In 1904, two men purchased a recently closed watch factory and created Oris, a new watch company named after a nearby brook in Switzerland. Seven years later, Oris became the largest employer in the town and by 1925, factories had expanded to six towns across Switzerland. The brook was growing into a river.
Years later, after the death in 1927 of one the original co-founders, Jacques-David LeCoultre became President of the Board of Directors. One year later, Oscar Herzog became the General Manager, a position he would hold until 1971. Together, they built Oris as a company where “things must make sense.” Oris entered the world of aviation watches with the Big Crown and Pointer pilot watch that they introduced in 1938, the watch that was given an oversized crown to allow pilots to adjust their watches while wearing gloves. Oris survived the aftermath of the second world war by manufacturing alarm clocks, which led to the development of the eight-day power reserve model in 1949, and later in 1952, to its first automatic watch with a power reserve indicator. Oris entered the world of diving watches with the introduction in 1956, of a watch with a unidirectional rotating bezel and timer scale that was water-resistant to 100 meters. The popular modern Oris diving watch has its roots in this early diving watch.
In 1970, the same year that Oris was absorbed into a larger watch manufacturing group, they produced the Chronoris, the company’s first chronograph. The next dozen years were difficult for Oris due to the so-called quartz crisis when mechanical watches fell out of favor. The rebirth and revitalization of Oris occurred in 1982, when Oris took the bold step of becoming an independent watchmaker that focused on mechanical watches. Today, Oris is one of the few independent Swiss watch manufacturers, which allows them to innovate and build high-quality mechanical watches that have the greatest value for the widest audience. As an independent watchmaker, Oris builds their collection around their values. Their Culture collection grew out of their love of music and Jazz. The Motor Sport collection grew out of their collaboration and love of Formula 1 racing, while the collections of Aviation and Diving watches reflect their long history of watchmaking. Their commitment to expanding culture and conservation is reflected in the limited-edition watches that support the Oceans and Great Barrier Reef. With the ever-expanding development of in-house movements, as well as its commitment to provide the greatest value to the greatest number of people, Oris is a brand that is both growing in respect and popularity.
Oris is one of a small handful of Swiss watch brands that makes only mechanical watches. A mechanical watch is a thing of beauty, designed according to principles that have been around for generations and will continue long into the future. Oris is constantly striving to make better watches that offer beautiful, innovative functions and advanced performance levels. For example, the in-house developed Caliber 400 Series of Swiss Made automatics promises a five-day power reserve, anti-magnetism and a 10-year warranty and 10-year recommended service intervals.