Swinging Sixties: The Oris Divers 65 “Maxi” Topper Edition Brings The Past Into The Future
The year 1965 was a year of constant change. In January, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his “Great Society” initiative during the State of the Union Address. March bore witness to both the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights marches and the arrival of the first American combat troops in Vietnam. In July, Bob Dylan roiled the folk music purists by “going electric” at the Newport Folk Festival, and the Social Security Act established Medicare and Medicaid. In August, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, and the Watts riots erupted in Los Angeles. Also, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, is completed in October.
TL;DR – A lot of really important and historical stuff happened in 1965.
If you have ever wondered what it was like to live in such consequential times, you are in luck. Topper Jewelers has teamed up with Oris to answer the question:
What would a new Oris Divers 65 look like if it traveled through time and was sold at Topper Jewelers in 1965, just as the family business was celebrating its 25th anniversary?
Answer: A new limited edition Oris x Topper Jewelers collaboration, the Oris Divers 1965 “Maxi” Topper Edition.
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Topper Fine Jewelers is a trusted source of luxury Swiss, German, and Japanese brands like Grand Seiko, H. Moser & Cie., OMEGA, Blancpain, Zenith, Nomos, Longines, Seiko Prospex, Seiko Presage, Zodiac, Oris, and many others.
Over the years, owners Russ and Rob Caplan have been deeply involved in the watch enthusiast community of the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. They have helped build a passion for timepieces by sponsoring local meet-ups and by developing special limited-edition watches exclusively for the store.
Marking the second limited-edition collaboration between Oris and Topper Jewelers, the first was the now long sold-out 40mm Divers 65 Topper Edition from 2016, which was one of the first Divers 65 collaborations the Hölstein-based manufacture produced with any brand partner.
So, let's take a closer look at the new Oris Divers 1965 "Maxi" Topper Edition.
More than a heritage piece, this limited-edition watch translates the mid-century aesthetic for today. This unique approach means that this is the first Oris Divers 65 that doesn’t strive to recreate an archival reference, instead it re-imagines what the watch would have looked like to a mid-century buyer. “This project came about because we were thinking about what would be fresh and interesting to our community,” said Caplan.
“This was just the genesis thought: what would it have been like if someone walked into a Topper Jewelers in 1965, and around all of these little 35, 36mm dive watches, just ran into THIS thing. A fresh, new, 42mm dive watch, which would have been right up there with some of the biggest dive watches in the world at that time.”
Because this large case has been paired with the original 12-3-6-9 painted hour dial, the proportions feel right for both eras. Besides the maxi-style dial, other design features would have pleased a 1965 audience, including the bold use of BG-W9 Super-Luminova. This luminous paint, along with an orange-tipped seconds hand, produces a nice contrast with the matte black dial and provides maximum legibility.
Rather than recreating an archival piece, this Oris x Topper collaboration strives to revive the feeling of discovering something new and unexpected. As if you had just walked into a dive shop or one of Topper’s early stores in Modesto and Merced, California, and seen a timepiece that was simply out of this world.
This sense of discovery is hard-baked into the Oris Divers 65. “You know, when the Divers 65 was launched in 2015, the reception was phenomenal,” said Oris North America CEO VJ Geronimo. “I’ve been with Oris since 2010; we had put out a lot of things, but the Divers 65 really kind of put us to another level at the time.”
Other advanced details that would certainly impress in 1965 include the Oris Cal. 733 Automatic no-date movement with a 40-hour power reserve, the riveted stainless steel bracelet, and a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the inside.
To complete this nostalgic picture, each limited edition will come with a series of mock marketing elements that capture the mood of the ads Topper Jewelers might have used to promote the watch at the time.
“It’s important that people don’t look at this watch and think that we are trying to do a linear creation of the Divers 65 or trying to use the tools that were available in 1965,” added Caplan. “We’re trying to make the best watch we can, but also taking it and imagining it being fresh in 1965, which I think is a big difference than some of the linear re-issues you’ve seen other brands do. It’s more about trying to capture the energy of somebody imagining today who would be walking into a shop then.”
Both Topper and Oris have a long history of good deeds. The Oris Divers 1965 “Maxi” Topper Edition continues in this tradition with a portion of the proceeds from each Divers 1965 Topper Edition sold being donated to the CuriOdyssey Museum, supporting a new exhibit to be launched in the fall.
Located a short drive from Topper’s downtown location, CuriOdyssey is a unique science and wildlife center that helps children experience the wonder of discovery while providing them with the tools they need to understand and appreciate our changing world. A mission that fits with Oris’ commitment to conservation and Topper’s ongoing tradition of supporting the future generations of its local community.
“That’s something we’re proud to put our name behind,” said Geronimo.
The Oris Divers 1965 “Maxi” Topper Edition is expected to ship in December. Limited to 165 individually numbered pieces, the retail price is $2,450. For more information, visit topperjewelers.com.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)