On 1 June 1904, Paul Cattin and Georges Christian signed a contract in the Swiss village of Hölstein that began a story that would span many generations. The contract gave the two watchmakers permission to set up and run their own watch company. They named it after a local creek: Oris.

Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 In Solid Bronze
Oris Hölstein Edition 2020

More than a century later, Oris and Hölstein have become synonymous with one another. The village and the surrounding Waldenburg Valley have shaped Oris’s philosophy, just as Oris has shaped the area and its identity.

On June 15 this year, Oris begins a new chapter in the story, releasing the first in a series of limited-edition watches named in honour of this magical place.

The Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 celebrates the company’s roots and its proud association with the Swiss village of Hölstein.

The New Oris Hölstein Edition 2020
Oris Hölstein Edition 2020

To fully understand the story of Oris, you have to go back to that day in 1904. Cattin and Christian had come from the French-speaking Le Locle in the Jura mountains, the beating heart of the traditional Swiss watch industry. Hölstein represented a completely different proposition. It was in Switzerland’s German-speaking north, 25 km from Basel, an industrial town that was experiencing economic hardship. They saw an opportunity.

Their vision was to build a watch company that brought together the best of both worlds. Could a mechanical watch be made using industrial techniques that stayed true to the romantic values of traditional horology?

Could man and machine combine to deliver beautiful watches at prices that hard-working citizens could afford?

The answers to these questions might seem obvious now, but at the beginning of the 20th century and with society’s shape rapidly changing, such a concept was visionary.

It also worked.

Oris Hölstein Vintage Timepieces

By 1910, Oris was the biggest employer in the region, and in the coming decades it would continue to grow at pace. By the 1960s, it was one of the 10 biggest watch companies in the world, employing almost 1,000 people and producing more than one million watches a year that were exported to all corners of the globe.

In the 1970s, the double impact of the global financial crisis and the evolution of quartz watches killed off vast swathes of the Swiss watch industry. Oris survived and by the early 1980s had secured its independence and its future. At its heart was the vision of its founders – to produce beautiful watches that celebrated mechanical watchmaking, industrial manufacturing and hand-craftsmanship. Watches that made sense in the real world.

Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 Chronograph Bronze
Oris Hölstein Edition 2020

In 2020, that vision makes more sense than ever before. No one needs a wristwatch, some argue. But even given the myriad alternative ways of telling the time, that’s only true to a point. A mechanical watch is also a thing of beauty, which as the great poet John Keats wrote, ‘is a joy forever’.

In these challenging times created by the Coronavirus crisis, we need that joy. A celebration of mechanical watchmaking isn’t a first priority, but it is a welcome distraction, a high point when the world is laid low.

Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 Bronze Bracelet
Oris Hölstein Edition 2020

The Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 is cast in solid bronze, including the bracelet (a first in Swiss watchmaking), an industrial material with intriguing characteristics that we hope will charm everyone who comes into contact with it. On top of that, the case back is embossed with the Oris Bear, for one simple reason – to make people smile!

Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 Gold
Oris Hölstein Edition 2020

The Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 is a celebration of Oris’s roots and the values we carry through into today and tomorrow,” says Rolf Studer, Oris Co-CEO. “But we also wanted to give Oris fans and all watch enthusiasts something to cheer, something to make them smile.”

Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 Watch Review
Oris Hölstein Edition 2020

The Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 is named after the Swiss village where Oris has been based since 1904

To celebrate the inseparable relationship between Oris and this beautiful Swiss village, they have created the Oris Hölstein Edition 2020, a bronze version of the Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph (please read more about here).

It’s inspired by the funky, quirky designs of the 1960s, when Oris made its first diver’s watch and started a tradition that continues today. Its case, bezel, bezel insert, crown and pushers are all cast in solid bronze.

So too is the bracelet, which is made of solid bronze links, each of which will acquire a natural patina as the bronze oxidises. As with the bronze dial on the Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date (please read more about here), this is a first not just for Oris, but also for Swiss watchmaking.

Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 Full Box For sale
Oris Hölstein Edition 2020

Achieving it wasn’t easy. Bronze is a soft, natural material, and proved insufficiently strong to be used for the pins that hold the links together, or for the folding clasp. These, together with the watch’s case back, are made of high-grade stainless steel.

The case back is embossed with the Oris Bear. In recent years, the bear has become a symbol of the Oris spirit – warm and honest. And it just makes you smile.

The Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 is the first in a series of watches that will pay tribute to this magical village we call home.

Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 Watch Review
Oris Hölstein Edition 2020

Oris Hölstein Edition 2020

Technical specificatons:

·       Reference: 771 7744 3182-Set

·      This limited-edition version of the iconic Oris Divers Sixty-Five is cast in solid bronze and is the first Swiss Made watch with a solid bronze bracelet

·       Case: Multi-piece bronze case, uni-directional rotating bronze bezel with bronze insert

·       Size: 43.00 mm, (1.693 inches)

·       Dial: Gold-plated with black chronograph counters, rose gold-plated indices Luminous material Hands and indices with Super-LumiNova

·       Top glass: Domed sapphire with anti- reflective coating inside

·       Case back: Stainless steel, screwed, special engravings of the Oris Bear

·       Operating devices: Bronze screw-in security crown and pushers

·       Bracelet: Multi-piece bronze bracelet with folding clasp

·       Water resistance: 10 bars (100 m)

·       Movement Number: Oris 771

·       Functions: Centre hands for hours, minutes and chronograph 1⁄4 seconds, two subsidiary dials with continuous seconds at 9 o’clock and a chronograph 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, fine timing device and stop-second

·       Winding: Automatic

·       Power reserve: 48 hours

·       Limited edition: 250 pieces, available through Oris boutiques, the Oris e-Shop, and retailers with access to the Oris e-shop. Online tool to choose your limited-edition number.

The price for the Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 is CHF 4,800 and is available from June 2020.

For more information please visit Oris Online.