Continuing a line started in 1999, Oris released a new Master Diver this year. The Oris Regulateur ‘Der Meistertaucher’ has no co-axial hands. The minutes’ hand is the only central function, being the most important indication of a dive watch. The small seconds helps the diver to determine if the watch is functional. The separation of the hour sub-dial emphasises the importance of the diver’s minutes.
Nothing less than a great history
The Oris brand was founded by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian in 1904. The name comes from the brook nearby the watch factory, in Hölstein. The Oris manufacture grew quickly, extending by opening assembly plants in several locations. The first wristwatches produced were actually pocket watches mounted on a leather strap. 1938 was an important year for Oris: the release of the first in-house escapement and the birth of the Big Crown. During WWII, the brand’s exports are reduced, forcing Oris to manufacture alarm clocks. This didn’t stop the innovation process, Oris being awarded for accuracy of the pin-lever escapement by the Bureau Officiel de Contrôle de la Marche des Montres in Le Locle.
The first automatic movement from Oris was launched in 1952 featuring also a power reserve indication. A 100m water resistance watch with unidirectional diving bezel and luminescent numerals was released in 1965. The ‘70s were marked by the launch of Oris’s Motor Sport Chronoris, while the ‘80s by the mechanical alarm wristwatch.
Starting with 1991, the company’s intention to produce only mechanical wristwatches is consolidated by the launch of Oris Calibre 581 (with in-house moon-phase module). The modern years are marked by ties with the world of Jazz, BIG Pilot watches, quick-lock crown, red rotor, in-house calibres and innovations.
In 1999, Oris was the first brand to introduce a diver watch with a traditional complication – the Regulateur. This permits an easier readout of the minutes – feature relevant for the pro-divers and not only.
Review: Oris Regulateur “Der Meistertaucher”
Oris has a solid reputation when it comes to professional-oriented dive watches. The company underlines though important, water resistance is not the only critical element in a dive watch. An equal importance is placed in the ability to display a clear, easy to read remaining dive time. We agree with both points. In 2017, Oris released “Der Meistertaucher” with a facelift which fits better the new Aquis collection.
The case, dial and hands
The latest “Der Meistertaucher” (translated: the Master Diver) has a modern design. The timepiece has a 43.5 mm titanium case. This reduces the overall weight, makes it more wearable on a daily base. A titanium metal bracelet and the buckle of the rubber strap is fitted with the watch.
The case has a solid look with a sober satin finish. The lugs are voluminous with straight angles indicating a robust construction. At the same time, the case is slightly slimmer than the previous models. The crown protection is redesigned in a more delicate form and the crown offers a good grip. It is decorated with the Oris logo on a matt, sandblasted background. An interesting detail is the crown material – in stainless steel. Maybe a reuse from other Oris models? Or perhaps the shape and form of the crown makes it more difficult to manufacture in titanium. The entire watch has fine lines, avoiding the slightly brutal form of the older variants.
The case has 300m water resistance. An automatic helium valve is mounted at 9 o’clock into the case side. This is a clear statement of the seriousness with which this diver timepiece is treated. This type of valve is usually commonly found in a professional diver tool. The valve releases helium during decompression, thereby releasing the pressure which could damage the watch.
For some of the older models, Oris used a screwed case-back with see-through crystal. For this year’s model, the brand decided to use a solid case back with embossed Oris shield and ‘MEISTERTAUCHER’ inscription.
The bezel is the dominating element from the case construction. The deep teeth overflow slightly over the case body enhances the grip. The ratcheting system with 120 clicks permits only unidirectional movement – required for safety reasons. Rotating the bezel is a nice action offering a sturdy feeling about the bezel’s quality. The black ceramic scale presents the classical 60 minutes diver scale, but the first 15 minutes are painted in red to match the minutes’ hand (presented later). In the bezel is mounted a double domed sapphire crystal with inner anti-reflexive coating.
The dial is different from the majority of the divers’ available on the market. The main feature is the Regulateur layout that separates the hands to a central minute indication and two sub-dials for small seconds and hour indication. In this way, the minutes – the key information necessary for diving are isolated and highlighted. The minute hand has a bright red outline and it is filled with Super-LumiNova®. The base of the hand is black painted. The base dial is also black – this helping the viewer to focus direct on the information displayed as the minutes indication in direct connection with the red scale. This seems like a gimmick, but we feel it is a nice touch which rises the Oris diver to a new level of coolness and usefulness. The minute scale is decorated with three-dimensional applied indexes for each 5 minutes. The indexes are completed with Arabic numerals.
