“Is this a new Oris Divers Sixty-Five ‘Cotton Candy’ Bronze?!”
No, no it isn’t. This is the same bronze ‘Cotton Candy’ model in 38 mm that was released way back in 2021. However, there is a new variant – same pops of colour cased within an all-steel case and bracelet released in the middle of 2023.
These aren’t the
droids watches you’re looking for
But I digress.
Today, we’re gonna’ be looking at the older variant which is the bronze model. More specifically, we’re gonna be looking at my Oris Divers Sixty-Five ‘Cotton Candy’ Bronze in 38 mm. Dial colour of choice? It had to be lipstick pink.
So, a bit of background story as to how this bronze-pink timepiece came into the collection. See, for the longest time in my horological journey, I’ve been leaning towards safer options. This applied to every aspect from dial design to material and whatnot. Heck, the “wildest” I got prior to this was the Orient Kano/Ray III with its red bezel.
I figured it was, well, safe. You could match a watch with almost any outfit in any occasion. One or two (or six) of these safe watches were fine but then the collection started to look a little too uniform. Too sanitized, too clinical.
And you know what? It hit me like a brick to the face. Life really is too short to not have fun. Not just with watches, my friends. With everything. Maybe I’m hitting a point in life where, as sad as it is, death is becoming uncomfortably frequent.
Armed with that revelation, I took apart the collection, observed and found what was missing. The next addition had to have these;-
- “Exotic” case and bracelet material. Basically, no more steel.
- A dial colour that stood out immediately at first glance.
- An element of “fun” and/or eccentricity, as subjective as that may sound.
And trust me when I say that there were plenty of options, from microbrands to mainstream, divers to field watches to dressier pieces.
“So, why an Oris Divers Sixty-Five ‘Cotton Candy’ Bronze, then?”
Beyond the abovementioned requirements, I knew that I had to venture beyond the Japanese Big 4 (Seiko, Citizen, Orient, Casio). For those who know me well, I have a tendency to gravitate towards Japanese watches
because I’m quite broke because you get so much watch for the money.
This time round, however, it had to be Swiss. Variety, after all, is the spice of life. I wanted to experience firsthand the difference in mentality when it came to the idea of a ‘good watch’. Ze Germans see it differently, the Japanese see it differently and I’m sure to a certain extent, the Swiss see it differently too.
With this being an early foray into Swiss horology, I wanted to opt for a brand that was quintessentially Swiss not just in its modern corporate identity but also in its history. Longines and Tissot were (still are!) highly-rated candidates but the allure of owning a timepiece from not just a Swiss brand but a fiercely independent one was too much to ignore.
The Hölstein-based watchmaker has been in business since 1904 and over a century later remains one of the few relatively mainstream Swiss brands to remain independent from groups such as Swatch, Richemont or LVMH. Another fun fact, while the brand has produced quartz watches over the course of its existence, it pivoted to producing only mechanical watches in 1991.
“Sounds like a great platform to jump off into the Swiss rabbit hole!”
Yes, it most certainly is. And before you think this review was brought to you by Oris themselves, let me be clear. They probably don’t know I exist. I bought my (inhale) Oris Divers Sixty-Five ‘Cotton Candy’ Bronze 38 mm in lipstick pink while on vacation in Bangkok so there you go.
Now, with that backstory and history lesson sorted, let’s begin with the watch itself.
For those still unfamiliar with this lineup, three colourways are present. We’ve got the aforementioned lipstick pink, sky blue and wild green. Trying all three in the flesh, the wild green and pink were my top choices. I’ve also been hankering after a green watch but ultimately felt that the pink was the most cotton candy-ish. Also, I felt that the pastel pink hues blended nicely with the warmth of the bronze construction.
Perhaps the green dial variant would look more cohesive after several years of wear since, you know, bronze and the whole oxidization business.
