Orsa Diver Review

December 13, 2004

Orsa Diver Review

I have always admired the look of military watches. They all seem to convey a simple form-follows-function image that is sorely lacking to my eye in many things today. No fancy engravings, artwork, or elaborate complications for only their own sake. No, a military watch just tells the time in a simple, albeit bombproof, manner. The subject of this review, the Orsa Diver, is a modern reproduction of a Royal Navy divers watch. It is also, incidentally, an exceptionally good value.

The Orsa is an extremely handsome timepiece in my opinion. The case is a big solid looking chunk of stainless steel with a thick ratcheting unidirectional stainless bezel that looks like it could deflect a bullet. ( The bezel on a diver should only rotate in a counterclockwise direction and its action should be firm. This is for safety, if the watch is bumped while underwater, the bezel will only move in such a way as to show a shortened dive time and thus prevent a diver from running out of air). In addition, the bezel has a bright lume marker built into it. The crystal is mineral glass ( alas no sapphire ) with a pair of strong looking guards around the stem. Orsa’s come equipped with either a leather strap/deployment clasp combo or a nylon Nato style strap as my piece has. Both straps compliment the rugged, no-foolin, look that military watches all seem to have. The Orsa is rated at 200 meters water resistance which should be adaquate for most divers and the lume on its face, hands and bezel is both bright and long lasting. Internally, the watch is powered by a Ronda 515 Swiss quartz movement that exhibits the usual excellent accuracy and reliability that quality quartz movements are known for.

Orsa is a small company and it is perfectly understandable if you haven’t heard of it. It is located in Canada and is run by Martin Berger, a watch enthusiast who apparently decided that he could do a better job. It was a pleasure to do business with him and he regularly posts and responds to feedback on the Poor Man’s Watch Forum.

Everything you have read so far wouldn’t mean much if the Orsa cost an arm and a leg. After all, there are plenty of expensive dive watches available. Thats where the great value part comes in, this model only runs $105.00. For a watch that almost exactly matched the specs of my Tag Heuer (the Tag has a sapphire crystal, that is the only significant engineering difference) for one fifth to one sixth the price, it is an excellent buy. Orsa’s are available at the sales forum on the Poor Man’s Watch Forum and on Martin Berger’s ebay store. For both a serious diver or just for everyday knock-around wear, the ORSA Diver is a great choice.

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