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The Oris Watch Company

Oris is a renowned Swiss watch company known for its exceptional craftsmanship and dedication to mechanical watchmaking. Founded in 1904 by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian in the Swiss town of Hölstein, Oris began its journey as a manufacturer of pocket watches. The company's name was derived from a nearby brook, and its growth was rapid, with several factories built in and around Hölstein within a few years of its inception.

In the early years, Oris focused primarily on the production of alarm clocks. It wasn't until the 1930s that the company shifted its attention to wristwatches, which marked a pivotal moment in its history. This transition was fueled by the widespread adoption of wristwatches over pocket watches, driven by the changing times and the practical needs of a modern, mobile society.

Oris is particularly famous for its distinctive watch movements. In the 1940s, the company developed its first in-house movement, the Oris Calibre 601, which signified a significant step in its evolution as a watchmaker. This movement was notable for its pointer calendar function, a feature that became a hallmark of Oris watches. In the subsequent decades, Oris continued to innovate, introducing movements with additional functions such as moon phase displays, alarm functions, and chronographs.

In the 1970s, the Swiss watch industry faced a major crisis with the advent of quartz movements, which were cheaper and more accurate than traditional mechanical movements. Oris, like many other Swiss watchmakers, initially embraced quartz technology. However, in the 1980s, Oris made a strategic decision to return to its roots in mechanical watchmaking. This move was somewhat against the industry trend at the time, but it reestablished Oris's identity as a producer of purely mechanical watches.

One of the most significant developments in recent years is the introduction of the Oris Calibre 110, which marked the company's 110th anniversary. This hand-wound movement featured a 10-day power reserve and a patented non-linear power reserve indicator, a testament to Oris's skill in innovation and mechanical watchmaking.

Today, Oris is known for its use of the Swiss Sellita and ETA movements, alongside its own in-house movements. The company has a reputation for providing high-quality, robust, and reliable movements that appeal to watch enthusiasts who appreciate the art of traditional watchmaking. Oris's dedication to mechanical movements, even in an era dominated by digital and smartwatches, underscores its commitment to its heritage and the timeless value of craftsmanship in watchmaking.

Throughout its history, Oris has remained independent, resisting mergers and acquisitions. This independence has allowed the company to stay true to its values and continue producing high-quality mechanical watches with distinctive designs and features. With a strong emphasis on accessibility, Oris watches offer a combination of quality, uniqueness, and affordability, making them a popular choice among watch enthusiasts around the world . A popular Oris, and one that is in my personal collection, is the Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot.

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