In 1904, by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian
Oris Big Crown
History of the brand
The Oris watch factory was founded by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian at Hölstein (Basel-Country) in 1904. Though there are Oris-branded quartz watches from the 1980s, the company is well known for producing only mechanical watches today.
Oris’ first factory was run by only 24 workmen. The first branch of Oris was opened in 1906. ORIS employed more than 300 people in Hölstein in 1911, they built houses and flats for the workers and became the largest employer in the area. Shortly after the founder, George Christian, died in 1927 Oscar Herzog became the CEO of Oris, a position he held for the next 43 years. Between 1946 and 1981, Oris owned ten buses which were used to transport up to 800 workers to its many factory locations. The original Oris factory founded in 1904 continuously expanded and by the 1960s Oris became one of the top ten largest watch producers in Switzerland.
Oris began producing the “famous Automatic Movement cal. 645 with 25-jewel lever escapement” in 1966. In 1991 the “complication movement cal. 581” was developed, with moon phase display, week day, date and a second time zone. In 1968 Oris obtained full chronometer certification from the Neuchâtel Observatory for movement cal.652.
In 1996, Oris organized the: Oris London Jazz Festival; this was one of Oris’ first large sponsorship events.
In 1997, Oris produced the Oris Hong Kong Commemorative Watch, to commemorate Hong Kong’s handover to China. Oris produced a limited timepiece to represent the 100 years of watch production In 2004; only 1904 watches were produced to resemble the date that Oris was founded, each watch is individually numbered. In 2009 Oris launched a limited edition watch for Bob Dylan.
In 2003 Oris signed an agreement to become the sole supplier of watches to the BMW Williams Formula One Team.
Oris’ mechanical watches are divided into four subsections: Motor Sport, Aviation, Culture and Diving.
Some of Oris’ higher quality watches are accurate to a hundredth of a second.
Within their Culture family they are famous for producing their jazz watches. These include models such as the recently introduced Dizzy Gillespie limited edition. Other watches within this subsection are named after other jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker, Frank Sinatra, Thelonious Monk, and Bob Dylan. Other models have also been named after the mathematician Leonhard Euler.
Oris released a 51 mm professional diver’s watch in 2009 and a new 47mm Titan ‘C’ small seconds.
Oris announces the Oris Calibre 110 to mark its 110th anniversary in 2014, the first in-house developed movement after 35 years. A hand-wound calibre, it features a 10-day power reserve and a patented non-linear power reserve indication.
Oris is endorsed by several sport celebrities: Nico Rosberg, a Formula 1 professional racer, Carlos Coste, a professional diver who has set records for free diving without an oxygen tank, Allan McNish, Formula 1 racer, and Nicholas Tse, a Hong Kong actor.
Oris also associates itself with Blue Eagles Helicopter Display team, a group of pilots who perform helicopter acrobatics at air shows. The Swiss Hunter Team, an aviation team that performs stunts in planes is also endorsed by Oris.
Oris also hosted a Jazz Festival in which popular musicians performed including: Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Lionel Hampton and McCoy Tyner.