Hands On With The Topper X Oris Diver 1965 ‘Maxi’ Limited Edition

As much as throwback dive watches have been embraced in recent years, there’s one element that has proven controversial in their execution: pre-aged lume. If you find yourself embracing the designs but recoiling at the sight of yellow hour markers, you’re in luck. Oris has teamed up with watch and jewelry retailer Topper for the second time with the release of a new ‘Maxi’ Diver 1965 limited edition watch. The aim with this release is twofold: to recreate the Diver as it would have appeared in 1965 as a brand new product; and to raise money for the CuriOdyssey Museum in California. We’re on board with the latter, but we went hands on with the watch to see how successful they were with the former.

The first thing that stands out about this watch is the bright contrast between the dial and lume used upon it. The Arabic numerals around the dial marking the cardinal hours are tropical in design, and are rendered in BG-W9 SuperLuminova, practically jumping off the matte black dial. This effect was created to present the watch as it may have looked brand new in 1965, before the effects of aging have had the chance to take their toll. 

This is a concept we don’t often see applied to designs meant to recall a brand’s releases of a prior generation. It does happen from time to time, and it offers a markedly different perspective on the watch in question. Doing so provides a glimpse at the design as its designer likely intended, and is an option we’d like to see on other watches looking to capture the spirit of their original. The sole use of color appears within the bezel triangle, an orange dot of lume that appears green when charged.

The original Divers Sixty-Five measured in at 36mm, and when Oris re-issued the watch in 2015 they upsized it to 40mm. Today it can be had in the original 36mm along with either 40 or 42mm – but on this Topper LE, you’re limited to the largest 42mm case size. This decision is by far and away the biggest departure from the spirit of the original, and feels especially odd given the currently available 36mm case sizing within the Diver Sixty-Five family. As such, the watch wears rather large, and while it isn’t unmanageable, it does compromise the charming proportions of the original. It’s clear a lot of thought went into this design, especially when you consider the details, such as the anti-shock and jewel count printing on the dial, along with the domed sapphire and riveted bracelet we love on the Divers Sixty-Five watches.

Within the Diver 1965 beats a Sellita SW200 based Oris Cal. 733 providing 38 hours of reserve and 26 jewels, as you can now find labeled on the dial.

Overall this is a handsome watch and a welcome addition to the stable of Oris dive watches, even if it is limited to 165 examples. These will only be available via Topper Jewlers. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this watch will go directly to the benefit of a new exhibit which will be launching at the CuriOdyssey Museum this fall. The CuriOdyssey Museum is a science museum and zoo that also cares for rescued animals. They provide education programs to children for the benefit of conservation and understanding of the natural world, all goals that align with what we’ve seen from Oris in recent years, and compliments their own projects such as the Hangang Aquis we saw earlier this year. 

The Topper X Oris Diver 1965 ‘Maxi’ Limited Edition is priced at $2,450 and will be available for order this month through Topper Jewelers.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.