Why You Should Be Excited About Oris’s New Calibre 400
Anti-magnetism, a five-day power reserve, a 10-year warranty, and recommended service intervals of 10 years are just some of the highlights of Oris’s new Calibre 400.
New movements come out all the time, but we rarely write about them without the context of a watch. Oris’s Calibre 400, however, doesn’t need a watch to be newsworthy!
Oris’ Recent Movement History
Since 2014, Oris has been slowly but surely reintroducing new in-house movements to power its timepieces. The first was the manual-winding Calibre 110 with a 10-day power reserve and a non-linear power reserve indicator that marked both the watchmaker’s 110th anniversary and the 35 years since it had last made its own movement.
Since then, we have seen the arrival of Calibres 111, 112, 113, 114, and, most recently, the Calibre 115 (read HERE), adding calibres to the rhythm of one new manual movement per year. After a running series of numbers, the brand’s new automatic movement has jumped to the number 400 – a mathematical leap, but also a leap in terms of engineering and innovation.
The idea behind the Calibre 400 was not to incorporate a function or a complication but to create a calibre that would be highly efficient and more resistant to wear and tear. “The challenge creating a mechanical movement from scratch is not just to come up with a list of functions and then devise a solution to them,” noted Beat Fischli, Oris’s Chief Operating Officer, in a press release. “The real challenge is to produce a movement that will perform consistently and reliably for as long as the intervals you’re going to recommend between servicing.”
What This Movement Can Do
The new Calibre 400 took five years to develop. It is anti-magnetic, has an impressive five-day power reserve (120 hours), a 10-year warranty, and only needs to be serviced once every 10 years. A movement for today’s world, it was conceived entirely in-house by Oris’s skilled engineers and produced using Switzerland’s extensive network of suppliers. It is also a movement that has been formulated with price in mind to allow Oris to continue making timepieces at great value for money. Let’s take a closer look at the details.
Ask any after-sales watchmaker, and they will confirm that magnetism is the bane of the watch industry. We are surrounded by magnetic fields, from the fridge to women’s purses, computers and cell phones, even the airbags in your car! And this omnipresent magnetism wreaks havoc with the precision of mechanical movements. In particular, it usually causes them to gain time. It is an easy fix with a demagnetizing machine, but it still requires a trip to your local retailer.
The Calibre 400 contains an entirely new escapement that includes a silicon anchor and escape wheel, along with other non-ferrous materials for the axes that hold the balance wheel, escape wheel, and anchor in position. In total, 30 non-ferrous materials or anti-magnetic alloys work together perfectly, even when subjected to magnetic fields of 2,250 gauss. As a comparison, the ISO 764 standard for a watch to be officially qualified as anti-magnetic requires that it must be accurate to within 30 seconds a day after exposure to only 200 gauss. The Calibre 400 recorded one-third of the deviation allowed after exposure to more than 11 times the magnetic force permitted.
A More Stable Rotor System
Many of the problems with automatic movements are caused by how they are wound. Typically, the rotating mass sits on a ball bearing and winds in both directions. Oris’s team devised a much more reliable system based on the slide bearing concept that only winds in one direction, making it less complex and reducing wear and tear.
Five-Day Power Reserve
In the Calibre 400, torque was reduced in the mainspring to help conserve power by putting less pressure on moving parts. A new wheel design was also added to the gear train, delivering greater efficiency.
How much more efficient is it? The Calibre 400 retains 85 percent of the energy transferred from the mainspring, compared to around 70 percent in most movements. The power is stored in twin barrels, each holding two and half days’ worth of power. This extended five-day power reserve means that you can take your watch off on a Wednesday night, and it will still be running perfectly on the following Monday morning.
A 10-Year Warranty And 10-Year Service Intervals
Oris is so confident in its new movement that it is offering a 10-year guarantee for owners who register them at MyOris. In addition to this, Oris recommends only bringing the watch in for service once every decade (except for accidental damage and water resistance checks), definitely setting a new standard.
“Calibre 400 is the new standard; the Oris standard,” says Rolf Studer, Oris’s Co-CEO. “It’s an intelligent concept, it has a smart choice of materials that gives it its anti-magnetic properties, and the engineering solutions deliver the reliability that means we can offer a 10-year warranty and 10-year service intervals."
“There’s nothing else like it. This is the Oris way of doing things. We think a bit harder and come up with sober solutions that mean we can make a watch for people in love with watches, and not only for the privileged few. Calibre 400 isn’t just another mechanical watch movement – it’s a movement that gives answers to the questions of our time. More than that, it serves our customers,” concluded Studer.
We look forward to seeing which collection is going to receive this new movement first. Stay tuned for more Oris news soon.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell & Pierre Vogel)