“Which brings us to the (bronze) elephant in the room…”
Bronze watches have been around for quite some time and the use of that metal amongst mankind goes even further back. Like makes-the-Colosseum-look-like-it-just-opened new. Without going into too much detail, bronze is an alloy that is mostly composed of copper and a combination of tin. Other additions include aluminium, manganese, nickel or zinc.
The combination of these metals make bronze a highly suitable material to fashion a dive watch actually because of its high resistance to corrosion from saltwater. Side note, Oris uses CuSn6-type bronze which means that at least 6% of tin is included in the construction as opposed to CuSn8-type bronze with, you guessed it, 8% tin.
In any case, the nature of said metal is susceptible to oxidization which leads to the surface turning green and/or grey. Nothing to worry about though as this layer of patina does not affect the integrity of the metal and, should you so choose, can be cleaned off.
Question is, why would you? The appeal of a bronze watch is to have it develop a completely unique pattern of patina that is the direct result of the wearer’s environment, usage and even weather pattern. It truly becomes a ‘one of one’ after several years of wear.
All this sounds great, right? But, and this is a huge but, there are individuals out there with a bronze allergy. Specifically, it’s a nickel or copper allergy (remember both of these make up the construction of bronze too). I myself took a gamble with this and after a week of wear, there were no signs of itching or redness – which is a clear sign of an allergy.
Oris has taken an extra step to safeguard us by having the solid caseback and the folding clasp of the bracelet made out of stainless steel instead. Smart move since these parts would mostly be the ones maintaining contact with our skin.
“… and everything else is bronze?”
Yes. Unlike Oris’ earlier attempts at bronzifying its timepieces that saw only parts of the watch fashioned out of it, the Divers Sixty-Five ‘Cotton Candy’ Bronze is very bronze. So let’s begin with the case itself.
Measuring 38 mm in diameter with a lug to lug of 47.7 mm and a thickness of 13.1 mm means that it won’t exactly “slide under the cuff” but it’s also no monstrosity on the wrist. To be fair, much of the thickness comes from the domed sapphire crystal (with anti-reflecting coating btw).
Elsewhere, the signed, screw down crown (sans crown guards) has a decently tactile feel to it when winding the watch but it does have a noticeable vagueness when one is pulling and actuating the different positions of it. I’ve caught it in a sort of ‘no man’s land’ position between the date and time adjustment positions more than once. Whether or not this is the result of a shoddy crown or build quality issues with the movement, I’m not sure.
The bronze, 120-click unidirectional bezel with its coin edge knurling has the smallest of backplay but overall, I have no complaints. There’s a mild, hollow clicking noise as opposed to the solid, muffled clickity-clicks of say, a Seiko Prospex but the action feels reassuring enough in one’s fingers.
Overall case finish is straightforward with a mix of brushed and polished surfaces on the lugs and case sides, respectively. As previously said, the ‘Cotton Candy’ comes with a solid, screw down stainless steel case back with not a whole lot going on. An Oris shield takes center stage and is framed by the usual array of info such as its water resistance (100 m), presence of sapphire crystal and types of metal employed in its construction.
“Now, what about the bracelet?”
Let’s get the numbers out of the way first. Lug width is 19 mm and it tapers nicely down to 16 mm at the signed Oris clasp, further giving it that slim vintage-y vibe. Personally, I find this small detail to have made the biggest impact in terms of wearing comfort. Kudos to Oris for also including female end links to further make that near-48 mm lug to lug length all the more wearable in reality.
You’re also not short on micro adjustment slots with a total of four being included. However, sizing the bracelet could be a tad more inconvenient with screws on both sides of each link. At least it’s not the dreaded pin-and-collar system.
And as said earlier on, the folding clasp is fashioned out of stainless steel and, in theory, should reduce the chances of a nickel allergy acting up. Other options also include a leather strap or a colour-matched textile perlon strap. Though I’d highly recommend going for the bracelet because it really completes the look. A close second would be the perlon should you want more colour in your life.
“And now, that dial!”
