Oris Goes Green and Gets High at Watches & Wonders 2023 (Not that Way, Sheesh!)
Yesterday in Geneva, the watchmaker with the tagline “Joy of Mechanics” released two novelties. One is a colorful ode to a beloved amphibian-cum-comedian (the “Joy”), while the other is a professional-grade tool watch (the “Mechanics”).
At Watches & Wonders 2021, Hölstein-based watchmaker Oris released the all-bronze Divers Sixty-Five “Cotton Candy” models to much (well-deserved) fanfare and acclaim. And for the rest of the year, their warm, pastel-hued dials were never far from our thoughts nor failed to make us smile.
Then, at Watch & Wonders 2022, Oris unveiled the ProPilot X Calibre 400 powered by the brand’s ground-breaking in-house movement and encased in ultra-light titanium. While less showy than the “Cotton Candy,” it was hard to deny the technical beauty of the ProPilot X Calibre 400’s design.
That, of course, brings us to Watches & Wonders 2023, where Oris released two new watches: the unabashedly joyful ProPilot X Kermit Edition and the professional-grade carbon-fiber composite ProPilot Altimeter.
The Oris ProPilot X Kermit Edition
On the first of each month, the 6 o’clock date window displays a tiny portrait of everyone’s favorite banjo-playing frog rather than the date. Whether you decide to call it “Kermit Day,” like the brand advocates, or call it “Me Time,” you should definitely call it a chance to start your month on a fun, unexpected note, but I fell hard for it.
As for the rest of the story, this whimsical new execution plays by the rules: expect all the knurled-bezel-meets-knurled-crown classicism; angular, sharp-edged titanium bracelet with Oris-patented lift system modernism; big-time anti-magnetic performance; and 10 bars of water resistance. Yes, it has all favored hallmarks of the ProPilot X line but with a delightful croak in its throat.
Or as Oris Creative Director Ken Laurent put it: “[R]eally, the purpose of an Oris watch is to make people smile. That’s it. And with the ProPilot X Kermit Edition, there’s nothing else to it. Ok, yes, it’s powered by a brilliant movement, and the case design is spectacular, but the function of this watch is really simple: to bring joy.”
Introduced in 2014 as the first mechanical timepiece to include a mechanical altimeter, Oris landed a brand-spanking new version of the ProPilot Altimeter in Geneva with an updated altitude function, slimmer profile, and lightweight 3D-printed carbon case. And, yes, it is still the world’s first and only mechanical altimeter/mechanical watch combo.
In partnership with supplier 9T Labs, the innovative 47mm printed carbon-fiber case (along with the PVD-plated titanium bezel and caseback) of the ProPilot Altimeter is 1mm thinner than the original. Plus, it now houses the slimline automatic Calibre 793 movement, which packs 56 hours of power reserve (a big step up from the original’s 38 hours).
The altimeter module itself has also been reworked. In another improvement from the original, now the ProPilot Altimeter allows for accurate readings up to 19,700 feet (about 6,000 meters), increasing its readable height. Of course, Oris is offering two versions of the new watch: one that reads altitude in meters and one that reads feet. Still, a handy engraved feet-to-meters conversation table circles the case back as a backup.
Flying Form & Flying Function
Both versions feature an additional crown at 4 o’clock to adjust and set altitude references. Here’s how it works: Screwed in (“crown position 0”), the watch operates like a normal watch that doesn’t have an altimeter function.
To activate the altimeter, unscrew the crown until a red gauge ring appears. You are now in “crown position 1,” and the altimeter is in use.
To set the altimeter, you’ll need to be in “crown position 2.” To do that, simply pull out the crown, then rotate it until the reference air pressure aligns with the red triangle at 6 o’clock. The yellow indicator now shows your current altitude.
With the altitude set, merely push the crown back to “crown position 1,” and the changes in your altitude are shown using the yellow indicator against the dial’s outer ring gauging. The altimeter will work whether you are in flight, on the slopes, or riding a high-rise elevator.
Finally, screw the crown back down to deactivate and reset the device.
Maybe being green ain’t so easy, but this measuring approach is as easy as swallowing to pop your ears, to be sure.
Pricing & Availability
The Oris ProPilot X Kermit Edition will retail for $4,600 when it becomes available shortly after Watches & Wonders ends. Meanwhile, both versions (feet and meters) of the new ProPilot Altimeter come on a green textile strap with brown leather lining and will also become available shortly after the show for $6,500. You can learn more at the Oris website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)