The Oris Wristwatch

The Oris Wristwatch gets its name from a brook and a valley close to Holstein in Switzerland. The name comes from the Celt Roman ''Orusz' meaning watercourse. Since the factory was founded in 1904, Oris has constantly developed better timepieces. The founders were Paul Cattin and Georges Christian, from Le Locle in the Swiss Jurasic region. They began watch making by taking over the watch firm Lohner. In 1906 ten further branches were opened in Waldenburg and in 1925 its own electroplating factory was opened, allowing the firm to specialize in affordable yet quality watches. About this time Oris began to fit bracelet buckles to pocket watches, proving popular in England, all English colonies and in South America.

Oris wristwatchIn 1927 George Christian died and the company became public. Oscar Herzog became CEO and the firm kept growing rapidly. In 1938 the first pointer calendar entered production. Oris also refined its pin lever watch to such an extent that it equaled the precision of a genuine lever watch, obtaining 242 certificates with official classification from the Bureau Official de Controle de la Marche de Montre at Le Locle in the years of 1945 to 1953.

From 1941, Oris gained a good reputation for quality alarm clocks and in 1952 the company introduced an alarm clock that only needed to be wound once every eight days. This is still a favorite of collectors. In 1952 they launched their first automatic oris wristwatch movement with a power reserve display. In the sixties, the company became one of ten biggest watch producers in Switzerland. In 1966 the famous automatic movement Cal. 645 with a 25-jewel lever escapement entered the production. In 1968 Cal. 652 was awarded the full chronometer certification from the Observatory of Neuchatel. This was a highly regarded certificate for accuracy and quality. In 1970 the Chronoris was launched.

After AUSAG (currently the Swatch Group) bought the majority of shares in the Company, Oris watches were restricted to making affordable watches for a more popularist clientelle. However, the plan was not successful as cheaper quartz watches from Far East flooded the market, sales dropped and a crisis hit Oris.

Oris wristwatchIn 1984, Dr. Rolf Portmann and Ulrich W. Herzog made a comeback with the Oris Wristwatch Pointer Calendar. This drew the attention of the Japanese, as they preferred its mechanical workings to the electronic gimmicks with LED & LCD displays. Because the Japanese economy was doing well, Oris made the decision to focus on satisfying Japanese consumers by investing in high quality mechanical timepieces. This resulted in a new path for the Oris Wristwatch Company, which continued by instigating a series of innovations that cemented its place in the industry. Innovations including:

Oris Innovations:

1988 - The first Oris alarm wristwatch.

1989 - The pointer calendar.

1991 - Complications with day, date, moonphase and 2nd time zone.

1993 - The 640 movement, with small second and pointer calendar.

1995 - The regulator movement.

1997 – The Worldtimer, with movement 690, which became their top selling movement.

All these designs are distinguished by their classical design, sensitive dials with chiseled structures and large crowns appealing to a great number of people all over the world. The robust full steel collection in 1998 is a new step in the design of Oris. From the nineties, famous stars began to wear Oris watches and now Oris is known worldwide as an innovator and designer of mechanical watches at affordable prices.

For what its worth – Oris is one of my favorite watch brands.

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