Oris is a brand that you might especially know for their affordable but really qualitative sports watches, including a bunch of interesting dive watches, like the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge, and several Pilot Watches, like the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter. However, Oris is not just about creating rugged tools. Last year the brand celebrated its 110th anniversary with something highly noticeable, a dress watch with the brand’s first in-house movement – and not the worst of them so to speak. It’s called the Oris 110 Years Limited Edition and here is our thoughts after a few days on the wrist.
Designing, developing and crafting high quality watches is already quite something. Oris, for many years, was known for that. They’ve been building a strong collection of qualitative watches with outsourced base movements (mainly ETA). We’ve absolutely no hard feelings toward that, especially in the case of tool watches, where legibility, quality of the construction, functions and resistance to shocks are more important than the movement itself – even if some of the movements used by Oris are modified or with added complications. In a sense, Oris achieved to be an important, and interesting brand. However, the word ‘manufacture’ – meaning a workshop able to design, develop and build a movement (almost) entirely – could not be used for Oris.
Well, that was the case until last year. For their 110th anniversary, Oris decided not to introduce just a limited edition of one of their actual watches, but instead, to create something bigger, something that would stand out and be very special. This new watch is all about the number 110: it’s called the Oris 110 Years Limited Edition, it features the calibre 110 and it celebrates the brand’s 110th anniversary. Oris could also have decided to go for simplicity and to create a basic movement, able to be fitted into the other collections – but they chose to go for a complicated movement.
Aesthetically, the Oris 110 Years Limited Edition is a large but elegant timepiece. It’s nothing about showing off. We’re talking about another type of demonstration, a technical one to be precise – and that’s clearly in line with the image of the brand. The case is made of 18k rose gold (also available in stainless steel) and measures 43mm in diameter. As said, the design of this case remains simple, with no frills and no ostentation. The bezel is reduced to its simpler expression and shows a very large opening for the dial, emphasizing the size. However, thanks to short and curved lugs, the Oris 110 Years Limited Edition proves to be very wearable, even on an average sized wrist.
Dial, hands and indications
Simplicity and elegance are also applying to the dial and the hands. No frills here either. Oris could have been vain and adorned this watch with several mentions of its anniversary. Instead, they’ve been focusing of creating a balanced and clean dial. The dial shows a opaline silvery matte finish and is adorned with rose gold applied markers and Arabic numbers for the hours. The hands are also made in this same metal. At 9 sits a slightly recessed small-second sub-dial with a concentric pattern. At 3 however sits THE attraction of this watch: a power reserve indicator, scaled from 0 to 10. This Oris 110 Years Limited Edition indeed comes with an impressive 10-day power reserve.
Something else has to be noticed. What you could easily spot as a classical power reserve is in fact a non-linear power-reserve, as the scale is not graduated with the same spaces and the hand will move slow first and faster when close to the end of the power-reserve. This gives the wearer a far clearer indication of how much power is left in the watch as the moment to wind it approaches.
The pride of Oris is not visible on the dial or on the case. What Oris achieved in order to celebrate their 110th anniversary is purely technical. It took Oris’ own team of watchmakers and designers, together with Swiss technical specialists and with L’École Téchnique Le Locle, 10 years to create this movement, the first in-house ‘manufacture‘ engine of the brand. It comes with a patented non-linear power-reserve indicator (thanks to snailed power reserve gears) and boasts an impressive 10-day (or 240 hours) of energy – and this, from one single barrel.
The use of a single main spring barrel is quite impressive – most movements with comparable power-reserve are equipped with at least two main spring barrels. Inside this barrel is a mainspring that would stretch to 1.8 metres if unravelled. Usually, this type of spring is known for its superior amount of energy but also for its poor stability in delivering this energy. A strong spring will tend to deliver more energy to the gear train when fully wound than when it’s close to the end of the power-reserve, and that affects the accuracy of the watch. Considering the strength of the one featured in the Oris 110 Years Limited Edition, this could have been problematic. However, Oris is aware of that and (sort of) solved this issue by regulating the movement to the average – that’s also the reason why the power-reserve indicator is red for the last 1.5 days, as it’s better to wind the watch before, in order to keep a good accuracy.
The finish is deliberately a mixture of industrial surfaces and hand finishing. The main plate is left with a simple straight graining while the important parts, such a the angles – polished by hand – or the power reserve gears are beautifully finished and, thus, highlighted.
The Oris 110 Years Limited Edition is a pretty interesting watch, combining an elegant and discreet look with a technically advanced movement. It might be a demonstration of Oris’ capacities in terms of watchmaking, it remains a soft, non-ostentious one. One last thing that might help to tickle your interest: the price. The stainless steel edition (limited to 110 pieces) is priced at 4.450 Euros and this 18k rose gold edition (also limited to 110 pieces) is priced at 11.900 Euros.
More info: www.oris.ch