To mark their birthday on 1 June, Oris introduces the Hölstein Edition 2022, a watch that revives an icon, the Full Steel. It captures the spirit of the 1990s, and a groundbreaking mechanical movement – Oris Hölstein Edition 2022.
The path to Hölstein
Oris was founded in 1904 in the Swiss village of Hölstein, not far from Basel, but a long way from watchmaking’s traditional heartland. It’s still shaping who we are today
Whether we like it or not, we’re shaped by where we come from. The country and city, town or village where we’re born will always be part of us. Oris came into being on 1 June 1904 in the remote Swiss village of Hölstein. For exactly 118 years, this beautiful little place has been shaping us, guiding us, even.
How? To understand the impact Hölstein has on us today, we have to go back to our founding year. Oris was the vision of two brave, pioneering watchmakers from Le Locle, deep in the French-speaking heartland of Swiss watchmaking. Their concept was to embrace the industrial practices that by then were fuelling the mighty Swiss German-speaking city of Basel. By bringing their watchmaking skills and romantic sensibilities together with state-of-the-art, highly efficient manufacturing, they believed they would be able to deliver high-quality Swiss Made watches to the world citizens of the day.
This was an unconventional step. Oris, named after a nearby brook, had a path of its own. It would go its own way.
There was more to it. Hölstein was surrounded by the Waldenburg Valley, a spectacularly beautiful area. Its people would come to work at Oris, and those who came from Basel and beyond would soon come to appreciate its power to inspire them.
Today, 118 years on, our founder’s vision remains; the valley continues to inspire us (and motivate our ambitious sustainability strategy); and our factory is still on the same site. All here in Hölstein. Our home. For the third year, we celebrate it with a limited edition watch for the global Oris community.
The Hölstein Edition 2022 revives the Full Steel of the late 1990s, a landmark mechanical watch
The watch celebrating our 118th birthday is inspired by the Full Steel Worldtimer, a stainless steel sports watch introduced in 1998 that picked up on an extraordinary movement Oris had debuted a year before.
Known as the Worldtimer, Oris Calibre 690 was a world first. Using plus and minus buttons on the case flanks, it could adjust local time in one-hour jumps either forwards or backwards, with home time shown on a counter at 3 o’clock. Even more impressively, as the time moved past midnight in either direction, the date would change, too.
The late 1990s was an exciting time for Oris. The company was resurgent after the trials of the Quartz Crisis, which put hundreds of Swiss watchmaking companies out of business in the 1970s and 1980s, and was innovating new mechanical functions with real-world applications. The Full Steel Worldtimer was a landmark not just for Oris, but for Swiss watchmaking.
The Hölstein Edition 2022, limited to 250 pieces, is a faithful revival of this Oris icon. It has a 36.5mm stainless steel case, a three-link stainless steel bracelet and a blue dial with the famous red plus and minus symbols. And it’s powered by Oris Calibre 690.
Spirit of the 1990s
Oris Co-CEO Rolf Studer talks about the Hölstein Edition 2022, and why the watch and the decade behind it inspire him
Rolf, while we have you – it’s been a significant couple of years for watchmaking. How are things at Oris?
Last year was a very strong year for Oris as we built on our Calibre 400 Series story with some really strong new releases. Calibre 400 was created for today’s world citizen, and it’s working! We also became climate neutral and released our first sustainability report, part of our ongoing Change for the Better mission. The last year also marked our debut at Watches and Wonders in Geneva. It was a huge success for us and our ‘piazza concept’, an open, inclusive, informal forum, gave us an opportunity to showcase our values on the international stage for the first time in three years. We believe our job is to cheer people up and it was great to see the sparkle in people’s eyes talking about Oris and mechanical watches. Thanks to everyone who came to visit us and share the joy.
