The Oris Hölstein Edition 2020 is the world’s first wristwatch with a bronze case and bracelet. It is based on the Swiss brand’s retro-styled Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph and is described by Oris as “the first in a series of limited edition pieces named in honor of the Swiss village… where the company was founded.” Oris has been making watches from the same factory in the northern Swiss town of Hölstein since 1904.
In recent times, bronze has become the go-to case material for luxury brands looking to give their existing line-up an exciting new twist. As a case material, bronze was first spotted in the watch industry on diver’s watches. Bronze has for centuries been used to make ship fittings and the maritime link seemed legit. Besides, the ability of bronze cases to develop a patina (due to oxidation) over time ensured that each case would age differently.
This is a striking timepiece – the 43-mm-wide case, the relief engraved bezel, crown, and chronograph pushers are cast in solid bronze. Bronze watches tend to have stainless steel or titanium casebacks to prevent the skin from turning green due to oxidization. The solid bronze bracelet has no special coating to prevent oxidization; Oris reckons this is part of the charm of the watch.
“Our customers know what bronze is and will be aware that if they have a bronze watch, they may get oxidization on their skin. But, then you have a shower and it’s gone again. It’s part of the charm, and I’m sure they’ll appreciate it,” says Rolf Struder, Co-CEO of Oris.
Being a soft natural material, bronze was not strong enough to be used for the pins that hold the links together, or for the folding clasp. These, together with the watch’s caseback, are made of high-grade stainless steel. The case back is embossed with the Oris Bear, which has in recent years become a symbol of the Oris spirit.
The gilt dial has twin black chronograph counters – the 30-minute register is at 3 o’ clock and the running seconds hand is placed at 9 o’ clock. Rose gilt hour markers and hands are coated with Super-Luminova for optimal legibility in the dark. The watch is powered by the self-winding Oris 771 caliber, which is based on the Sellita SW500-1. It is a 4 Hz movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. A limited edition of 250 pieces, the watch is available on the brand’s website and is priced at CHF4,800 (Approx. 18,570).