When it comes to tradition, few Swiss watchmakers can beat Oris. After all, the 100-plus-year-old manufacturer only produces mechanical movements, which makes the firm a dinosaur in a world in which electronic movements are commonplace. Its entry into the wristwatches arena was late and somewhat tentative—in 1925, Oris took its pocket watches and retrofitted them with buckles. As for chronographs, Oris didn’t offer one until 1970, when the Chronoris was introduced.

But several things have set the watchmaker apart from its competitors. First was its early interest in creating a timepiece that would be accessible to more than just the wealthiest customers. To that end, Oris pioneered electroplating techniques so it could manufacture and market gold-plated watches that would be less expensive than solid gold ones.

As with the electroplating, Oris is admired for keeping much of its work in house. In the 1930s, the company built its own watch escapements by hand rather that outsourcing that task as many of its competitors did. It even hardened its own brass, to insure that components made from the metal would last a good long time before wearing out. As a result, watches with its 601 movement—with automatic winding and power-reserve—from 1952 are much sought-after by collectors, as are timepieces featuring the 645 movements from 1966.

Another thing that sets Oris apart is it’s more than passing interest in the arts. We expect watchmakers to strike marketing deals with racecar drivers, aviators, and sportsmen. Oris has done all that, and the company has a fine collection of diving, driving, and aviation watches to prove it. But how many watchmakers feature photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe in their advertising? In the early part of the 21st century, Oris even created a series of wristwatches to honor jazz greats from Louis Armstrong to Charlie Parker to Miles Davis.

Still, those alliances seem conventional compared to the company’s recent collaboration with Bob Dylan. Today, if you go on the Oris website, you can watch a video of Dylan’s 1965 film that accompanied “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” which is probably not the first piece of music that comes to mind when thinking about Swiss watches. The limited edition Dylan watch, a handsome rectangular stainless-steel number with the date in the 6 o’clock position, even includes a greatest-hits CD and a Hohner Marine Band harmonica.

Maybe, as the song says, “you don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows,” but it’s still nice to have a watch on your wrist to tell the time.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

National Watch and Clock Museum

National Watch and Clock Museum

This virtual museum, created by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, lets you stroll through tim… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Oris 7527-44 Worldtimer Automatic Gts Watch!! No Reserve $1.00!!!Oris Date Func St.steel Automatic Silver DialOris Chronoris Black/orange Dial 01 672 7564 4154-set , Full SetOris Pro DiverOris Williams F1 Skeleton Engine 733-7613 WristwatchOris Artelier Men's Small Second Pointer Day Automatic Watch 645-7596-4051ls NewOris Tt1 Professional Gmt 300m/984ft Divers Automatic Watch Ref:668 7608 8454Men's Oris F1 Williams Automatic Chronograph Watch..no Reserve AuctionOris Aquis 43mm Swiss Dive Watch - Blue Face, Blue Ceramic BezelOris Tt1 44mm Auto Divers 200m 7553 Blue Dial Oris Big Crown Automatic Men's Wrist WatchOris Wings Around The World Ii Polly Vacher Watch Nib!!Oris Tt3 Watch Swiss Automatic Titanium CaseOris Tt1 Divers Chronograph Titanium Men's Watch 7542p Excellent ConditionOris Divers Date 01 733 7533 4154-07 8 24 01peb Wrist Watch For MenOris Big Crown Watch Pointer Date Automatic Vintage 1970s Fancy Case Black Dial Date 17 Jls Oris Mens Watch Cal 715 Sign X 3Oris Big Crown Stainless Steel 654 Automatic 25 Jewels Pointer Date Wrist WatchOris Aquis Titan Small Second DateGents Vintage 1950s Oris Pointer Calender Black Dial Watch Oris Gold Plate 17 Jewels Pointer Date WatchOris Bc4 "der Meisterflieger" Men's Aviation Chronograph Watch 649-7632-4164lsDealers Lot Of 2 Vintage Mens Wrist Watches Omega & Oris Spares & RepairsVintage Oris Gents Watch, Calibre 461, Working Order, Quite Good For RestorationOris Williams F1 Rs Wrist Watch For MenOris 30 Jewels Automatic,gmt 38 MmMens Midsize Oris 644 Point Date St.steel Automaticsilver DialA Job Lot Of 2 Vintage Oris Military Type Gents Watches Siro Swiss WaterproofOris Rectangular Complication Automatic Stainless Steel Wristwatch 17 JewelsOris Bc3 Automatic Day Date Men's Luxury Watch 635-7500-4164rsMen's Oris Artelier Date Stainless Steel Mechanical Automatic Watch 7591 $1600New Oris Tt1 Automatic Chronograph Watch Vtg Oris Waterproof Gold Plated Mens Watch Caliber 392 KifVintage Estate Watch - Oris 17 Jewels Swiss MadeVintage Oris Gold Plated Gents 15j Manual Sub Seconds Watch-60's-serviced.Job Lot Vintage Ladies Watches Mechanical Watches Spares Or Repair Oris RoamerOris Star Automatic Men's Wristwatch. 25 Jewels. No Reserve!!!Orvis Swiss Mens Watch Pre OwnedOris Mens Watch Working Balance Project Needs Attn Repair Spares Good ConditionOris Swiss Made Watch Case Box 1950s Oris Swiss Gents Classic Round Sporty Style 7j Wind-up- Ufix- N/r!Excellent Services Aerist (oris) 4j Cp Cased Gents Watch From The 1940'sMens Stainless Steel Automatic Oris, 21 Jewels, Swiss Made