Everything You Need to Know to Buy an Oris Watch
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Watch lovers love to love Oris watches. (You follow?) And how can one not love them — the company offers incredible fit and finish in all-Swiss watches at prices that are impossible to beat. That’s been the Oris story all along, and the proof is in the pudding, as these are incredibly well made and good looking timepieces that hold their own alongside Omega, Rolex, and IWC at a fraction of the price. While those brands start around the $5,000 mark, Oris rarely crests above that mark. Most of their watches cost between $1,000 and $2,000, making Oris one of the most approachable Swiss brands operating today.
The name Oris derives from the river that runs behind the factory. (Because Swiss watch companies have relied on hydropower since the late 1800s, it follows that where there’s a long-established watch factory, there’s probably a river.) As such, the name Oris encapsulates an essentially Swiss industrial ideal — one that’s tied to nature in a way that resonates with Oris’ outdoorsy inclinations, as well with the company’s support of environmental conservation through support of various conservationist organizations.
Oris has always been a brand that serious watch folks know about, but in the past five years or so the company has elevated its prominence by releasing smash-hit vintage-inspired models, especially their acclaimed Divers 65 watches. Oris operates independently, and the absence of an overseeing holding company allows them to react nimbly to their customers’ desires. Oris has accessible and friendly people at the helm, and these people are in the field meeting customers, whether at trade shows small or large or at local watch nerd meet-ups. That intimacy is how Oris knows so readily what its customers want in a watch.
The Oris catalog is divided into four clear categories: dive watches, aviation watches, motor sport watches, and more traditional, non-sports oriented watches that the company categorizes under the heading “Culture.” It’s a rather deep and broad catalog, but one that’s also clearly delineated. The snappy guide below will have you finding the Oris that’s right for you in no time.
As in all of their other subcategories, Oris divides their dive watches into vintage-inspired and modern-styled models. The vintage-inspired models are often close interpretations of back-catalog classics, while the modern-styled watches tend to be larger and more mechanically complicated.
In 2015, Oris released the first back catalog-inspired Divers 65 watches to vast acclaim. These were early days in the current vintage craze, and these funky-yet-sleek watches offered a price-to-quality ratio that remains largely unmatched (which is typical for Oris). Since then, the Diver 65 has expanded to include chronograph models, a 36mm version, many new dial colors, a smattering of limited editions, and bronze-and-steel two-tone models. You can get them on leather, rubber, nylon, canvas, or metal bracelets.
Diameter: 36mm; 40mm; 42mm
Configurations: time + date; chronograph
Price Range: $1,950-$4,950
These are high-performance timepieces with exceptional fit and finish. Offered in all steel, titanium, and even solid gold and in several sizes, the Aquis range is extensive. There are simple date-and-time models, day-date complications, a three-register chronograph, a regulator (hours and minutes on separate dials) and even a model with a mechanical depth gauge for the ultimate analog scuba experience. Limited editions come and go, many which benefit ocean health through affiliated charitable organizations.
Diameter: 36,5mm; 39.5mm; 48mm
Configurations: Time + date; week + date; chronograph; time + date + depth gauge; chronograph + depth gauge; regulator; pointer date
Price Range: $2,200-$5,200 ($19,000 for the solid gold version)
Huge, legible, tough-as-nails, light in titanium, and featuring a 60-minute chronograph timer, the Prodivers from Oris are serious professional tool watches. The Chronograph adds a secondary timing function over that of the bezel, which is great for timing decompression stops, and the GMT has obvious advantages for divers travelling across timezones.
Configurations: chronograph; GMT
Price Range: $3,600-$4,950
Oris Aviation Watches
Again, Oris divides their aviation watches into vintage-inspired and modern-styled models. Their vintage-inspired aviation watches are pointer-dates, a signature configuration for Oris, while the modern-styled aviation watches vary stylistically and functionally to form an impressively diverse range.
The Oris Big Crown has been a popular range for many decades, offering old-school aviation vibes and up-to-the-minute mechanical technology and specs. The distinctive pointer-date models give you tasty vintage style and a full view of the month around the dial, which many find to be a useful way to get a sense of a larger chunk of time. They come in many sizes and styles, and like all Oris watches, they offer incredible fit and finish at reasonable prices. There’s also a few limited editions, we well as a weekday pointer.
