Ten years after cel­e­brat­ing its Cen­tury, Oris fi­nally launches its first com­plete man­u­fac­ture move­ment since 1981 to cel­e­brate its 110th An­niver­sary.

Esquire Malaysia Watch Guide - - Contents - Words by Leong Wong

Almost 40 years on since the last in-house move­ment was made, Oris launches its lat­est in-house Cal­i­bre 110 to

cel­e­brate the oc­ca­sion.

ORIS IS CEL­E­BRAT­ING its 110th An­niver­sary this year. Though con­sid­ered only mid­dle-aged in the horo­log­i­cal world, the watch company has seen its fair share of in­no­va­tions. The one con­stant fac­tor that is now deeply and proudly en­trenched in its DNA is this: it is one of the very few that can lay claim to hav­ing al­ways been a mod­er­ately priced me­chan­i­cal watch. It even sur­vived the two decades of quartz move­ment, which was con­sid­ered a death knell to most of the watch world. In to­day’s terms, Oris is one of the greats, as we now view me­chan­i­cal as the ul­ti­mate watch to have. The ta­bles have turned, and need­less to say, Oris has re­turned with a vengeance.

The watch company was first es­tab­lished in 1904 by watch­mak­ers by the name of Paul Cat­tin and Ge­orges Christian in the town of Hol­stein in Switzer­land. The name Oris comes from a brook near to where the two bought a closed watch fac­tory. Their first watch was a gold pocket watch with a white enamel dial and Ro­man nu­mer­als trans­ferred hour in­dexes. In the mid 1910s, they started man­u­fac­tur­ing wrist­watches, and by the ’20s and ’30s the company had pros­pered to seven fac­to­ries to keep up with the de­mand.

A lit­tle stum­bling block in the Swiss watch­mak­ing in­dus­try oc­curred in the form of the ‘Watch Statute’ which was im­ple­mented in 1934 and pro­hib­ited watch­mak­ers from in­tro­duc­ing new tech­nolo­gies with­out per­mis­sion. This nat­u­rally hin­dered a lot of progress in the in­dus­try and for still un­known rea­sons— though it is likely to have been due to the strained po­lit­i­cal cli­mate lead­ing up to WWII. Un­per­turbed, Oris car­ried on per­fect­ing their ex­ist­ing tech­nol­ogy. 1938 was a good year for Oris, as it in­tro­duced two firsts: A first pi­lot watch with a pointer cal­en­dar—which was also the first of its kind. As WWII went off around the world, Switzer­land’s neu­tral­ity af­fected them eco­nom­i­cally as their trade di­min­ished. To sur­vive, Oris started mak­ing alarm clocks which even­tu­ally led to the cre­ation of the 8-day power re­serve which was launched in 1949. When the mid ’50s rolled along, Oris had be­come one of the largest and most ad­vanced watch man­u­fac­tur­ers in all of Switzer­land, and they made nearly all the com­po­nents in-house, ex­cept for the hands, hair­springs and jew­els.

Oris launched their very first chrono­graph in 1970, the iconic Chronoris. Its de­sign had moved on from the usual clas­sics, in favour of a more mod­ern ton­neau-like shape, while main­tain­ing the round dial with up­dated orange scale mark­ing on a black dial, and it lived on to be­come one of the most suc­cess­ful mod­els the company had ever pro­duced.

We all know what hap­pened in the mid-‘70s un­til early-‘90s, there­fore no re­count is re­quired of the calamity that hit the Swiss watch in­dus­tries. Oris was not spared in the catas­tro­phe and had nearly died in the early 1980s, un­til two em­ploy­ees de­cided to grab the op­por­tu­nity. Dr Rolf Port­mann and Ul­rich W. Her­zog bought the company. They re­fo­cused on the me­chan­i­cal watches, and by the 1990s they be­came com­pletely me­chan­i­cal and were a strong contributo­r to the re­vival of the me­chan­i­cal watches. As the de­mand for me­chan­i­cal in the early 90s was still rel­a­tively

low and the fea­si­bil­ity of pro­duc­ing small amount of me­chan­i­cal move­ment was rather un­suit­able, Oris re­lied on third party move­ments, which was the trend in the in­dus­try. It is only now that the ta­ble has turned in favour of me­chan­i­cal move­ments that watch­mak­ers are con­fi­dent again in mak­ing their own move­ments. Now the trend for any de­cent watch mak­ers is to be­come in­de­pen­dent from third party move­ments as the de­mand for them is reach­ing its high­est ever in watch­mak­ing his­tory.

