Oris is a watch brand based in the Swiss German part of Switzerland, known for its seriousness about watchmaking and value, yet the brand has a decidedly playful spirit. Its collection juxtaposes elegant watches with sports, pilots and diving watches, setting it apart from other Swiss brands. After all, their slogan is “real watches for real people.”

This separation was never clearer than when I skied down a black run in Zermatt, the Matterhorn looming over the piste, trying to catch up to Rolf Studer, the brand’s co-CEO, as he led us through this incredible ski resort, en route to the brand’s Basel novelties presentation.

Now, Studer is a fantastic skier, as is Rico Steiner, region manager for Oris, but they were very patient with me, an enthusiastic, if very less capable, skier. They never left me behind and made me feel good about my limited skills. Truly appreciated!

The group of skiers was very eclectic, from experts like Studer and Steiner, to experienced skiers like Jeremy White from Wired UK and Revolution’s own Jason Heaton, who was rediscovering skiing after decades. The day, which dawned clear and stayed sunny throughout, was great fun for all, and by the time we arrived at the mountainside chalet for lunch, the sun had just cleared the Matterhorn and we were ready for some great rösti and watches.

“We have always been a modern brand for modern, enlightened people, and no other brand does things the way we do,” says Studer. “Our customers define their own fate, these are people who want a product that makes sense and want their products to be suitable for daily life. Our approach to this sets us apart–we only make mechanical watches, and we have always been making high quality watches and complications that make sense. We are not a tourbillon brand-we are a brand that uses a mechanical depth gauge in a diving watch, a mechanical altimeter in a pilot’s watch and a non-linear power reserve in our 10-day handwind watch with a manufacture movement. This is what we think the modern man wants.

“The business reason for doing our introduction in Zermatt is that we get some of our key pieces out so journalists can talk about them before Basel,” he continues. “We do it in Zermatt because we feel it is very Oris–we are not about boring events, we are about having a good time, doing something active, fun and different. We do the ski trip because we like skiing, but it’s also something we want to do with the people we enjoy spending time with. We don’t want to impress people with champagne events, we want to bond over having a good time. I gain so much more from a day of skiing with a bunch of journalists that enjoy life like we at Oris do.”

The New Watches

Oris Altimeter Rega Limited Edition

This watch is dedicated to Rega, Switzerland’s air rescue service, and underscores the partnership with Oris. Inspired by the needs of working pilots, this limited edition is based on Oris’s most innovative pilot’s watches: the Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter, the world’s first automatic mechanical watch with a built-in mechanical altimeter.

“Rega is an organization that shares our values: very Swiss, hard-working people,” Studer explains. “They are about getting it done, and that is very Oris.”

The 47mm Oris Altimeter Rega Limited Edition is limited to 1,414 pieces.

Oris Altimeter Rega Limited Edition
Oris Altimeter Rega Limited Edition

Oris Dexter Gordon Limited Edition

The seventeenth jazz watch made by Oris is dedicated to one of the 20th century’s greatest jazz musicians, Dexter Gordon. In keeping with the company’s previous jazz watches, it is a classic, deeply stylish piece. Its look is calm and harmonious, a reflection on Dexter’s famously warm, sociable personality. Limited to 1,000 pieces.

Oris Dexter Gordon Limited Edition
Oris Dexter Gordon Limited Edition

Aquis Redesign

The Aquis is one of Oris’s most important families, and the brand has refreshed it with all new details on the case, dial and hands, “to make it more refined, and a bit more elegant,” explains Studer. “This shows the direction that Oris has been taking the last few years, doing what we do but every year a little bit better, while staying close to who we are and where we come from.”

The new Aquis Hammerhead Limited Edition is part of this Aquis redesign, and Oris is working with Shark Conservation with marine explorer and conservationist Jérôme Delafosse to help save Hammerhead sharks. “We have been working with Jérôme for quite some time; he is a modern citizen who lives in today’s world and works with today’s media and believes that he has what it takes to make a difference,” says Studer. “He sees what is happening with the hammerhead sharks, and he has leverage in his profession, and he wants to contribute to making the world a better place. It’s about the small changes, and that’s why we support him and the Hammerhead Shark project. We are now in the first step of the project, learning about these Hammerhead sharks, it‘s about doing the right thing. This piece is limited to 2,000 pieces and a portion of the proceeds go to the project.”

“These days, you see fewer sharks than you used to,” says Delafosse. “In less than 40 years, we will have pushed sharks to extinction. The only way to save them is to see them in all their beauty.” Delafosse has spent the last 20 years observing the world’s shark and dolphin populations and has made a number of documentaries broadcast on French TV network Canal+ and the Travel Channel.

Oris Aquis Hammerhead Limited Edition
Oris Aquis Hammerhead Limited Edition
Oris Aquis Hammerhead Limited Edition

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Silver

Oris introduced its vintage-inspired Divers Sixty-Five based on a dive watch from 1965. A phenomenal success, Oris has introduced several iterations, including bronze, blue and green versions introduced last year. At Basel this year, an elegant silver dial version was introduced.

After the lunch and the introduction, we put our skis back on for one more run down the mountain. It was hard for me to concentrate on the slope as I had visions of watches dancing in my head, trying to figure out which watch I would suggest buying first. By the time I got to the bottom, I had it all figured out: because of the difference between these models–mechanical altimeter (gotta have it), mechanical depth gauge (can’t live without it), elegant jazz inspiration (need it for dinner parties) and the vintage inspiration of the Divers Sixty-Five (for the weekends), we’ll all have to buy each one.

Great skiing. Great watches. Great friendships.

It doesn’t get much better than this. I’m already looking forward to the Oris Zermatt introduction next year.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Silver