The small seconds is available at 9 o’clock not as a decorative or fun component, but to allow the wearer to know that the watch is running. The hour sub-dial, symmetrically placed at 3 o’clock has a bigger dimension. On the scale are prompted Arabic numerals for each two hours, starting with 12 o’clock. Both hands, minutes and hours are painted in Super-LumiNova®.
Almost unnoticed is the date window from 6 o’clock. The white painted numerals on a black background help to keep the good visibility even on the small size. It is interesting that even with so many details and elements present on the dial, the entire look is not that crowded as it might be expected.
The light-weighted case and pleasant dial and bezel elements are elegant. But not in the dress watch idea, just not brutal or strictly functional. The titanium bracelet also fits a shirt, casual look. On the rubber strap, the watch is purely sporty.
The movement: Oris Cal. 749
There are not so many things to be said about the Master Diver’s movement. The Oris Cal. 749 is based on the Sellita SW220-1. The movement is machine-decorated: perlage, Cotes du Genève and brushing. The Oris decorates the rotor with the now classic red paint. Another modification is the removing of the day indication found on the donor Sellita. The movement is a robust 11½ lines (25.60mm diameter) calibre with 26 jewels and a 4Hz balance wheel. The Sellita SW220-1 is used in watches like the Sinn Pilot watch and the Eterna KonTiki, and have a good reputation for robustness and reliability.
Using a non-specialised and conventional movement helps the end-user to have access to a fast and cheap servicing. The same movement is used in the Oris Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition II, that we reviewed last year.
The Regulatuer feature is not a usual feature used in diver watches. This makes the competitive landscape with few inhabitants. Still, we consider that we must make a market comparison.
One of the most known Regulateur watch is the Chronoswiss Régulateur. This timepiece is almost a trademark for the brand. The case can be found with steel or gold case with a beautiful onion crown. The dials are particularly beautiful and well executed. Moreover, the dials are produced in-house with gorgeous guilloché elements. The layout is symmetrical with a construction from the top, starting with the hour dial and finishing with the small seconds, at 6 o’clock. The design is elegant but rich in details. By definition, these timepieces are dress watches and have prices over CHF10,000 even for the steel versions. The Chronoswiss is, of course not designed for diving, and does not feature a high water resistance.
As the Oris is possibly the only Regulator Diving watch, we turn our attention to dive watches:
A prominent diving watch is the Omega Seamaster. This year, Omega released a 60 years anniversary series featuring watches with the original ‘57 design. The watch has a lovely appearance. The classic design with great readability is a collector’s piece. It is rather more expensive at S$10,050, but consider also the lineage of Omega.
The Tudor Black Bay collection also offers good competition for a modestly priced diving watch. An example might be the Tudor Black Bay Dark. The 41mm case in steel has only 200m water resistance. The look is of a classic diver and the watch is fitted with a COSC certified in-house calibre. With a bracelet strap, the Heritage Black Bay has a price tag of S$4,608 with a fabric strap. If the in-house movement is important, this watch is a serious competitor for the Oris Regulateur, although the dial layout is rather conventional instead of a regulator.
A more affordable diver watch is the Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman Auto from the new Khaki Navy collection. Packed in a 42mm or 46mm stainless steel case, the watch is available in several dial and bezel colours and strap variants. The watch has an interesting and relatively massive crown lock. The Frogman comes with a price of US$1,095 or Us$1,445 for the 46mm case, and offers a rather affordable, serious alternative.
The new Oris Regulateur “Der Meistertaucher” is an unusual diver watch due to the Regulatuer complication. This helps the user to focus on the important information of the dial. Even if the timepiece is intended to be a tool watch with a great layout and excellent readability, the light-weighted design and elegant lines makes it comfortable enough for a daily use. Certainly suitable as a tool watch.
Oris Regulateur “Der Meistertaucher” Specification and Price
Oris Regulateur ‘Der Meistertaucher’, Ref. No. 01 749 7734 7154 MB, has a retail price of CHF 3,100 or S$ 4,500 (inclusive of GST) and comes in a black water-resistant case with red rubber replacement strap and strap-change tools.
Calibre: Oris Cal. 749, based on Sellita SW 220-1
Type: mechanical self-wound movement
Dimensions: 25.60mm diameter
Power reserve: 38 hours
Frequency: 4Hz, 28,800 vibrations per hour
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds
Dimensions of the case
Diameter: 43.50mm diameter
Crystal: Sapphire crystal domed on both sides with anti-reflective coating inside
Crown: Stainless steel screw-in security crown and automatic helium escape valve at 9 o’clock.
Caseback: Screwed titanium case back with embossed Oris shield and ‘MEISTERTAUCHER’ inscription
Water resistance: 30bar / 300m
Material: Titanium bracelet with folding clasp and extension system. Supplied with red rubber strap with folding clasp and quick-adjust extension system
Buckle: Folding clasp