the dial is the cleanest. However, it is the 36mm and 42mm versions that come closest the original 1960’s models.
The Divers Sixty-Five comes in at a svelte 12.99mm thick including its generously domed crystal. For the 40mm model, the lug-to-lug keeps things tidy at 47.5mm. Add to that a 20mm wide Tropic-style rubber strap or a riveted Oyster-style bracelet and you have a watch that wears amazingly well. The bracelet, by the way, is inspiring. I say that because if relatively small and independent Oris can create a bracelet worth wearing, others should as well.
Owning a Divers Sixty-Five
I mentioned that I purchased a Divers Sixty-Five. In fact, I put my money down in 2018 the second after seeing the newest steel models with bronze inlay bezels. I went with a 40mm model on a steel bracelet and it’s an incredibly handsome watch that’s also gratifying to wear. I’d say it wears quite a bit more expensively than its price would suggest. I took a look and these watches range from €1,800-€2,150 with bronze representing the upper end of the spectrum. I’d call that incredibly approachable for a piece that feels so good in the hand. The biggest issue, perhaps, is choosing which Sixty-Five is for you.
The Oris Big Pointer Date
And now we take a look at the somewhat surprising challenger to the Divers Sixty-Five. The Oris Big Pointer Date. I say “surprising” because this is a pretty unconventional watch. The Big Pointer Date erases all arguments about clumsy date window placements by getting rid of the feature altogether. The days of the month circle the outer edge of the dial and a central hand acts as a Big Pointer to one of these numerals. It’s a simple thing, but it adds a level of detail to the watch that separates it from the pack. Honestly, it looks more mechanically complex than it is!
The Big Pointer Date came out in 2018 and basically became the newest version of an on and off series of watches made by the brand for decades. But the 2018 models brought something very different. Notably, the watches took on more of a “field watch” vibe with large military-esque Arabic numerals and boldly colored dials. Oris also brought out an all-bronze model right out of the gate with a stunning chalky green dial. And let’s not forget that the brand offered both 36mm and 40mm variants.
The Big Pointer Date also uses the Sellita SW200-1 as its base, adds a screw-down crown, and a domed sapphire crystal. It’s even slenderer than the Diver at roughly 12mm and the lug-to-lug on the 40mm is around 47mm. Just like the Sixty-Five, the Big Pointer is a perfect watch for daily wear. Tack on 50 meters of water resistance and it’s even more practical.
Like the Sixty-Five, the Big Pointer Date is now part of a large collection. I count 41 different variants of this watch and that includes all steel, all bronze, and hybrid models. The hybrid model has a sweet bronze ridged bezel that makes it look a little like an affordable Datejust — almost. Most of the Big Pointers come on either a really nice looking beads of rice bracelet or any number of chunky, but stylish vegetable-tanned leather straps.
Great for everyday
I toggle back and forth between liking a diver or a simple three (well, four in this case) hander for ultimate versatility. One could argue that a diver brings more to the game, but a no-nonsense field watch can often work in a wider range of environments. To put this to the test, I put my money down in 2019 on a Big Pointer Date in 40mm and bronze. It originally came with a green dial, but I pulled a switcheroo and swapped in a burgundy dial from the newly released 40mm model in steel. And guess what? I love the watch and it was easily one of my most worn watches over the past 12 months.
The Oris Big Pointer-Date prices from €1,600 to €1,900 with the full bronze case at the high end. That means that it undercuts the Sixty-Five slightly and it’s offered with some extremely vibrant dials such as blue, green, red, bronze, and black. If you’re in the market for something like a Rolex Explorer, but find it too expensive or anonymous, this Oris could be an attractive alternative.
There’s little doubt that Oris makes some great watches. The fact that it makes two for around the €2,000 mark that are so compelling is a real opportunity for buyers. To me, this one is a dead heat. I have a feeling that the Divers Sixty-Five will ultimately win out because some may perceive it as cooler. Still, those who know and who have handled the Big Pointer will agree that it’s worth real consideration. Lend us your vote and let us know what you think in the comments below.