Oris is not only one of the oldest, but one of the greatest watch brands in history. Founded in 1904 by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian, the Swiss luxury brand immediately found success and in just a few years, became one of the most powerful and influential forces in the watch industry.
In their first two decades, the brand offered pocket watches which were the trend at the time. But, by 1925, they gave the model a new look by adding a bracelet clasp to its pocket watch. Today, the brand continues to enjoy popularity and is competing with many other Swiss luxury brands in terms of quality, style, and value.
From its founding to the present day, there’s a lot to discover about Oris watches. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at this prestige watch brand.
Oris: History & the Most Popular Watches
Oris is the namesake of a nearby river in Hölstein where the company was founded. In a mere span of seven years, the brand became the largest employer in the region, with more than 300 workers. But, the brand’s success didn’t stop there.
By 1929, Oris had five more factories and as they continued to grow, so did their Oris Watch offerings. During that time, they debuted their first wristwatch (1925), pioneering the global shift from pocket watches to wristwatches post-WWI. It also served as the trailblazer for one of Oris most iconic models, the Big Crown (1938)—the first watch for pilots.
1938: The Big Crown
As the name suggests, the Big Crown featured a distinct large crown, which was designed to help pilots seamlessly adjust their watch while wearing gloves. Another key feature of the watch is the Pointer Calendar, which instead of a date window, showcased a hand that pointed to the date along the outside periphery of the dial.
1952: Caliber 601
During WWII, Oris was better known for their alarm clocks than wristwatches. But, their slow and steady efforts eventually paid off, which was marked by the introduction of their first automatic movement, the Caliber 601. From then on, the brand continued to rise to the top of the watch industry. By the 1960s, they were producing over 1.2 million watches and clocks every year.
However, the golden years were rather short-lived with the dawn of the Quartz Crisis (the 1970s) that impacted the entire watch industry. Nevertheless, Oris persevered through these dark times and were able to reclaim their top position in the industry following a management buyout in 1982.
In the years that followed, the brand created some of its most well-known watch collections that we know today.
Most Popular Oris Watches
Oris Big Crown
The Big Crown remains one of Oris’s signature designs and the first pilot watch released in 1938 continues to inspire the collection today. It comes in 36 mm or 40 mm case sizes and each vintage-inspired piece features a vintage luxury aesthetic with the trappings of modern design. The stainless steel case features a domed sapphire crystal glass and automatic Swiss movement with the signature Pointer Date. While it’s on the bulkier side, the Big Crown possesses a refined and elegant aesthetic that is best suited for casual wear.
Check out some of the best-selling watches from this line:
• Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Day Date Automatic Blue
• Oris Big Crown ProPilot Date Automatic Grey Dial
• Oris Big Crown Pointer Date Automatic Black Dial
In the 1960s, recreational diving watches became a rising trend on the market and predictably, Oris jumped in by releasing a line of a 100-meter waterproof watch. The collection eventually grew to include diving watches such as Aquis, Divers, and ProDiver. With its classic look and attractive features, the Oris Aquis has quickly become one of the brand’s best-sellers.
Here are some of the Oris Aquis watches to check out:
• Oris Aquis Chronograph Automatic Blue Dial
• Oris Aquis Carysfort Reef Limited Edition Automatic Blue Dial
• Oris Aquis Date Relief Automatic Grey Dial
Oris Artelier is the embodiment of the brand’s commitment to heritage and innovation. It features a suite of in-house developed complications, including the pioneering world timer of 1997 and most recently, the calibers 111 and 12. The latest additions to the Artelier line have the hallmarks of its classic design, but with a slimmer and more refined case than their predecessors.
Below are some of the Oris Artelier watches you shouldn’t miss out on:
• Oris Artelier Date Automatic Silver Dial
• Oris James Morrison Academy of Music Limited Edition
• Oris Artelier Date Watch
Over the years, Oris has also introduced several classic pieces more suitable for a professional environment. Under the collection is the redesigned Oris Classic Date family which features 42mm men’s watches and 28.5mm watches for women. Both feature Swiss-made automatic mechanical movements, sapphire crystals, and exhibition case backs.
You can find a wide range of Oris Classic watches in a variety of color schemes, straps, materials, and configurations. Check out some of them:
• Oris Classic Date Automatic Silver Dial
• Oris Classic Date Automatic Silver Dial Leather
• Oris Classic Date Automatic Black Dial Stainless Steel
An Oris Watch for You
Oris has several other collections to offer such as the TT1, Chronoris, Artix GT, and Oris Williams to cater to all kinds of watch enthusiasts. While the sheer number of options and the diverse assortment of models can be astounding, it can be quite overwhelming, too.
While all of their watches deserve a spot in any collection, your choice should be something that you can wear for almost any occasion. This is particularly the case when you’re purchasing your first luxury watch. You’ll want something that will set the standard for your future collection and whatever your situation may be, you can trust that Oris will not disappoint.
Which Oris watch appeals to you most? Let us know by leaving a comment below.