Most dive watches follow a pretty simple formula. This almost always means normal hour and minute hands, either central or subsidiary seconds, and sometimes a date window. This watch mostly fits that mold, but with one major change: it’s a regulator, meaning the hour and minute hands aren’t on the same axis. Instead, the large minute hand is still centrally-located, with the hours being displayed in a sub-dial at three o’clock.
If you think about it, this kind of display is actually perfect for a dive watch. While it was originally used for scientific clocks and clocks used by watchmakers to set other timekeepers, a dive tool is another great application of the idea. When under the water, you don’t really need to know what hour it is – you just need to be able to track elapsed minutes using the minute hand and the rotating dive bezel. This format lets you do just that, while minimizing the other clutter and improving legibility.
Oris was the first watchmaker to create a dive-certified regulator, nearly 20 years ago back in 1999. Now, Oris is taking the idea and applying it to the newly updated Aquis collection, giving us the Regulateur "Der Meistertaucher" (which translates from German as Master Diver, by the way). This new watch has a 43.5mm case made of titanium to reduce weight and increase comfort. It comes with a matching titanium link bracelet as well as the red rubber diving strap you see in the photos here. Opposite the titanium crown and crown guards at three o’clock you’ll find a helium escape valve built into the case at nine o’clock (though you know what our resident dive expert thinks about those…).
What makes this such a functional dive tool though is the combination of the dial layout and the rotating bezel. First, there’s the bezel, which isn’t all that unusual. It’s uni-directional and has a matte black ceramic inlay with markings in both white and red, the latter for the last 15 minutes in the countdown. The matte black dial, on the other hand, is what sets this watch apart. At three o’clock is a slightly oversized sub-dial displaying the hours with a luminous hand, and to its left is a smaller sub-dial that shows the seconds. The most prominent feature though is that large arrow-shaped minute hand with luminous fill and a bright red outline. Essentially if you’re using this on a dive you set the bezel against that minute hand and then just have a single, bold countdown to worry about.
The date window is tastefully tucked down at six o’clock and matches the dial’s color to keep things discreet. I don’t think it’s necessary here, but it’s not obtrusive at all. Finally, the whole package is water resistant to 300 meters, also noted down at the bottom of the dial.
Powering the Regulateur "Der Meistertaucher" is the Oris caliber 749, which is based on the Sellita SW 220-1. The two biggest modifications are the repositioning of the hands to make this a regulator and the removal of the day of the week indicator from the Sellita. The movement has 28 jewels, hacking seconds, and a 38-hour power reserve.
There are no two ways about it – this is a big watch. When you combine the 43.5mm diameter with the 13.5mm thickness, the angular geometry of the case, and the hefty crown protectors, you get a very substantial piece of wristwear. That said, if big watches are your thing and you don’t mind the size, the titanium construction and comfortable rubber strap do make the watch wear rather well for something so substantial. I could see the size being a huge benefit too if you wanted to actual use this for its intended purpose, as the large dial makes for extremely high legibility.
The Oris Regulateur "Der Meistertaucher" is priced at $3,150 and comes in a waterproof box with a titanium bracelet, a rubber strap, and a strap changing tool. For more, visit Oris online.