Aside from the novelty of an (almost) all-bronze construction, the ‘Cotton Candy’ series is of course known for its, cotton candy-like palette of dial colours. Laying eyes on the trio in the flesh for the first time, it’s almost as if Oris had consulted Wes Anderson when it came to the application of these pastel shades.
And therein lies the reason that makes this lineup fun to me. Like Anderson’s use of pastel colours to signify aesthetic quirkiness, the trio of ‘Cotton Candy’ models all scream whimsical fun, making them the perfect summer companion.
Sure, these watches may not be the best choices when it comes to the boardroom but that’s not the point. These aren’t GADA (go anywhere, do anything) watches to begin with. They’re meant to be fun and anyone who opts to put one on their wrist should know not to take themselves or their surroundings too seriously.
With all good designs, there’s balance. And Oris has opted to balance out these lively shades of colour with a dial that’s, relatively speaking, quite restrained. Hour markers are reserved to rounded plots save for 9 and 3 o’clock and an unframed date window sits at 6 o’clock, providing much needed symmetry. At 12 o’clock, a shield-shaped marker takes its place.
This handset themselves are relatively simple as well with a broad sword-like hour hand and a rectangular minute one. The seconds hand is just as straightforward with a circular lumed pip. Another small but interesting detail to note? The markers and hands are all framed in bronze to really harmonise the aesthetics.
Then we come to a point of contention – the use of Superluminova “light old radium” faux lume. I get that the shade it brings makes it so much more cohesive visually but surely there will be detractors. Me? I’m actually thankful they took this route because of how it makes the entire dial look all the more coordinated. Lume performance itself is decent at best with two things to take note when judging its performance. One, this isn’t a full blown ISO-certified diver and two, I’m spoiled by Seiko’s LumiBrite.
Lastly, the amount of text on the dial. There’s not a lot of it and even if there were, you’d be hard pressed to notice because it’s all printed in white. That includes the minute track as well. So legibility in this case isn’t the best and though the movement features a hacking system, it might take longer to set it to the second. This is because tilting the watch to get a closer look doesn’t exactly help thanks to the domed sapphire crystal which distorts the view around the minute track the most.
Small issues, really. Would I be concerned that a watch that’s meant as a fun, conversation starter isn’t set down to the second? Nope, not at all.
“And speaking of hacking… the movement?”
Movement snobs who are “in-house or nothing” can skip this part. In order to keep the price as friendly as possible, the Oris Divers Sixty-Five ‘Cotton Candy’ Bronze comes powered by the brand’s automatic 733 Calibre which is based on Sellita’s SW200-1. It’s a common enough movement and aside from the earlier mentioned issue when actuating the crown and setting the time, I don’t have any complaints about this.
It’s kept time within reason and longevity concerns shouldn’t exist with ample parts availability and ease of service.
Tech specs include a jewel count of 26, a beat rate of 4 Hz and features hand-winding and hacking. My only legit gripe with this is the rather low power reserve of just 38 hours. As for accuracy, Oris states that its Calibre 733s are regulated to fall within +7/-12 seconds a day. Even if I’ve yet to properly time it myself, I’ve noticed no discernible deviations throughout a week of wear.
“So, good buy or goodbye?”
Now this is tricky. At retail, I’d say goodbye. Unless you absolutely have to own a fun piece like this, objectively at its listed price, it’s too much money for not a lot of watch. Subjectively, it’s a whole different story. The Oris Divers Sixty-Five ‘Cotton Candy’ Bronze is tons of fun. It’s the perfect companion to put on for the holidays, when you’ve made a deliberate effort to cut off from the office and suit-and-tie get-up.
How much exactly is list price? On the bracelet, we’re looking at a cool RM13,000 while opting for the perlon will set you back RM12,000. Finally, the leather option is the most affordable at RM11,500. Seeing as how this has been on sale for some time already, a discount should be on the cards if you ask dealers nicely.
If you can score one at a good price, I’d say make the jump. They say you can’t put a price on happiness but…