Oris’s team of in-house watchmakers and engineers pushed the limits of mechanical watchmaking with the Calibre 400 Series. Watchmaker Cédric Röhrich explains…
Cédric, tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Cédric Röhrich, I’m 27 years old and I’ve been an Oris watchmaker since 2014. Due to my rather quiet job, I regularly need my portion of adrenalin, so I enjoy getting into nature to go diving or parachuting. Then again, I like to fish.
What have you worked on at Oris?
When I joined, I started in quality control. Then I got the chance to become part of the manufacture department, working on our Calibre 100 Series of hand-wound movements. For the last two years, I’ve been the lead watchmaker on our Calibre 400 Series of automatic movements.
And what does that involve?
My job is to pick up the brilliant concept developed by our chief operating officer Beat Fischli and his team, and to deliver Calibre 400 Series movements ready to go into watches such as the new Aquis Date 41.5 mm Calibre 400. A lot of it is detail. We have to check components, ensure the quality of every part, manage assembly, control the quality of fully assembled and mounted movements, and generally be available to answer questions other teams in the company have about the Calibre 400 Series.
How does Oris go about conceiving a new automatic mechanical movement?
For us, it’s really important that a mechanical watch lives up to the expectations of today’s watch consumers. People expect a lot of a luxury watch, as they should. It has to deliver beauty, functionality and reliability, and it has to last a lifetime. That’s a lot to consider when you break it down, but with the Calibre 400 Series, I think we’ve achieved it.
What does that mean, in practice?
One of the basics is a long power reserve. We want Calibre 400 Series watch owners to enjoy the freedom of knowing they can put their watch aside for a few days without it stopping. It’s not sexy, but it’s also really important to develop movements that are as simple as possible and not prone to faults so that even if they go wrong they can be repaired quickly and affordably. We favoured dependable components and simplified the construction, using anti-magnetic alloys that are also highly anti-corrosive. You only really notice how reliable something is when it fails. Hopefully, Oris customers never notice…
Just how sure of its performance are you?
Well, we’ve put a 10-year warranty on all Calibre 400 Series movements and recommend getting them serviced once every 10 years. That’s really unusual with a mechanical watch, which is one of the reasons we’re calling it the new standard. What we want and what we hope is that we’re passing on watches to people all over the world that they’ll wear with pleasure and pride. I’m an Oris customer myself. I’ve been wearing my Aquis Date Calibre 400 for several months now. I don’t wear it every day, but I’ve never had to wind it or adjust it. The accuracy overwhelms me, even though I fully understand how the movement works!
What sort of accuracy are we talking?
We guarantee accuracy of -3 to +5 seconds per day, but it’s very important that under no circumstances should the watch lag. I prefer to arrive early for an appointment than to arrive late. In the case of magnetic fields, it can be assumed that the watch will return to this same level of accuracy as soon as it is no longer under the influence of magnetism.
Why focus on anti-magnetism?
We encounter magnetism everywhere: in a car, at home cooking, charging our phones… And I’m convinced we’ll encounter magnetic fields much more in the future. We had to think about this when we designed the new movement. Because who wants their watch to suddenly run inaccurately?
Looking ahead, what can we expect from the Calibre 400 Series?
Let us surprise you… All I can say is we’re not sitting still. We’re busy designing new and exciting developments.
And finally, how does it feel to have been part of watchmaking history?
Fantastic. I’m honoured. And I have a great sense of pride in being a part of Oris history. But more than that, I love the fact we’ve created something lots of people can own and enjoy. We put smiles on people’s faces.