Comparing the Oris Divers Sixty-Five Topper Edition and Longines Legend Diver Non-Date
The Longines Legend Diver Non-Date (left) and Oris Divers Sixty-Five Topper Edition (right).
Well this doesn't happen every day! Someone traded in a Longines Legend Diver non-date, which gave us a great chance to take some photos comparing it to the Oris Divers Sixty-Five Topper Edition. This was a fun comparison to do, as our affinity for the design purity and symmetry of the Longines Legend Diver non-date was an influence in the creation of the Divers Sixty-Five Topper Edition.
Before we get into comparing the two watches, let's examine the historical pieces each one is based on.
The Longines Legend Diver, is a re-issue celebrating their famous "Super Compressor" models from the early sixties. Compressors, as described in Christoph McNeill's article on Worn & Wound, were manufactured by Ervin Piquerez, and featured an internal bezel and a dual crown system. His design provided a case sealing approach that used increasing pressure at depth to apply pressure on the crown sealing gaskets. Hence the term "compressor". This was both an interesting and functional alternative to the external bezel dive watches marketed during the same era by Blancpain, Rolex, Omega, and others. "Super Compressor" was the third generation of the case which introduced a screw-down caseback. While over 100 Swiss brands used Ervin Piquerez cases, the Longines 42mm version of the early sixties is one of the best known and highest regarded watches of the genre.
The Oris Divers Sixty-Five is a reissue of their external bezel dive watch introduced in 1965. While the Longines Legend Diver has been an important and well recognized piece among both the watch forum community and vintage watch circles, the Oris Divers Sixty-Five was not well known before Oris created a reissue in 2015.
Mechanically, the two reissues are extremely similar. The Longines Longines Legend Diver non-date features an ETA 2824-2 while the Oris Divers Sixty Five Topper Edition features a Sellita SW-200-1, a movement designed with the expired patents of the 2824. Both watches feature variants of their respective movement with the date wheel removed. Some non-date versions of watches with date complications feature date wheels that are merely covered up. Both of these pieces are true non-date models. This approach provides a user experience free of the awkward "ghost position" feeling when manipulating the crown through the distinctive clicks of what was the date set position. One minor difference between the two movements is the additional jewel Sellita introduced to reduce the friction of automatic winding. However, the advantage of this modification has been described by watchmakers as minimal at best.
The biggest difference between the two pieces is how they wear. The Oris wears considerably smaller than the Legend Diver. The Oris Divers Sixty-Five has a 40mm diameter case, lug to lug length of 48mm, thickness of 12.7mm, and a 20mm lug width. The Longines Legend Diver features a 42mm case, lug to lug length of 52mm, 13.5 thickness, and 22mm lug width. Over the years, I've seen people with up to 7 inch wrists feel that the Legend Diver was just slightly too long. I have yet to see this issue come up on the Oris Divers Sixty-Five.
The Divers Sixty-Five Topper Edition on my seven inch wrist.
The Legend Diver non-date on my seven inch wrist.
The tone and functionality of the Diver Sixty-Five is definitely more playful than the Legend Diver. As seen with their respective water resistance ratings, the watches have dramatically different capabilities as a dive watch. The Divers Sixty-Five is rated at 10 bar (100m) which is suitable for swimming, snorkeling, and shallow recreational dives. Conversely, the Legend Diver is rated at a "dive watch" respectable 30 bar (300m) making it suitable for deep recreational dives. However, the Divers Sixty-Five does have one advantage resulting from the lower water resistance in that it has a thinner case. Though with a taller crystal, the Sixty-Five is slightly less than 1mm thinner overall.
Both watches feature sapphire crystals that simulate old fashioned acrylic, though the shape of the crystals are different. The Longines Legend Diver features a box crystal reminiscent of the Omega Speedmaster Sapphire Sandwich (3573.50.00) with a raised and sharp angled edge that creates a slight halo on the perimeter. The Divers Sixty-Five features a more curved and gently sloped crystal reminiscent of the Glashutte Original Senator Sixties and Ball Trainmaster Eternity. There is a also a halo effect on the Diver Sixty-Five, though through a more gradual and curved transition from the edge.
The faux patina colored lume on both dials are similar. The lume outlines and font of the 12, 9, 6, and 3, are more austere on the Longines. The Longines Super Compressor debuted in the early 60s, but its design esthetic seems rooted in the more conservative 1950s. In contrast, the inverted hour markers and large color swaths of the Divers Sixty-Five evoke a strong association with the bold and expressive 1960s.
A comparison of the box crystal of the Legend Diver (left) and the curved crystal of the Divers Sixty-Five (right).
A look at the "halo" effect on the outer edge of the crystal of the Legend Diver.
A look at the more curved edge of the crystal on the Oris Divers Sixty Five Topper Edition.
Both of these non-date models sacrifice an element of functionality for design balance. That said, both manufactures did a good job on the date-enabled brethren of these two references. On the Legend Diver model, Longines nicely incorporated a date aperture by not unnecessarily disrupting the minute track, and by using matching font and colors that make it blend into the dial rather than jump out from it. Still, the dial has an asymmetry because the three o'clock indice does not balance with its axis partner at nine o'clock.
The date version of the Legend Diver eliminates the three o'clock hour marker with a well blended and design consistent date aperture and date wheel combination.
On the date version of the Divers Sixty-Five, Oris made the placement of the date much more subtle. As seen in the photo below, Oris neatly tucked the date into the minute track at the top of the six o'clock marker. By avoiding the elimination of the "anchor" six o'clock hour marker, Oris maintained perfect symmetry among the hour markers at the important positions of twelve, three, six, and nine.
The date version of the current Divers Sixty-Five (left) compared to the original (right). The date window obstruction is obvious in the original Divers Sixty-Five. The current version improved the balance, though the date still cuts into the six o'clock marker. That issue is resolved on the non date Divers Sixty-Five Topper Edition. Photo courtesy of aBlogtoWatch.
Regarding historical models, only the Longines Super Compressor had a non-date model. While there were Super Compressor cases with dates, the Longines Super Compressors that show up on sites likeAntiquorum are nearly always non-date models. In contrast, not only is the original Oris from 1965 a watch with a date at three o'clock, but according to Oris CEO Rolf Studer, Oris has not made a non-date dive watch in their entire history. The use of a non-date is model for Longines is a direct representation of their history, while the Divers Sixty-Five Topper Edition is a totally new expression for Oris dive watches. The Divers Sixty-Five Topper Edition presents the unusual and celebrated shape of the lume outlined hour markers at twelve, nine, three, and, six in the perfect symmetry present in so many non-date models in the 1950s and 1960s.
Another important comparison between the two watches is the lume. The intensity of the lume on the hands of each watch are an extremely similar vibrant green. The Divers Sixty-Five dial features a generous use of a beige lume color termed "light old radium". The lume makes up the entire reversed outline of the numbers at the quarter anchor hour markers of 12, 3, 6, and 9. In contrast, the Legend Diver uses the same color of Superluminova on the dial as it does on the hands, and the application of lume is extremely minimal.
Finally, the prices of the two pieces are similar. The 100-piece limited edition Divers Sixty-Five Topper Edition comes with a metal bracelet and rubber strap at the retail price of $2,199. The Longines Legend Diver Non-Date retailed for $2,300 when new, and now hovers around $2,000 on the pre-owned market. Click Here for more information about the Divers Sixty-Five Topper Edition.
The lume signatures of the Divers Sixty-Five Topper Edition on the left (note the orange pip!), and the Longines Legend Diver (right).The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.