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Oris is named for a river near the village where they’ve made their home since the 19th century in Hölstein, Switzerland. The word comes from both Celtic (“Aurisa”) and Roman (“Orusz”) origins, and it really fits the watchmaker to be named after a waterway.
First, there’s the Swiss watchmaking industry’s long-standing relationship with nature. For the most part, watch companies in Switzerland have been using hydropower since the late 1800s.
Oris, though, has a closer bond with the natural world than most.
While all the major players in the watch world seem to have a thing that defines their brand (TAG Heuer does racing, Breitling is aviation, Omega are the outer space folks, etc.), Oris has always just stood by their commitment to being as environmentally friendly as they can. Not only do they use the flow of natural water to power their headquarters, but they’ve recently made a name for themselves by donating to environmental groups with noble causes.
In 2010, Oris launched their Change for the Better campaign, a focused effort on bringing attention, and donations, to various conservationist efforts. Their first watch that launched in the campaign was the Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition, an Aquis dive watch, and it was made to benefit the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
From there, Oris has worked with the Coral Restoration Foundation and others to help preserve and restore the natural beauty of the Earth and its oceans for future generations. The best part is that we have gotten, and continue to get, amazing limited edition Oris timepieces to mark these efforts.
You may have noticed that Oris seems to place a great deal of emphasis on water. They’re named after a river, and they’ve done a lot to help marine restoration projects. This is also an extension of the watchmaker’s identity.
You see, Oris is like a flowing body of water itself. Throughout the many years since their inception, they’ve maintained a philosophy of fluidity that allowed them to navigate the twists and turns of history to survive and adapt to the times. While other Swiss watch companies hardened their resolve to stay with tradition and ended up sinking to the floor and fossilizing, Oris ebbed and flowed when they needed to and are now one of the most successful watchmakers on the planet.
Another characteristic of water is that it refreshes, renews, and brings life. We don’t want to be too dramatic, but Oris has been doing just that for the luxury watch industry, especially recently.
Of all the big luxury Swiss watch names out there, Rolex, Omega, TAG Heuer, etc., Oris is probably the only one we’ve never heard badmouthed by collectors of any experience level.
They’re luxury, but they’re accessible with a low entry price that rarely ever caps out anywhere near where the likes of Rolex start. At the same time, they’re incredibly well made, easily rivaling the likes of their more expensive peers in terms of build quality and beauty. Furthermore, their designs are some of the most exciting on the market. Oris is never afraid to be bold and colorful. Their dials are works of art, and their aesthetics are flawless and fully realized from end to end of each piece.
Let’s take a stroll through the most recognizable flagship series of this easy to love watchmaker, and learn what makes Oris the river that powers our love for watches.
Oris designed the Big Crown series with pilots in mind. The titular “Big Crown” is made to provide easy access for pilots to make adjustments on the fly, pun intended. On top of that, superbly tough construction and large fonts for easy readability have been making these watches a pilot’s best friend for decades now.
The ProPilots in particular are built to maintain the vintage look of the original Big Crowns, but with an added modern flavor to bring the series into the more feature-rich and slightly edgier aesthetic of today.
While ProPilots maintain the classic big crowns and legible fonts, they also add features on top of those things depending on the model you get. There are chronographs, GMTs, alarms, altimeters, and week-daters in addition to the standard time and date models.
For example, here’s a Big Crown ProPilot Chronograph that you can buy today for 56% off the retail price.
The Aquis series is an extension of Oris’s affinity with water. As dive watches, they’re functional. As luxury watches, they’re beautiful. As watches in general, they’re exciting.
Aquis pieces come in a huge variety of styles, from bold to more traditional looking, from simple to operate to complex chronograph configurations.
One characteristic that sets them apart from the other Oris lines are the large, in-your-face rotating bezels that remain a steadfast functional design across the entire series.
The Aquis Limited Edition Whale Shark is one of our favorites, and a prime example of a collaborative special edition that looks stunning to boot. You can get it right here for 20% off.
Oris launched the Divers 65 line back in 2015 and it sent the entire watch collecting world into a frenzy. While Oris was already known at the time as being the absolute kings and queens of price-to-quality ratio, the Divers 65 watches were still so incredibly well made and relatively cheaply priced that people couldn’t believe it.
Not only that, but their vintage dive watch look was so spot on in their endeavor to provide the perfect mix of modern and vintage aesthetics that some would say they actually started the vintage craze that followed.
While the initial launch featured minimalized design that was true to the original, there have since been Divers 65 chronographs, a 36mm version, several limited editions, new dial colors, and bronze and steel two-tone versions, all featuring a variety of straps and bracelets.
This Momotaro Jeans Special Edition, which you can buy today for 32% off, is the perfect example of the series’ versatility. The murky green dial and bronze tone hour markers are mesmerizing.
All said, it would be hard to overstate how much we love our Oris watches. You can tell we mean it because we always maintain a large collection of their pieces, all of which are available at a discount and ready to ship.
If you’re just making your way into the world of luxury watches, Oris is an amazing place to start because of their affordable prices.
If you’re a grizzled luxury watch collector, Oris is an amazing next purchase because come on, look at those watches! They’re beautiful, classy, luxurious, and as well-made as anything in your collection.
If you don’t even know what luxury watch collecting is and you’re just looking for something to wear on your wrist, welcome to your new obsession.
Just remember that no matter which Oris you prefer, always go with the flow.