One Helluva Watch! Oris Introduces The ProDiver Dive Control (Hands-On)
A 51mm saturation diver chronograph designed in collaboration with one of Switzerland’s only commercial divers.
Earlier today, at Oris’ Pre-Baselworld event in Vail, Colorado, Oris Co-CEO Rolf Studer and US CEO VJ Geronimo give assembled press a small taste of what’s to come for the Hölstein brand. Studer also gave some insight into Oris' performance during 2018. Put simply, the brand experienced double-digit growth and sold a record number of watches in 2018. With today's watch market, this is a remarkable feat which only bolsters Oris' already impressive (and growing) reach and sales.
Enter the ProDiver Dive Control
Every year, during Oris' Pre-Basel fete, the press is treated to an exclusive novelty. Last year was the Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition and previous years saw new Divers 65s. For 2019’s edition, the brand released something I wasn’t quite expecting. Our presentation started with a video conference back to Switzerland, on the other end of the webcam was commercial diver Roman Frischknecht. Studer introduced Frischknecht as an Oris ambassador and proceeded to unveil a watch that was close to the hearts of both gentlemen. For almost a decade, Oris has worked with Frischknecht to lead the development of their industrial grade ProDiver line.
One of the hallmarks of this partnership is Oris’ Rotation Safety System (RSS), which is a patented technology which allows divers the ability to fix and lock the bezel in place. Safety systems such as these are paramount to ensuring commercial divers can accomplish their tasks under even the most extreme conditions. By locking the uni-directional bezel, divers are ensured accuracy during their most stressful moments.
Previous ProDiver models have seen complications such as GMT, Chronograph, and Moonphase, and steady sales have supported the continued expansion of the lineup, which brings us to today's announcement. Oris has released the ProDiver Dive Control. A 51mm divers chronograph which pays tribute to the teams which keep commercial divers safe during their projects. Safety (especially at 1,000 feet underwater) is always at the top of mind of every commercial diver. Frischknecht explained that one wrong move could be deadly, which makes the work of dive control teams so important. Think of them as sort of a pit crew but for divers. Technicians, divers, and crew working together to implement and ensure all appropriate safety systems are in place and working.
About the ProDiver Dive Control
The Oris ProDiver Dive Control is by no means a small watch, but then again, this watch wasn’t made to wear under a tuxedo, it's a purpose-built tool watch for experienced divers. Measuring 51mm and made from DLC coated titanium and featuring the RSS system, helium escape valve, and of course screw down crown and pushers. The watch will come fitted to a bright yellow rubber strap with diver’s extension. Powered by the Sellita SW500 movement, this diver’s chronograph is an extraordinary tool watch which will suit even the most stringent conditions. With a depth rating of 1,000m (or 3,280 feet) the ProDiver Dive Control is a helluva watch indeed.
We had the opportunity to go hands-on with the watch and speak with Frischknecht. Safe to say, both the gentlemen and the watch he helped design are impressive. The bright yellow rubber strap provides a dashing splash of color, and I can imagine it would look great (and provide plenty of contrast) against a dive suit. The chronograph and date complications are more useful on land than they are underwater, but the legibility of the dial and bezel will be helpful under the depths. Of course, the watch wore prominently on my wrist, but then again, I'm not the target audience for this watch. It's truly meant for experienced – mostly commercial – divers.
Limited to 500 pieces and available beginning of 2019. Pricing is yet to be determined, but Studer expects the watch to be priced at approx. $5,000 USD.