In 1904, Paul Cattin and Georges Christian, watchmakers from Le Locle, acquired a former watch factory in Hölstein located in the north-western part of Switzerland.
Their objective was to create their own timepieces and the brand name they chose was Oris. Oris is a name derived from a brook found in a valley close to Hölstein. The etymological roots of the word “oris” are from the Celtish word Aurisa and Orusz in Latin, both of which mean “watercourse”.
It was in 1941, during the Second World War, that Oris began the production of alarm clocks. In 1949, Oris successfully launched its eight-day power reserve alarm clock. At that time, Oris was producing more than 200,000 watches and clocks per annum.
By 1970, Oris was among the world’s top ten watch companies, producing 1.2 million watches and clocks a year and employing 800 people.
In 1982, the general manager of Oris, Dr Rolf Portmann, and the head of marketing, Ulrich Herzog, undertook a management buyout. While quartz watches were becoming increasingly popular, Herzog decided that the future of Oris was to be built on mechanical timepieces.
Oris not only survived but thrived under the leadership and management of Dr Portmann and Herzog. Dr Portmann is today the honorary chairman of Oris while Herzog is executive chairman.
Oris has always been forward-looking with regards to its future. It was around the time of the brand’s centennial celebrations in 2004 that the brand began working with Swiss technical specialists L’École Téchnique Le Locle.
After around 10 years, the collaborative efforts resulted in the Calibre 110 manual-winding movement with the power reserve of 10 days once fully wound. Interestingly, a single mainspring barrel is used and the mainspring measures 1.8 metres.
The Calibre 110 has been fitted into the Oris 110 Years Limited Edition wristwatch featuring 10 days of power reserve, an Oris patented non-linear power reserve display at three o’clock and a subsidiary continuous sweep seconds at the nine o’clock position.
Two versions of the Oris 110 Years Limited Edition are available: one is in stainless steel, very reasonably priced at CHF5,500 (Swiss francs); the other in 18K rose gold and selling for CHF14,800 (Swiss francs). Both are limited to 110 pieces.
The Oris 110 Years Limited Edition is a fitting 110th commemorative edition piece and the Calibre 110 is significant as this is the first movement developed in-house after some 35 years. [It was around the 1980s that Oris stopped production of its own calibres and focused on modular development instead.]
The main feature of the Calibre 110, which is the 10-day power reserve, is well in line with the brand’s legacy. Recall that the brand once made eight-day power reserve alarm clocks?
Even for its 100th anniversary celebrations (1904 to 2004), Oris made a limited edition eight-day alarm clock. The clock was offered together with the 100th anniversary commemorative Artelier Worldtimer limited edition timepiece.
Ten years later and for the brand’s 110th anniversary celebrations, all the power is focused on the wrist – and in a longer-lasting 10-day power reserve Oris wristwatch with an in-house developed manual-winding movement – the Calibre 110.