It’s no secret that Oris watches represent some of the best value for money within the entire luxury timepiece industry, but there is a lot about the company itself that is not common knowledge among many collectors. Today we are taking a closer look at the Oris brand and going over 8 facts about Oris watches that you probably didn’t know.
1. Oris was founded in 1904 by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian
The duo founded the Oris brand shortly after purchasing the Lohner & Co. Watch factory. The “Oris” name was inspired by a local brook in the Swiss town of Hölstein, and an assembly plant and an additional factory were established a short time later in a neighboring town. This was merely the beginning of an impressive boom within the Oris brand, which, by 1911, had become one of the largest employers in the small Swiss town. By the late 1920s, there were Oris factories in several nearby towns, including Hölstein. Holderbank, Como, Courgenay, Herbetswil, and Ziefen.
2. Oris Lawyer Dr. Rolf Portmann successfully tackled the unpopular Watch Statute
1934 marked the introduction of the Watch Statute, which regulated how timepiece companies were able to introduce new technologies and essentially prevented Oris from using lever escapements in its watch movements. The company hired dr. Rolf Portmann, and in 1966, after dedicating nearly ten years to dismantling the law, he was able to reverse it.
3. The Oris catalog consists of 4 main categories: Culture, Motorsport, Diving, and Aviation
Each category of watches within the Oris catalog caters to a different profession. And while many Oris watches are professional tool watches in origin, collectors of all lifestyles wear them for their unique style and unique functions that they offer. Some of the most notable timepieces from each category include such iconic watches as the Chronoris motorsport watch, the Big Crown ProPilot Aviation watch, the Aquis diver’s watch, and the classically-styled Artelier, just to name a few.
4. The Caliber 601 was Oris’s first automatic movement
The 17-jewel movement was introduced in 1952 and was Oris’ first self-winding movement produced in-house. It included a power reserve indicator and was celebrated for being able to achieve highly precise timekeeping. The introduction of the Cal. 601 came just as Oris was entering its self-proclaimed “Golden Years” that included many more movement innovations, such as the brand’s first chronometer, the Caliber 652.
5. After a buyout during the Quartz Crises in the 70s and 80s, Oris Watches became entirely mechanical
The new management buyout resulted in the Oris SA group, which was dedicated to becoming 100% mechanical. Chairman Ulrich W. Herzog was committed to making Oris the leader in mechanical watches and was responsible for re-releasing the iconic Pointer Date, an automatic timepiece that was both affordable and reliable. This watch was a front runner when it came to leading global mechanical watch trends and would go on to become Oris’ signature complication.
6. Oris was one of the first watchmaking companies to produce a Worldtimer watch.
A groundbreaking complication, indeed, the Worldtimer function can adjust the local time forward or backward in one-hour increments by pressing pushers on either side of the case. The date adjusts accordingly alongside the time, making the Worldtimer an incredibly useful travel watch and a true innovator of its time. The watch was just one of many pioneering aviation timepieces to come from Oris that helps the wearer keep track of time while traveling to all corners of the globe. The new Artelier Worldtimer debuted in 2004 as part of the brand’s “Oris Centennial Set” that was released to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
7. Many Oris watches are recognizable by a distinct Red Rotor, which was introduced in 2002.
Oris boasts the title of being one of the only independent Swiss timepiece manufacturers. The brand prides itself on producing Swiss-made luxury watches that are both high-quality and affordable, which the brand celebrated in 2002 with the introduction of its now-iconic Red Rotor. This feature is considered the brand’s defining trademark and is visible on many Oris watches through their transparent casebacks.
8. Oris reimagined its logo in 2018 to include its founding year, 1904.
Alongside the year 1904, the logo also includes the Swiss town in which the brand was founded, Hölstein. This update celebrates Oris’ dedication to producing modern watches that also honor the history of the brand. This also marked the beginning of Oris’ “Go Your Own Way” campaign, which embodies the brand’s dedication to producing high-quality and unique Swiss-made watches.