Learning from the past to succeed in the future – if one were to look at this in the context of Oris, then the brand is set to thrive in 2024 as well. In 2023, Oris unveiled its ProPilot X Kermit, a runaway success from the minute it was launched at Watches and Wonders 2023. Then there was the Big Crown Calibre 473 with a new movement with a 5-day power reserve, and the bold tool watch, the ProPilot Altimeter. The brand continued build its lineup of eco-friendly timepieces with the Aquis Oris X Bracenet watches with an upcycled ‘ghost’ fishing net dial; Oris rounded off the year with the striking ProPilot X Calibre 400 Laser. All in all 2023 has been a good year, says Rolf Studer, CEO of Oris, and for 2024, the brand is once again committed to delivering on its pillars of affordability and sustainability, something it has already flagged off with the limited edition Big Crown Pointer Date Father Time (read more about the watch here). We recently caught up with Studer to understand what watch enthusiasts can expect from Oris this year.
WatchTime India: 2023 has been a strong one for Oris. What would you count as Oris’ milestones this year?
Rolf Studer: It has been a good year. Kermit was the highlight - we didn’t have enough [pieces] to fulfil the demand. It’s nice to see how such a theme really resonates with people. As a brand we are all about making people smile, cheering them up, and Kermit was exactly that. Then there was the Aquis Pro 4000M – it’s a beautiful, nice, bulky watch, though not for everyone even though the demand has been fantastic. And then there was the ProPilot X Laser sat Dubai Watch Week, which I think is definitely one of our highlights from last year. We also started the year with a new movement – the hand-winding, Calibre 473 with a baby blue dial, one of my personal favourites.
Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400 Laser
WTI: Oris is a brand that has a legacy of watchmaking but also doesn’t take itself too seriously, and has a sense of playfulness. How difficult is to maintain a balance?
RS: I don’t think it is difficult When you have found your path, you just follow it. There are so many ideas, so many interesting things out there – the difficulty really is to pick a topic to take up and talk about. Once you have done that, you just make it as good as possible. That’s what happened with the Kermit. We grew with our partners, The Muppets and Disney. It was a new endeavour, and during the process we gained a deeper understanding. And I think that is the reason the project turned out so good. Oris ProPilot x Kermit edition
WTI: Environment and sustainability ate key to Oris. How did this idea develop?
RS: It really is close to the brand. We are an independent brand outside of the main watchmaking hubs, and we always have to look out for our means. And looking after your means is the definition of sustainability. I feel that’s where it is rooted in our DNA. For many years we have done watches with themes of the environment. However, the main point is that we as a brand have that within us. There are brands in the luxury industry who want to party like there is no tomorrow and if you then want to do good for the environment, it’s a hard fit. These times, where everyone wants to save a turtle or a fish somewhere, its important that there is a brand behind that can actually support that and it is not just another nice story that’s en vogue.
WTI: When it comes to sustainability, what does the watch industry need to pay attention to?
RS: Our product per se is very sustainable, which is something that always drew me to the watch industry - we make products that are here to stay. I always liked things that are made for eternity, and a watch is something like that. This IKEA culture that we live in- we need to do away with that. Watches make a strong statement there. However where we can do better is in the lifestyle that we lead as watch consumers. If you can buy a mechanical Swiss watch, then you are in a situation where you can make choices. That’s what we want to do with our watches - we want to inspire people to make choices that can actual make a difference.
Oris New York Harbour
WTI: What learnings are you bringing into 2024?
RS: For many consumers, especially at our price point, things have toughed up – inflation, high energy prices, the economy not being so strong. So we are certainly going to bring watches that will speak to this audience. We will bring pieces that are commercial, that will cheer our customers.
WTI: Oris offers value for money, while being an independent brand – how hard is that to maintain?
RS: Of course it is not easy, but this is what our customers expect from us. And that is what we want to give our customers. Not every watch needs to be 10,000 Swiss francs or dollars. We want to make a watch for the watch enthusiast that they can actually afford it. That is our DNA, that is what we do.