Esquire (Philippines) - - STYLE - BY MAN­ICA TIGLAO

Your next watch is a back-to-ba­sics piece that de­fies all expectations of what’s mod­ern. Founded in 1904, Oris is one of but a few Swiss watch­mak­ers that pro­duces only me­chan­i­cal watches, and it cur­rently faces a co­nun­drum that many other brands do: Is it wiser to level with the com­pe­ti­tion or swim against the tide? In a world of smart­phones and smart­watches, does it do a brand good to stick to its guns rather than go with the flow? Only time will tell.

So far, how­ever, Oris has had history on its side. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, when Swiss watch­mak­ers were con­fronted with a sim­i­lar threat with the in­flux of quartz tech­nol­ogy—a pe­riod the watch in­dus­try likes to call the Quartz Revo­lu­tion or the Quartz Cri­sis— Oris, al­ready a ma­jor player in Swiss watch­mak­ing, re­fused to halt pro­duc­tion, even as its peers strug­gled to keep afloat. To­day, as the smart­watch is made to ap­peal to even the haugh­ti­est of watch snobs, and as tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion con­tin­ues to flour­ish to ever more im­pres­sive heights, it might be con­sid­ered that this is the sec­ond com­ing of the Quartz Cri­sis.

But while stay­ing rel­e­vant in an ever-shift­ing world is key, Oris re­mains adamant about con­tin­u­ing to make only watches with a me­chan­i­cal move­ment, in­stead of join­ing the smart­watch cat­e­gory. Says David We­ber, the re­gional man­ager for Oris in the Asia Pa­cific re­gion, “Our ex­per­tise, knowl­edge, and pas­sion is with me­chan­i­cal watches. This is what we know, and this is what we’re good at.” Hav­ing crafted me­chan­i­cal watches for over 111 years, this is a brand that knows where its strengths lie. “Our me­chan­i­cal watches have func­tions that are made for daily use, not to be hid­den in a safe,” We­ber of­fers. “The Oris wearer looks for gen­uine val­ues, [typ­i­cally] uses tools and in­stru­ments in his or her daily life, and is price-con­scious, but will­ing to spend for lux­ury goods.”

Based in Hol­stein, Switzer­land, the com­pany’s head­quar­ters is lo­cated in a small, picturesque Swiss vil­lage with a bak­ery and a school in its vicin­ity. There’s a charm to its de­sire to re­main true to its roots of ar­ti­san crafts­man­ship, but it’s wor­thy to note that Oris also ex­erts ef­forts to in­no­vate. Ev­ery piece, move­ment, and com­po­nent of a watch is man­u­fac­tured ac­cord­ing to spec­i­fi­ca­tion, and the brand’s qual­ity con­trol depart­ment checks thor­oughly to en­sure that a watch com­plies with Swiss watch­mak­ing stan­dards.

With four main col­lec­tions fea­tur­ing col­lab­o­ra­tions with high­pro­file en­ti­ties such as the United States Marines and the au­to­mo­bile brand Audi Sport (Oris is the of­fi­cial part­ner of the Audi Sport rac­ing teams), the brand creates func­tional, col­lectible pieces for both the reg­u­lar wearer and the watch en­thu­si­ast. “Ev­ery­thing starts with ideas that we col­lect from our am­bas­sadors,” ex­plains We­ber. “We then start eval­u­at­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties, al­ways keep­ing in mind our be­lief in use­ful func­tions that make sense.” The brand’s Avi­a­tion watches, which now in­clude the iconic Big Crown col­lec­tion, took into con­sid­er­a­tion the sug­ges­tion of pi­lots who found the orig­i­nal Avi­a­tion mod­els’ crowns too small for quick and has­sle-free time ad­just­ment.

Oris’ other pieces are de­signed for the wearer’s con­ve­nience: the lat­est Aquis Depth Gauge, a me­chan­i­cal div­ing watch for pro divers, in­cor­po­rates a depth indi­ca­tor, while the Pro-Pi­lot Al­time­ter, a me­chan­i­cal avi­a­tor time­piece, con­tains an al­ti­tude indi­ca­tor. An­other line, the Force Re­con, was crafted es­pe­cially for the U.S. Marine Corps Force Re­con­nai­sance, an elite U.S. Spe­cial Forces com­mand unit. “The com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment and a com­mit­ment to qual­ity and suc­cess have al­ways res­onated with our brand,” We­ber says. The high-per­for­mance, sta­teof-the-art wrist­watch is de­signed to with­stand de­mand­ing con­di­tions and puts on dis­play the watchmaker’s abil­ity to in­no­vate.

The smart­watch may match—or per­haps even sur­pass, in some cases—the level of ac­cu­racy and con­ve­nience of­fered by the me­chan­i­cal watch, but there’s still much to be said about the in­tri­cacy and crafts­man­ship of Swiss-made me­chan­i­cal time­pieces. “[They are] a thing of beauty for­ever,” We­ber says proudly. Power Plant Mall.

AIR TIME For the times you find your­self in the cock­pit of an air­plane: The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Al­time­ter shows the cur­rent al­ti­tude via a yel­low indi­ca­tor and the cor­re­spond­ing air pres

sure via a red indi­ca­tor.

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