Oris only produces mechanical watches, and has been doing it for over a century, with its individual character linking them with movie stars, musicians and Formula One racing. Oris is based in the Swiss town of Holstein, and was founded by two watchmakers, Paul Cattin and Georges Christian, in 1904. From the 1920s onwards they produced wrist watches, thanks to an advance in electroplating technology, which became very popular in Great Britain. They continued to produce only mechanical watches to this day, eschewing electronics for mechanical refinements of an intriguing and ingenious nature.
Each of the company's watches has at its center a unique red rotor, which can be seen. It is this piece of 'high-mech', as Oris terms it, which allowed them to move their mechanical technology from hand winding to automatic winding. A testament to the kind of accuracy which this kind of operating system can produce was the certificate Oris was awarded in 1968, from no less a body than the Obervatoire Astronomique at Neuchatel; this certified that the Oris cal. 652 mechanism was accurate to the highest degree.
The 1980s saw a resurgence in popularity for Oris watches, as Japanese customers in particular began to see the value in owning a precision mechanical timepiece rather than one with an LED screen. This kind of reputation for individual thinking has also seen Oris commemorate great musicians such as Louis Armstrong in its 'Jazz' range of watches.
The 21st Century has seen Oris link up with a Formula One racing team as well as free divers, and continues to apply for new patents, leading the world in timekeeping. An Oris watch marks someone out as a thinker, with an understanding of how handmade tradition continues to reinvent itself.
Oris divides their range of timepieces into four broad categories: culture, diving, aviation and motorsport. Within these ranges, a number of limited edition items have been produced from time to time, the latest being the 'Bob Dylan' Culture watch. The Oris Classic collection within the Culture range is a superb example of timeless style.
These pieces consist of the classic watch design which observes passing trends come and go and barely notices. The Classic Date comes in a variety of models with straps in both leather and stainless steel. The case is manufactured from stainless steel, and, as with all Oris models, the red rotor and the rest of the 'High-Mech' workings of the watch can be seen within when it is turned over.
For those seeking something a little sportier, the Driving collection has a number of great items. The Williams F1 range has some striking pieces in black and chrome, with a sturdy sleekness which would not be out of place on a Formula One car itself. The Chronoris is a reissue of a 1970 classic, with a black and orange leather strap and a Quick Lock system securing its crown; High-Mech style at its classic best.