Oris SA is a Swiss luxury manufacturer of mechanical watches. The company was founded in 1904 and is based in Hölstein in the canton of Basel-Landschaft.
Like many other Swiss watch manufacturers in the early 1980s, Oris was on the verge of closure. Managing Director Dr Rolf Portmann – who was instrumental in the reversal of the Watch Statute – and Head of Marketing Ulrich W. Herzog took over the remainder of the company in 1982 as part of a management buyout. Soon after, the newly formed and independent Oris SA elected to abandon quartz and produce solely mechanical timepieces in the mid-price segment. Oris made its last quartz watch in the early 1990s.
Since the turn of the millennium, the company has concentrated on the worlds of Diving, Culture, Aviation and Motor Sports. Since 2002, the Red Rotor has served as Oris's registered trademark and distinguishing feature. In 2004, the Quick Lock Crown system was developed, which only requires a single clockwise turn of 120 degrees to secure it in place. In 2009, Oris introduced the Rotation Safety System, a device that locks the uni-directional rotating bezel of a diving watch into place, preventing accidental adjustment under water. Oris patented the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge, its first mechanical depth gauge, in 2013. It allows water into a channel via a small hole at 12 o’clock. Water enters the hole under pressure, creating a watermark that corresponds to a depth gauge. In 2014, Oris celebrated 110 years of watchmaking with its first in-house-developed calibre for 35 years. Calibre 110 was a hand-wound movement that featured a 10-day power reserve and a patented non-linear power reserve indicator.
|Brand||Model||Reference number||Best price||Offers|
Oris was founded by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian in the Swiss town of Hölstein. They bought the recently closed Lohner & Co watch factory, and on June 1, 1904 the two men entered into a contract with the local mayor. They named their new watch company Oris after a nearby brook, and they began the industrial manufacture of pocket watches. In its founding year, Oris employed 67 people. In 1906, the firm opened an assembly plant and second factory in the nearby town of Holderbank. Another factory followed in Como in 1908. By 1911, Oris had become the largest employer in Hölstein, with over 300 workers. To entice more watchmakers, it built houses and apartments for its staff, and it expanded so that by 1929 it had additional factories in Courgenay (1916), Herbetswil (1925) and Ziefen (1925).
With the opening of the Ziefen factory and the electroplating plant in Herbetswil, Oris expanded its product range. The company began to fit bracelet buckles to its pocket watches, thereby transforming them into fully-fledged wristwatches. In 1927, company co-founder Georges Christian died and Jacques-David LeCoultre became President of the Board of Directors. Jacques-David LeCoultre was Antoine LeCoultre’s grandson and the man who merged with Edmond Jaeger to form Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1937. Following the death of Georges Christian a year earlier, Oscar Herzog, Christian's brother-in-law, took over as General Manager in 1928, a position he held for 43 years.
In 1936, Oris opened its own dial factory in Biel/Bienne. By that time, the company produced almost every element of its watch and clock products in-house. Oris introduced its signature pilot’s watch in 1938, the so-called Big Crown. The collection takes its name from the watch’s oversized crown, employed as an aid to pilots who adjust their watches while wearing leather gloves. Variations on this watch are still produced today. Vintage Oris watches with pointer date complications During the Second World War, Oris’s distribution network beyond Switzerland was reduced significantly. To keep business alive, the company started manufacturing alarm clocks. With the end of the war, the company expanded again.