Sharing its lightweight titanium body with the 2012 ProDiver Kittiwake, the 2013 Oris Hirondelle Diver not only comes in a lot more appealing black-and-grey color scheme but also features a complication that may come handy if you already have a collection of timekeepers and don’t plan to wear this dark beauty on a daily basis. I, of course, am talking about the power reserve display.
Conveniently placed at 7 o’clock the power reserve sub-dial features an indication disk, which is stylized as a steamship’s engine order telegraph dial with the inevitable FULL, HALF, and even DEAD inscriptions. To my taste, the Swiss watchmaker came a little too close to looking ridiculous in this particular case, but some of the inscriptions can still make a bit of sense: the watch commemorates Switzerland’s first entirely “Swiss Made” (no pun intended) steamship Hirondelle.
Entering service back in 1855, the ship sank due to an accident seven years later in 1862. Celebrating this questionable anniversary, Oris decided to limit the new model to just 151 individually numbered pieces. All of them will have their solid case backs engraved with an image of the Hirondelle’s going across Lake Geneva.
Since Oris doesn’t make its own movements, the watch is powered by a slightly modified version of ETA 2897 automatic caliber that was renamed as Oris 667. The former, by the way, also powers the massive Doxa SUB 4000T professional diver rated for 1220 meters of water resistance.
The tiny engine is secured within a massive gunmetal-grey titanium body. Measuring 49 millimeters in diameter and sporting a helium escape valve (HEV, a must for a professional-grade diver), this rugged-looking timepiece is capable of withstanding pressure up to 100 ATM, which roughly translates to 1000 meters of water resistance. Still, I can’t call this a professional diving watch, since I have no information whether the Oris Hirondelle Diver was officially certified according to ISO 6425 standard.
According to Oris’ press release, the watch will be offered in a wooden gift box and sold at a recommended street price of CHF 4100 (around $4400 USD). Although the watch is far from being cheap, its price still looks competitive even if you put it against the 400-pound gorillas dominating this niche, such as Omega Seamaster, IWC Aquatimer, and, of course, Breitling Superocean, especially if you take into account the fact that this is a real limited edition, not an “exclusive” run of 1924 numbered pieces that some of the aforementioned (and many other brands) sometimes try to lure gullible customers to their boutiques.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Oris Hirondelle Diver 1000M specification
Price: CHF 4100
Movement: Automatic, Oris caliber 667 (base ETA 2897), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 21
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve indicator
Case and Crown: Titanium, gunmetal-grey
Bezel: Matches case, with extra-hard tungsten inlay
Size: 49.00 mm
Numerals: Arabic (on the bezel)
Hour markers: Luminous, bullet-shaped
Water resistance: 1000 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap with an adjustable extendable safety clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Solid, engraved