To cel­e­brate their in­de­pen­dence and their 110th An­niver­sary, Oris de­cided to un­veil a cou­ple of stars. The first is its first in-house move­ment since the ’70s, the Cal­i­bre 110, which will be a popular time­piece with ev­ery­one as it has a 10-day power re­serve from a large and pow­er­ful sin­gle bar­rel. The other star of the an­niver­sary is the Big Crown ProPilot Al­time­ter, which boasts the world’s first au­to­matic me­chan­i­cal al­time­ter watch.


Lead­ing the pack is of course is the Oris 110 Years Limited Edi­tion, the showcase of more than a cen­tury’s worth of ex­pe­ri­ence in the art of watch­mak­ing plus their lat­est tech­nol­ogy. The watch took six years to de­velop and has an amaz­ing 10-day power re­serve—this power is har­nessed and stored in a sin­gle large bar­rel which takes up a quar­ter of the move­ment on the back and it has a ro­tary-style power re­serve in­di­ca­tor. The move­ment’s bridges are hand pol­ished and edges beveled, while the bridges are left un­dec­o­rated to give it an in­dus­trial feel (and of course, keep the cost down). You can view the move­ment through the sap­phire case back

which also dis­plays the non-lin­ear power re­serve in­di­ca­tor. This not-so-lit­tle mar­vel is housed in a stain­less steel case or a gold case with white dial and Su­per-Lu­miNova hour and minute hands and a small seconds at nine o’clock, and a power re­serve in­di­ca­tor at three o’clock.


The avi­a­tion time­piece was the watch­maker’s first ven­ture into the area of spe­cial­ties. They launched their very first pi­lot watch in 1938, and the star of this an­niver­sary is also the Avi­a­tion Big Crown ProPilot Al­time­ter. Almost 80 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in mak­ing pi­lot watches has gone into this lat­est star ad­di­tion. It boast the first au­to­matic me­chan­i­cal pi­lot watch with an al­time­ter. Nor­mally the rarely seen al­time­ter on a me­chan­i­cal watch is usu­ally found in the hand-wound move­ments and with years of re­search and de­vel­op­ment, Oris has found it good enough to fit it into its au­to­matic wind­ing move­ment. The al­time­ter is an in­stru­ment that mea­sures the changes in the at­mo­spheric pres­sure, and cal­cu­lates the al­ti­tude in feet or me­ters above sea level, and it is par­tic­u­larly use­ful to pi­lots. It’s al­ways good to have a spare just in case. The black dial has three lay­ers the base dial has the Su­per-Lu­miNova Ara­bic hour mark­ers and hour in­dexes marked and an hour and minute hands coated with Su­per-Lu­miNova with a red tipped black sec­ond hand. The au­to­matic me­chan­i­cal move­ment is housed in a ro­bust brushed stain­less steel with fluted bezel.


The sec­ond spe­cialised area for Oris to ven­ture into is the div­ing watch cat­e­gory. It didn’t re­ally hap­pen un­til 2009, when it in­tro­duced the ProDiver and BC4. A whole new mar­ket has opened up for div­ing watches, and with grow­ing num­bers of en­thu­si­asts for all things me­chan­i­cal, div­ing watches have be­come a craze. Pointer Moon is lead­ing the pack in the Pro­Drive, with its chart (in the shape of ‘8’) map­ping the lu­nar cy­cle, to help you mon­i­tor the tides re­sult­ing from the moon’s grav­i­ta­tional pull and also the moon phase around the outer flange of the black dial. The hour in­dex mark­ers dec­o­rat­ing the dial are coated with Su­per-Lu­miNova and re­peated on the hour, minute and sec­ond hands with the moon pointer in orange are pow­ered by an au­to­matic me­chan­i­cal move­ment re-en­gi­neered from Sel­lita SW220. They are en­cased in ti­ta­nium hous­ing with ce­ramic bezel.

Above and left: 110 Years Limited Edi­tion, Cal­i­bre 110.

Left and be­low: ProDiver Pointer Moon, side view.

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