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in conversation with Rolf Studer, CEO at Oris

The Watches Of Switzerland Group 4 minutes
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This article is part of our Geneva Watch Days 2023 series. We were delighted to speak with Rolf Studer, CEO at Oris on the brand as well as the new releases.

Can you share with us your journey and history at the brand? How did you become involved in the world of horology?

I have always had a lifelong fascination with watches and being Swiss, this part of our culture. I was able to incorporate my love for horology into my professional life in 2006 when I joined Oris. I am yet to have a boring day at work! When I started at the brand, I was responsible for the sales division of North America plus European and Asia markets. Now as Co-CEO I work alongside Claudine Gertiser (Co-CEO, Oris) and I oversee global sales, international marketing, and product supply amongst other responsibilities.

What has been your favourite memory of working at the brand so far and why?

We have achieved so much since my time working at Oris, it is hard to pin-point one specific memory. However, one thing that does stand out is when we announced our Climate neutral status as a brand. For many years, we had been investing in conservation and sustainability projects as part of our campaign to bring Change for the Better. We became known for the campaign and the watches that symbolised it. It’s a big claim and makes us one of a very small number of Swiss watch companies to have reached this point.

With such a storied history, what key elements or values from the brand's past do you believe still resonate in today's watchmaking industry?

Oris only make mechanical watches, we are one of the few still independent Swiss watch brands and independency really means a lot to us. It not just being independent from a group it also means a state of mind. We can innovate and do what we like in order to go our own way. Which is why this is also our company slogan.

We've seen many technological advancements in watchmaking. How does the brand balance its heritage with incorporating modern innovations into its timepieces?

It’s about respecting and merging the classic design of an Oris timepiece with modern day technology. We saw this with our ProPilot x Altimeter, a classic within the Oris archives; but now produced using a unique “additive manufacturing and moulding” process developed by our Swiss partner 9T Labs. Different to normal 3D-printing, which is mainly for prototyping. We can now industrialise manufacturing and use the technology to produce structural end-use parts at high volumes. Which is a real breakthrough.

Speaking of innovation, could you tell us about any recent breakthroughs or unique features that have been integrated into your latest collections for 2023?

Yes, the Oris x Bracenet is a prime example of a recent technological breakthrough that is both innovative and considerate of our planet. Bracenet is a social enterprise which makes accessories from upcycled ghost fishing nets – and now, watch dials. Making these dials involves taking small green, blue, and white offcuts and gently warming them until they melt into the raw material. As they cool, they harden into a thin sheet of material. This is then cut to size, planed, and sanded down until it’s just 0.3mm thick. The material contains no additives, fillers, or glues. No two dials are the same.

Collectors often seek brands with a strong identity. How does the brand ensure its signature style is consistently reflected across various collections?

You can always tell it’s an Oris timepiece because it makes people smile but maybe I am being biased. In terms of design our mechanical watches always conform to the Oris credo: “Things must make sense”. We live for the quality of work we put into our watches.

What can you tell us about the new launches showcased at Geneva Watch Days?

For Geneva Watch Days 2023, we have three exciting new product launches and a new ambassador joining the Oris family. Yusra Mardini, former Olympic swimmer and UNHCR (Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees) Goodwill Ambassador. A refugee of the Syrian civil war, her life inspired the biographical film, The Swimmers, which was distributed recently on Netflix. Alongside her ambassadorship the Yusra Mardini Foundation will also become an Oris Sustainability Partner. Yusra epitomises the Oris philosophy of looking after our world and each other. So, this partnership brings us real joy.

On top of this exciting announcement, we will also be launching the AquisPRO 4000m, the most water-resistant diver’s watch we’ve ever created. The Oris x Bracenet collaboration, which makes accessories from upcycled ‘ghost’ fishing nets. Plus, we are introducing two new models to one of our most loved lines, the Artelier.

What is the creative or design inspiration behind this collection and what can enthusiasts look forward to?

The models launching at Geneva Watch Days are traditional Oris timepieces that reflect all our philosophies as a brand. We have the Bracenet; highlighting our Change for the Better campaign and bringing awareness to Bracenet’s fight against ocean plastic. We have our deepest diving watch ever created from Oris with the AquisPRO 4000m and two further additions to our Artelier line. Hopefully this selection will bring joy to all Oris enthusiasts.

Discover more from Oris at Watches of Switzerland.

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