Oris’ BaselWorld 2015 Highlights

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Oris has been on of our favorite brands here at worn&wound in recent years, producing great entry-level luxury pieces like the Big Crown ProPilot Date (reviewed recently by our own Zach Weiss here), and the absolutely gorgeous John Coltrane Limited Edition, for my money one of the best dress watches on the market today. For 2015, however, Oris has stepped up their already very impressive game with a bevy of new watch lines produced with a variety of partners ranging from a refreshed and improved collaboration with Williams F1 to a modern-tactical GMT designed for the United States Marine Corps’ elite Force Recon units. It’s an outstanding lineup to be sure, but to us three new pieces stand above the rest- the Audi Sport Limited Edition II, the Divers Sixty-Five, and perhaps most exciting of all, the Calibre 111.

Audi Sport Limited Edition II

First off is the Audi Sport Limited Edition II, and as W&W’s resident car guy, this one has me very interested. Oris’ second year of collaboration with Audi Sport in the World Endurance Championship has yielded this aggressive black tribute to one of the most dominant programs in the history of motorsport, with the Audi juggernaut winning the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans 12 times since 2000. Oris has gone to great lengths to ensure this piece is as lightweight as possible, and its use of high-tech materials certainly reflects that with a DLC-coated multi piece titanium case with ceramic bezel.

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The case design itself is attractively modern, with attached lugs, a thin decimal bezel and a large-but-not-ridiculous 44mm size. The Audi Sport touches come in first on the caseback, engraved with the Audi Sport logo and the 2014 Le Mans-winning R18 e-tron quattro prototype racer. It could easily be gaudy and overdone, but the simple stylized rendering works well here. Moving our attention to the dial, however, the Audi Sport Limited Edition II has a few innovative and very exciting touches. A wide black sunburst dial with applied numerals and a day-date at 9 looks sporty and well-proportioned on its own, but it’s at 9 and 12 where things get interesting.

At 12 there is a single 30-minute chronograph register with a red-tipped hand, set deep in its own dial level, has a unique 10-minute countdown function, ostensibly for timing race starts. As a race fan, I’m a bit perplexed by this as start times are usually pretty well known, but in day-to-day life it should be a useful feature for timing all sorts of functions. At 9, however, is the Audi Sport Limited Edition II’s party piece- a retrograde linear small seconds display, designed to look like the digital tachometer readout on the R18 e-ton quattro. In my opinion, this is exactly how to do an homage statement on a watch: subtle, technically innovative, visually recognizable, and just as important, seriously cool. Inside the Audi Sport Limited Edition II beats the Oris Cal. 778, Oris’ modified version of the Sellita SW500. The watch is limited to only 2000 pieces, and the expected retail price will be right at $4000 when it releases this June.

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Diver’s Sixty-Five

Oris is chronically underrated when it comes to dive watches, with the brand consistently producing impressive pieces like the Aquis Regulateur De Meistertaucher reviewed here, and for 2015 they’ve joined the vintage diver renaissance with the Diver’s Sixty-Five. Many of these new vintage-style divers, like the Longines Legend Diver, are in many ways modern divers with a vintage flair, but Oris does things differently. The Diver’s Sixty-Five is unapologetically old-school, and I can’t help but love it for that. It’s almost exactly the same piece that Oris introduced fifty years ago, with a few upgrades to construction.

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The case design is pure 60s, with a bold black unidirectional aluminum bezel, original 1965 caseback etching, and simple lugs. It has been brought up to a slightly larger 40mm diameter, built of stainless steel instead of chrome-plated brass, and the bubble crystal is now made of sapphire. The dial is bold, graphic, and instantly legible without looking overdone, and unusually for a diver is curved much like the “pie-pan” Omega Constellation. The dial itself uses stylized numerals in curved blocks of lume at 12, 3, 6 and 9 and simple painted indices around the rest of the dial with SuperLuminova “old radium” throughout.

The understated handset helps keep the dial clean and balanced, and are also SuperLuminova filled. A black date wheel mounted along the hour track at 6 is functional, but hardly distracts from the overall design. The old-school mentality extends to the strap choices here: the Diver’s Sixty-Five does not have an option for a bracelet, but offers the choice of a NATO-style strap or a tropic rubber strap, almost a carbon copy of the tropic straps that would have come on this watch in the 60s, and a very nice addition to the lineup.

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One other thing the Diver’s Sixty-Five has not updated, however, is the depth rating. Water resistance on this piece is rated at a 1960s-style 100 meters, which could be a dealbreaker for many on a diver. Looking at it pragmatically though, 95 percent of dive watches never see anything deeper than the bottom of a swimming pool, and for applications like that 100 meters of resistance should be plenty, and an Oris Cal. 733, a modified Sellita SW200, powers the package. At an expected $1800 retail price, it should be a strong contender against the Longines Legend Diver or Tudor Black Bay.

Oris 111

Lastly, and perhaps most exciting for us, Oris showed us its next in-house movement- the Calibre 111. Last year, they revealed their first in-house calibre in 35 years, the Calibre 110, but production was limited to 220 watches. The Calibre 111, on the other hand, is intended for much wider production, and its first application is a handsome new dress watch line intended to show off the new movement’s features. The case, available in both steel and rose gold, is large for a dress piece at 43mm, but the design itself is simple with rounded edges, attached lugs, and a large signed Oris crown.

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The dial comes in four different finishes, two for each case material- silver and black-gold sunburst on the steel, and opaline silver-gold and a gorgeous deep brown sunburst with the rose gold. The dials themselves are attractive with applied numerals at 12 and 6, and stick indices at 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11. The outer seconds track has further applied dots at all hour positions. The 9 and 3 positions on the inner track, however, are dominated by a combination date window and semi-sunken sub seconds dial; and the Calibre 111’s patented non-linear 10 day power reserve dial respectively.

The display casebook shows off the new movement, which in typical Oris fashion has an atypical coarse grain decoration, beating away at 21,600 bph. As a sign of things to come from Oris, it’s a strong offering, and it will be exciting to see this movement make its way into other styles- I think a pilot could be particularly interesting. Projected pricing is $5400 for the steel version, and around $14,800 for the rose gold. This certainly moves Oris into a very competitive market segment, but with offerings like this they should be well equipped to succeed.

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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection. He is also the Feature Editor and Videographer for Speed Revolutions.
seanpaullorentzen
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