Age with grace: greens and indigos shine in the new Oris x Momotaro Diver’s Sixty-Five
Three words. Just three words can define the new Oris x Momotaro Diver’s Sixty-Five: retro, vintage, fauxtina.
If you love the magic these three words can create on your wrist, then read on. The high dose of the charm of the first two in the new Oris x Momotaro Diver’s Sixty-Five is evident from the word go, embodied within the new colour segue of light gradient green, the bronze touches to the bezel and the golden — aided by the use of Super-LumiNova® ‘Light Old Radium’ —indices. The fauxtina part, while it’s surpassingly well executed here, always gets a mixed bag of reactions, so I am going to leave its judgement to you. (Psst. We love it.)
So What Is It?
Andy Warhol, the artist extraordinaire once quipped, “I want to die with my blue jeans on.”
Given we started this off with an Andy Warhol quote, let’s continue this review by painting a picture. Allow me. Imagine holding the finest pair of denim jeans in one hand, allowing its supple texture to caress your skin. Then imagine a beautiful diver on your other wrist, perfectly wrapped around, waiting with baited breath for your next sojourn. Now join the two together.
Presenting the new Oris x Momotaro Diver’s Sixty-Five.
The Rise of the Independents
Swiss. Meet Japanese. No, we are not talking about Grand Seiko here. Both Oris and Momotaro Jeans are independent companies, the former a pioneering Swiss brand, the latter a maverick Japanese. The new Oris x Momotaro Diver’s Sixty-Five watch is presented as a steel and bronze version of the famous Oris Diver’s Sixty-Five, and comes on an indigo Momotaro denim strap with two white ‘battle stripes’, the denim manufacturer’s famous signature.
Momotaro Jeans are known for their mantra ‘Made by hand without compromise’. Named after a Japanese folklore hero, Momotaro was launched in 2006 by Mr Hisao Manabe and from the outset, it maintained this mantra. Since its inception in 1904, over the years Oris has come to be known as the brand with the Big Crown Pointer Date. Given Oris made its first pilot’s watch in 1910, and introduced the big crown look in 1938, it is safe to assume that this has become one of their emblematic design features.
That said, Oris is also known for its dive watches that in the last five years of existence have come to be acknowledged for their distinctive looks and trustworthy tool watch appeal. These embody Oris’ mantra, ‘Go your own way’.
For those who haven’t heard of the brand, simply put, Momotaro Jeans is a leading Japanese company that makes high-quality denim jeans.
In terms of the origin of its name, Mr Katsu Manabe, son of the company’s founder, says that “Momotaro is a heroic figure in Japanese folklore and really closely associated with Okayama. Our airport is even called Okayama Momotaro Airport. It’s the most famous symbol of this city and prefecture, and so we proudly named our company after it.”
These denim jeans are unique, well regarded and described by the impressive Japanese craftsmanship. Says Mr Manabe, “Japanese craftsmanship has a spirit of hospitality. By that I mean every detail is carefully considered for end users. That’s what genuine quality means to us.”
Given both brands, Oris & Momotaro are producing exceptional products, it then comes as little surprise that the two are collaborating. “We’re making straps for the watch using our hard-wearing indigo Momotaro denim, finished with our signature white ‘battle stripes’. I’m sure it’ll stoke up interest because it’s a super collaboration. I love it, and I definitely want the watch!”, says Mr Manabe.
The reference 733 7707 4337-Set features the calibre Oris 733 automatic movement which is very similar to the movement used — Oris 754 — in one of my favourite watches from the brand, the Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date reference 754 7741 3166 5 20 74BR. While the Oris 754 is derived from Sellita SW-200, the new Oris x Momotaro Diver’s Sixty-Five uses a movement derived from Sellita SW 200-1 that measures 25.60mm in diameter and features a bi-directionally rotating red rotor. Both movements feature 26 jewels, beat at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), and offer an okay 38-hour power reserve. The difference is in the date aperture and water-resistance. The new offering features no date and has an increased 100m water-resistance — owing to a stainless steel screw-in security crown— that is twice that of the Pointer Date watch.
The movement is encased inside a 40mm diameter multi-piece stainless steel case featuring a uni-directional rotating bezel — including a black anodised aluminium insert with a 60-minute diving scale — with 120 clicks and a bronzed edge. It is topped by a bubble-curved sapphire crystal that is domed on both sides with anti-reflective coating on the inside. The stainless steel case-back is closed but features special engravings.
The watch face shows the functions of centre hands for hours, minutes and seconds on a unique and beautiful gradient green dial. Legibility is high owing to the clean dial look, and aided by the use of Super-LumiNova® ‘Light Old Radium’ in the hands and indices. Of-course the Oris standard lollipop-shaped seconds hand and geometric hour and minute hands further aide this clean & legible look.
Complementing the green dial, the new watch comes on an indigo Momotaro denim with two white ‘battle stripes’ strap, along with a stainless steel buckle. This strap is special as the denim makes use of only the nest long-staple cotton and only deep indigo rope dye to achieve the best possible fade. It’s made in workshops that use vintage shuttle looms to create a hand-made feel to the weave, with every detail hand-sewn.
The Internal Context
Oris has a tradition, and we are grateful for it here, of releasing limited editions from time to time. Recent times have given us the RedBar, Hodinkee, and the Revolution Magazine versions. As stunning as all these are in their own rights, I do find the new Oris x Momotaro Diver’s Sixty-Five to be very similar to the Oris Divers Sixty-Five Timeless LE from 2019. Featuring the same movement —designed as another collaboration, this time between Oris and Timeless Luxury Watches — and a dark green grained dial and again no date, it now appears to be the elder brother of this new release. The bronze bezel works really well with both these releases, and both coming in at 40mm diameter are perfect for all wrist sizes. These would in-fact make for great daily wear or ‘beater’ watches.
The External Context
You say denim in watches and I immediately think of the Omega Seamaster Railmaster ‘Blue Denim’, replete with a 40mm stainless steel case with indigo colouring and vertical brushed finishing. This reference 126.96.36.199.03.001 features similar lume filled hands and a lollipop seconds hand, and it also takes the whole denim look to a new level with a denim inspired dial and strap. Now traditionally this double denim look has always been frowned upon, and in my personal fashion taste, I do agree. But to give credit where its due, Omega has managed to pull this off rather well. It has a higher water resistance of 150m though doesn’t have a dive bezel. In regards to the strap used, well it’s frankly a bit too thick owing to the leather-backed denim NATO-style appearance. Retailing for 7’425 AUD it is also twice the price of the new Oris x Momotaro Diver’s Sixty-Five. And the latter also has a custom strap designed, rather than simply taking a blue denim looking strap. Of-course there are other examples like the 2013 Hublot Big Bang Jeans but that is in a completely different price zone and almost a planet on its own.
Watch Ya Gonna Do About It
Retro, vintage appeal and fauxtina, all are present in good measure in the new Oris x Momotaro Diver’s Sixty-Five. Throw in the price point of 3’200 AUD and the watch is pretty much a no-brainer.
Against the allure of the brushed stainless steel case seduces the notched bronze outer ring. People who like being on a big retro kick should reward themselves. This watch manages to walk the thin line between tacky bronze look and refined ageing look with panache.
Jeans age with time. Bronze ages with time. Both age uniquely and distinctively, usually with no two examples alike. What more could you want?
To find out more about this and other Oris watches, please head to their website here.