Oris is a brand that, for whatever reason, we seem to have not talked about enough here on worn&wound. Their line, which range from picture perfect pilot’s models to serious divers to elegant dress watches, not only have unique and memorable designs, they maintain a relatively achievable price-point. That is to say, they aren’t watches you buy on whim, ranging in the $800 to $3,000 range, but they are not in the realm of watches you only dream about. Considering their slogan, “Real Watches for Real People”, they seem to have a brand philosophy we find agreeable. Anyway, they recently announced the release of two new and very interesting additions to their vast line of mechanical watches.
First, there is the über sporty Artix GT Chronograph. Often, I find racing and car inspired watches take a wrong turn into ostentation by bringing too many elements of vehicles into their design. Well, that is far from the case with the Artix GT. This 44mm Valjoux 7750 powered chrono has the stripped down styling of a concept car with too much power under the hood. It’s sharp, austere and downright mean looking. The GT features an all black dial, black ceramic bezel with a rubberized edge, nickel-plated hands and a brushed stainless body, making for an aggressive and contemporary design. Offsetting the monochromatic slickness are two restrained instances of red: a triangle marking 60/0 on the bezel and the readout of the linear retrograde seconds dial.
Yes, linear retrograde seconds dial. This subtle feature takes this stealthy chronograph from cool to downright lust worthy as it has taken a fairly common movement and added something unique that you wont find elsewhere. Furthermore, it is in details like this where you see the philosophy and value of the brand shine through. So, basically, at 9, instead of the standards small seconds dial, there is a small line that fills in red as the minute passes. When it hits 60, it snaps back to zero and starts over, hence retrograde. Despite being a unique detail, this creates a more symmetrical dial, with the majority of visual weight running down the center. This adds to the overall streamlined design and reduces distraction from the chronograph function.
Secondly is the addition of a new regulator model to their Atelier line. The 40.5mm polished stainless watch has a pleasant contrast between sporty elegance and vintage dress. Featuring a strong case design, clear indexes, applied triangular steel markers (giving it that 60’s appeal) and lumed hands, which offset the delicately guilloched silver dial. The looks of this watch, despite the regulator complication and guilloche dial, manage to lack pretention and have an everyday quality. That is to say, the design of this watch is very versatile and would compliment a suit or a pair of well-worn jeans.
The watch is powered by an Oris Cal. 749 automatic regulator movement, which has a Selitta 220 as a base. I happen to be a devote fan of regulators as I find the added sub-dials visually appealing and the decentralized hours create a very easy to read at-a-glance dial. The horizontal arrangement, from 3 to 9, of the dials is somewhat atypical for a regulator, setting the Atelier apart from others in the category. Regardless, for a watch this style, which has clear 60’s trappings, the regulator complication is very unexpected and undoubtedly works very well. The watch also features a domed sapphire crystal and sapphire display case back, so you can see the signature red Oris rotor.
Clearly Oris is maintaining a high level of design, both mechanically and aesthetically with these new offerings. I can’t help but be excited by a brand with the level of exposure, distribution and history that they have that still takes risks on their designs. No word on the specific pricing of these two watches, but given their respective details I’d put them in the 2 – 3k range.
By Zach Weiss