The watch’s case is made of carbon fibre and titanium, but not just any carbon fibre. Oris has developed and patented a carbon fibre manufacturing technique derived from processes used by Oris’s long-standing Formula 1 partner Williams and never before seen in watchmaking.
Oris’s technique has been designed to exploit the full potential of carbon fibre, and it delivers three key benefits. The first two are rigidity and water-tightness. In most carbon fibre watches, these can only be achieved by adding in extra components such as metal reinforcements or a metal ‘containers’, but Oris’s solution bypasses the need for these. The third is in post-production. Processing carbon fibre after it has been moulded and hardened is labour-intensive and costly, but the Oris technique overcomes this.
To make this unique, high-performance carbon fibre composite, sheets of woven carbon fibre reinforced polymer are layered manually in individual moulds in two steps and then twice hardened under five bar of pressure at 130°C in special ovens. The use of fibre waves rather than shreds ensures the material is solid, with no hollow spaces. Each watch-case middle part is individually made by hand.
The process is so sophisticated that it delivers a completed case shape and finished surface. The titanium case back and sapphire crystal can be mounted straight onto it, without further machining, special gaskets or ‘containers’. In fact, the only additional processes required are to mill off any redundant material, and to mill the holes for the crown, chronograph pushers and the bracelet.
Oris has developed this material using knowledge shared with the Williams Formula 1 team, with whom it first partnered in 2003. Carbon fibre polymers are used wherever a high strength-to-weight ratio is required, as in a racing car’s monocoque or steering wheel. It is five times lighter and twice as stable as stainless steel. Oris has used it in the middle part of the Williams Chronograph Carbon Fibre Extreme multi-piece case. The part weighs just 7.2 grams.
Completing the Oris Williams Chronograph Carbon Fibre Extreme case are polished, black-DLC-coated titanium elements, including the bezel, crown, push buttons and screw-down case back. The watch is fuelled by Oris Calibre 674, a modified version of ETA’s ultra-reliable 7750 calibre. This gives it three counters, one for small seconds, and hour and minute chronograph counters. Williams blue on the chronograph hands and counters completes the watch’s sporty design language.
The Oris Williams Chronograph Carbon Fibre Extreme will be launched in June 2016 for CHF 4,200, a reasonable price that reflects Oris’s ‘real watches for real people’ philosophy of delivering innovative, reasonably priced, Swiss Made watches.