So, the Hölstein Edition 2022. This is the third in the series. Remind us of the thinking behind these watches…
The main thing is that they’re linked to our birthday – the company was founded on 1 June 1904. This place and this valley define who we are, so if you like they’re a gift to ourselves, but also to our community. Hölstein Editions always have a quirk, and they always tell our story. For example, they’re the only pieces that feature the Oris Bear. The Oris Bear is the medium of the Oris story. He’s a symbol of warmth, of joy and of going your own way.
How have previous Hölstein Editions been received by your customers?
In a short time, they’ve become a part of our yearly release plan and people now look forward to them. Honestly, it’s a challenge to find something that meets the criteria we set ourselves for the Hölstein Editions. They have to express our story and how we value our whole community. As before, this year’s is not only a boutique option – people all over the world can buy this watch through their official retailer, even though it’s basically a boutique edition. And they can choose their limited-edition number on our website. We try to give Oris enthusiasts an experience we would enjoy ourselves.
Oris isn’t known for short-run editions. Why produce the Hölstein Editions in such low volumes, just 250 pieces?
It’s a good question, because we could sell more, and people will know that we talk a lot about being inclusive – so shouldn’t everyone have access to one of these watches? As I explained, they are available to anyone, albeit only 250 people. But then we also want to do a few really special things for the Oris community. You could say the Hölstein Editions give access to the heart of pure Oris.
The Hölstein Edition 2022 takes a new direction. Why go back to the Full Steel?
I have to admit that some of it’s personal. The Full Steel Worldtimer was always one of my favourite watches, long before I worked at Oris, and I think it’s a much underrated design. I also love the movement – a watchmaking landmark. Until Calibre 110 in 2014, Calibre 690 was our most complicated movement, which is a special legacy. In the true Oris sense, it’s functional, useful, beautiful and only mechanical. And there’s something about the Full Steel that captures the experimental spirit of 1990s designs. Think of the Lamborghini Diablo and it just makes you smile. The Full Steel is the same. And the 1990s was a much freer time than today. We weren’t so connected and we had much more reasonable expectations of each other, work and how we build societies. We’ve lost so much of that, and we wanted a watch that would embody these values – Oris values.
Is the Full Steel back for good?
It’s a single piece and the idea isn’t to bring it back. But never say never…
The Oris Bear returns to the case back – what do your customers make of him?
He’s a magnet for people – how can you not love the Oris Bear? He makes people smile, which is our customer purpose, and the perfect canvas for any kind of emotion. And there’s no status with a bear. Just warmth.
Oris has been in Hölstein since 1904. How does that inform your thinking as Co-CEO?
It creates a strong emotion for me. I’m always impressed upon and inspired by the rigour that my predecessors applied in managing Oris, keeping it alive through difficult times and always working for the brand and not for themselves. That’s a legacy I want to continue.
Oris Hölstein Edition 2022 Technical Specifications
Based on the ‘Full Steel’ of the late 1990s and powered by Oris’s Calibre 690 Worldtimer, the 250-piece Hölstein Edition 2022 is a celebration of the rich history and joyful spirit that define Oris
Ref.: 01 690 7780 4085-Set
- Number Oris 690
- Centre hands for hours and minutes with forward or backward one-hour setting device,
- small seconds at 9 o’clock, date at 6 o’clock,
- home time hour and minute hands with day/night indicator at 3 o’clock,
- instantaneous date,
- date corrector,
- fine timing device and stop-second Winding Automatic winding,
- bi-directionally rotating red rotor
- Power reserve 38 hours
Case & Dial
- Multi-piece stainless steel case
- Size: 36.50 mm (1.437 inches)
- Dial: Blue
- Luminous material Indices, numbers and hands with Super-LumiNova®
- Top glass: Sapphire, flat, anti-reflective coating inside
- Case back: Stainless steel, screwed, special engravings
- Operating devices: Stainless steel screw-in security crown and pushers
- Water-resistance: 5 bar
- Multi-piece stainless steel metal bracelet with folding clasp
Limited edition 250 pieces, each watch is delivered in a special wooden presentation box
Swiss retail price CHF 4,000 / 4.000€- Available June 2022