Oris did Watches and Wonders right. Their space was beautifully decorated, their releases were mechanically and aesthetically diverse, and (perhaps most importantly) they had the best coffee of any brand we met with.
Unlike many Swiss watchmakers, Oris is independent. They’re not guided or controlled by an overarching conglomerate. As such, their catalog is agile and ever-evolving: honoring the brand’s deep history without sacrificing modern styling. This year, Oris continued their evolution with three new releases: the exceedingly popular ProPilot X Kermit Edition, the updated ProPilot Altimeter, and the lesser-known diamond-set Aquis Cherry.
Oris ProPilot X Kermit Edition
Each year, Baselworld (and now Watches and Wonders) is defined by a few releases. Oris’ new ProPilot X Kermit Edition is undoubtedly one of those releases. On the first of every month, this light green ProPilot X displays Kermit the Frog in the date window. This watch is playful; it was designed to make people smile, as explained to me by US Marketing Director Josh Shanks. The Kermit Edition's deceivingly-matte dial takes on a whole spectrum of green hues from lime to forest, depending on lighting and angles. The iridescent dial provides interesting contrast with the dark brushed titanium case. Aside from the Kermit cameo, this is the ProPilot X we know and love: in-house caliber 400, angular titanium build, and a crowd pleasing diameter of 39mm. This watch just stole Rolex’s market share of Kermit lovers.
New Oris ProPilot Altimeter
The 2014 Oris ProPilot Altimeter was the first mechanical watch to feature a mechanical altimeter. This year at Watches and Wonders, it received a significant update. The new model is made from Oris’ 3D printed and pressed carbon material (carbon fiber and PEKK composite). This material is incredibly light; the entire watch weighs in at less than 100 grams. Due to the print-and-press manufacturing method, no two cases come out the exact same. Your ProPilot altimeter will feature a one-of-a-kind pattern. The bezel, crowns, and caseback are made of titanium.
The new ProPilot Altimeter is still 47mm in diameter, but it’s 1mm slimmer than the previous model. That said, it’s still 16mm thick. This is the reality of a wrist-bound mechanical altimeter; it’s a pretty large tool watch. The new model’s altimeter measures up to 19,700 feet, a significant increase from the outgoing model’s 15,000 feet. If you like the Oris ProPilot Altimeter, this is the definitive version, now featuring an in-house caliber 793.
Oris Aquis Cherry w/ Diamond Bezel and Indices
Oris’ flagship dive watch received a glamorous new variation this year. We’ve seen a cherry-dial Aquis, but never like this. The new Oris Aquis Cherry Diamond Bezel has brilliant-cut lab-grown diamonds set on the bezel and hour indices. This blinged-out Aquis came as a surprise to me, so I asked Josh Shanks about its inception. “We’re not a diamond company”, said Shanks. Although the brand doesn’t make a habit of utilizing diamonds, they look right at home around a cherry dial. The contrast of deep red and bright precious stone is a striking one. I highly recommend taking a look at this watch in person if you get the chance.
Oris made a splash at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023. The ProPilot X Kermit Edition was one of the most celebrated watches all week. The ProPilot Altimeter continues to improve upon a concept that Oris created: a mechanical wristwatch with a mechanical altimeter. Finally, the diamond-set cherry-dial Aquis is one of the most unique watches I’ve seen all year; it’s rated to 300 meters of water resistance, features 1.2 carats of diamonds, and has the dial of a high-end dress watch. It has no parallels. Oris kicked off the year with three great releases, but they’re not done yet. The brand has some very special watches in the pipeline for later this year.