“Things must make sense”- a vision that Oris has been following since 1904. A watchmaking marvel and path makers, industrial watchmaking has always been in their blood, and craftsmanship has always been in their hearts. An independent Swiss watchmaking brand that excels in giving the world a watch designed to endure a lifetime without really burning a hole in your pocket.
Our Founder at The Hour Markers, Karishma Karer, caught up with Rolf Studer, CEO of Oris watches at the Dubai Watch Week 2021 to talk about the brand’s journey and all things watch!
THM: Oris is known for their innovative watches regarding the materials they use and their in-house 400 Calibre. How important is it for a brand to have its own in-house Calibre? Does it impact the positioning of the brand?
Rolf: I think, it’s extremely important for a brand to have its own Calibre. It shows what you can do. In a world where no one really needs a mechanical watch, it’s wonderful to showcase what’s possible with your own in-house Calibre. With Calibre 400, we’ve made the movement the way we want, the way we as watch enthusiasts would look at it.
Being watch lovers, we would like to wear different watches every week, and having a long power reserve is nice to cater to this need to switch watches. Our watches have a power reserve of 5 days with two barrels and with anti-magnetism gaining importance, it was important for us to have that too. Our movement is built around a 10-year warranty and 10-year service intervals, so the worry to look after your watch is taken care of. The gears and torque are intricately placed so as to have low wear and tear in the 10 years.
THM: Continuing on that note, does having your own in-house movement make the watch more expensive? Over the last 2 years, the pricing of the watches has gone up by almost 30%. Do you feel this has caused a disconnect with aspiring ORIS enthusiasts?
Rolf: It’s very important for us not to leave the price points we are known for. We make serious mechanical watches that are reasonable, affordable for someone who has to work for his money. Our watches are still priced fairly with all the features. While we offer these watches, we are constantly developing our standard range because we don’t want to deter from these price points and customers.
THM: Moving on, why is a teddy bear your mascot?
Rolf: Why not? Every brand has an ambassador. I’m not so sure about the concept of having someone advocating for your brand and somewhere that’s not right. An ambassador is there to portray the emotions of your brand and we all have a teddy bear. It’s the best canvas to showcase any kind of emotion. It shows our relaxed approach to the world of watchmaking. We are serious about what we do and this is our way to add the fun element. And that’s it. This is how we chose a teddy bear. In the end, a watch must cheer you up.
THM: Talking about watches that cheer you up, when you first introduced the Cotton Candy Collection. I was not very convinced with how the shades would look on a bronze watch. But with it sitting on my wrist, I definitely have a smile. How did you come with an idea that is so unique?
Rolf: To speak the truth, the Hölstein Edition 2020 with its full bronze case and bracelets inspired this watch. During COVID times, my wife loved the watch and asked for a smaller dial and more vital colours. We were curious to know how the patina process would work with this style and colours. After a lot of testing and quick processes, here we have the watch and it’s quite a cool watch.
THM: Talking about the interesting launches in the Aquis Collection, can you take us through it?
Rolf: The Aquis Date Calibre 400 comes in three colours in better proportions as compared to the earlier 41.5 MM and 43.5 MM dials. It’s the cornerstone of our collection.
Moving on, this year we also brought the Aquis Upcycle in line with our ecological initiatives. We launched it to show that we are climate-neutral and we compensate for the emits and reduce it. We are in the process of isolating the roof and using 30+ heating energy and also installing solar panels to produce our own electricity. People ask about the kilograms of recycled plastic in this watch dial but that’s not how we make a difference. We make a difference by the people who wear it, you wear this watch and make a statement. We offer a piece of luxury by customizing through the trash.
THM: Coming to the watch which is really popular in India, The Big Crown. You have launched a new one at Dubai Watch Week 2021. What are your insights on this launch?
Rolf: It’s our new Big Crown Pointer Date Calibre 403 and I’m extremely proud of the watch. This is our most iconic model and we’ve made it for over 80 years. The design is a true testament to the long history that this watch has. The small second complication is our most iconic complication and we’ve presented it in a modern way. We have brought back the clean bezel and 38 MM size, which offers a very elegant and modern look to the watch. You can easily pair this watch- be it a suit or sporty look.
THM: Talking about the Indian market, a lot of aspiring watch enthusiasts and season collectors already have an Oris watch. What are your plans for the Indian market? Maybe an Oris watch club?
Rolf: That may very well be in the plans. We have several watch clubs around the world. Being a brand known for watch enthusiasts, we’ve helped discover the hidden hobby of watch enthusiasm and watch collecting. Social media and various platforms helped give us the right boost.
Being able to meet our customers after 2 years at Dubai Watch Week is an absolute delight. A watch club is definitely coming soon, said Rolf Studer. Isn’t that something all watch enthusiasts are looking forward to? Well, we surely are.