Diameter: 36mm; 40mm; 45mm
Configurations: time + pointer date; time + date + weekday pointer
Price Range: $1,750-$2,600
Big Crown Pro Pilot
The Pro Pilot series takes the classic look of the Big Crown and updates it with larger case sizes, more complex mechanical configurations, and even some edgy blacked-out models. There are chronographs, GMTs, alarms, altimeters and week-daters on top of the standard time + date models. The Pro Pilots carry the same massive legibility, robust build quality, and masculine attitude and IWC’s pilot’s watch range at a fraction of the price.
Diameter: 41mm; 44mm; 47mm
Configurations: time + date; weekdater; GMT; altimeter; chronograph
Price Range: $1,700-$4,100
Big Crown Propilot X Caliber 15
This watch gets its own category, because it truly stands out in the Oris catalog. The skeletonised in-house movement has a 10-day power reserve and a patented non-linear power indicator. Built entirely from titanium, the watch is light, high-tech, and styled for the future.
Configurations: time + power reserve indicator
Price Range: $7,200 (rubber); $7,600 (bracelet)
BC3 Pilot’s Watch
The BC3 is a loner in the Oris catalog, with a brutalist case design and ultra-bold legibility. These watches house an over-under weekdater design complication at 6-o’clock, and come in a number of striking colorways.
Diameter: 40mm; 43mm
Price Range: $1,250-$1,575
Oris Motor Sport Watches
As you might expect, chronographs form the core of the Motor Sport series, though the line includes vintage-inspired models, more modern models, and some specialized and more complicated models. Oris has also partnered with the famous Williams F1 team since 2003, offering an entire line of contemporary Williams watches.
Originally released in the 1970s, this recently revived line of watches is naturally reminiscent of that decade. They’re funky, fun, sporty, and look ready to hop in just about any vintage car for a spin, from a Porsche 911 to a Chevelle SS. The Chronoris Date has a fun inner rotation timing bezel, while the chronographs offer a more traditional sub-dial configuration with tachymeter scale. Sizes range from, a truly vintage 35mm up to 40mm for the chronograph.
Diameter: 35mm; 39mm; 40mm
Configurations: date + inner rotating bezel; chronograph
Price Range: $1,750-$3,950
Modern, mostly black, technical and sleek, the Williams models bring the spirit of Formula 1 racing to the wrist. There are steel models, but it’s the carbon fiber models that bridge the gap between the materials side of watches and racing. From the skeletonized pointer date to the chronographs, the Williams watches are never shy of showing their pedigree. If you’ve got a favorite driver from the Williams team, you may even find a model bearing their namesake.
Diameter: 42mm; 44mm,
Configurations: weekdater; chronograph; pointer date,
Price Range: $1,450-$4,700
If you’ve gawked at a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, then you’ve a sense of what it’s like to look down at an Artix GT watch on your wrist. Boasting steel cases and bidirectional rotating bezels, the Artix GT lineup offers superior sport watch function and durability with the spirit of haute horlogerie. Especially interesting is the horizontal seconds counter on the chronograph, offering a totally unique read out that’s both discrete and highly legible.
Diameter: 44mm; 46.5
Configurations: time + date; chronograph; pointer date
Price Range: $1,750-$3,650
Looking far more like the engine than the body work of a Formula 1 car, these watches offer a unique style that’s all about the inner workings of automotive racing. The skeletonized pointer date is especially compelling with its view of the movement, unique date window/disc configuration, and stainless steel sport watch pedigree.
Configurations: time + date; skeletonized pointer-date
Price Range: $1,400-$1,900
Oris Culture Watches
“Culture” is how Oris designates their non-sports watches, those timepieces that lean either toward more traditional styles of years gone by or toward the edginess of tomorrow’s tastes.
Though varied, the value-laden Atelier lineup is singular in that every watch offers classic elegance without ever straying into haughtiness. The latest offerings include minimalist midcentury-styled models dedicated to jazz musicians James Morison and Art Blakey, while the rest of the collection includes complex asymmetrical chronographs, moon-phase complications, a three-register annual calendar, a pointer weekdater and an in-house, 10-day power reserve model.
Diameter: 33mm; 36mm; 40mm; 43mm
Configurations: time-only; time + date; annual calendar; chronograph; moonphase; power reserve; pointer weekdater
Price Range: $1,850-$5,800
Replete with Roman numerals, scalloped dials, classic colorways, and elegantly traditional cases, the Classic watches are Oris’s most stately watches. Sizes and colors range widely, but the configuration is the same on all: time + date. If you want a quality Swiss dress watch without spending a ton to get it, the Classic has you covered.
Diameter: 28mm; 34.5mm; 40mm; 42mm; 43.5mm
Configurations: time + date
Price Range: $1,300-$1,550
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