It all began on 1 June 1904, when partners Paul Cattin and Georges Christian decided to create their own watchmaking brand, and manufacture beautifully crafted mechanical watches at controlled costs. Named Oris after the river that flows near the workshops, the manufactory is nestled at the heart of the Swiss valley of Waldenburg, in the peaceful village of Hölstein. Throughout its history, the Maison has remained faithful to the ideals of its founders. Neither world wars nor financial crisis or the hegemony of quartz watches were able to hinder Oris’s success over the decades.
Starting 2020 and every year thereafter, the independent company has decided that it would unveil a special edition anniversary watch in order to celebrate its roots and history, and the new Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 initiated the concept on 15 June this year. This instrument is a dual-counter chronograph that follows the vintage lines of the iconic Sixty-Five models, and was inspired by the original Oris diver’s watch created in 1965. With this limited series of 250 pieces, Oris has achieved a world first in watchmaking: no other watch has ever made a case, crown, pushers and above all, a bracelet out of solid bronze. With a diameter of 43 mm, this beautiful chronometer benefits more than any other from the properties of this alloy, which will acquire a natural patina over time by reacting to the environment to which it is exposed, making each model a unique piece. But while this metal is massively present, it should be noted that the watch is not fully made of bronze, and with good reason. This material is too soft or reacts too chemically for certain elements such as the case back, the pins holding the links of the bracelet and the folding clasp, which are made of stainless steel. While it displays its colour, the dial is not made of bronze and is gold-plated for more stability. This is perhaps where that the watch’s charm comes into play, as the contrast with the two black counters really give the instrument an incredible vintage character. Any other colour would have been too bland.
The Hölstein Edition 2020 boasts a water resistance up to 100 metres and protects a beautifully crafted automatic movement, thus having the specific technical attributes of diving watches: a unidirectional rotating bezel with graduations to calculate immersion times, screw-down crown and back, hands, indexes, as well as luminescent markers for optimal readability in the darkness of deep waters. Also noteworthy is the small but bold detail that was absolutely wanted by Oris is located on the case back: an embossing of the charming Oris Bear. ‘We did something quirky, something unexpected – who else puts a bear on the back of a luxury watch made of solid bronze?’, says Rolf Studer, Oris’ Co-CEO.
The Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 benefits from a new online tool that allows future owners to choose his or her limited edition number on the Oris website—provided it is still available, of course! A great idea that also offers the possibility to have the watch delivered directly to one’s home, or to an authorized Oris reseller if the customer cannot visit the Maison’s Parisian boutique located at 71 rue d’Argout, in the 2nd arrondissement.
Price: €4,600 – Where to find it?