The history of watchmaking overlaps the history of many other important social developments, with each supporting the other in its ongoing evolution. So, too, watchmaking is an illuminating lens through which to view history in general, and Oris is taking the opportunity to do just that. Its new Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition celebrates the historic railway that encouraged industry in the Waldenburg Valley, the place Oris has called home since 1904.
“The Waldenburgerbahn linked Hölstein and Oris to the world,” says Andreas Büttiker, CEO, BLT Baselland Transport AG. “The WB was and is the lifeline of the valley. In the 19th century, it fueled industrial development and the founding of numerous, innovative companies, especially in the watchmaking and precision engineering industries. Oris, like the WB, stands for reliability, quality and innovation.”
This rail network was one of the deciding factors for Oris founders Paul Cattin and Georges Christian settling in Hölstein rather than the watchmaking region of Le Locle, where they were based. The prescient duo understood the potential impact this gateway to the region and the world would have on the brand and its products.
The railway will be reopened in December of this year after an 18-month project to upgrade it to the latest tramway technology. So now is the perfect time to acknowledge its role in transporting timepieces and the people who helped build them.
Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition
The new 1,000-piece limited edition is based on the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date, a true pillar of the brand.
“We settled quickly on a design based on our Big Crown,” says an Oris spokesperson. “First introduced in 1938, and in constant production ever since, the timeless Big Crown is a vital piece of our history just like the Waldenburgerbahn.”
The 40mm stainless steel multi-part case has a stainless steel screw-in security crown and a stainless steel screw-in caseback with special engravings of the old Waldenburgerbahn steam locomotive, along with the watch’s limited-edition number. The black dial, covered by a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, features luminous indices, Arabic numerals and hands. It also features the signature Pointer Date red-tipped central hand that indicates the date on a scale running around the perimeter of the dial.
The Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition, available this month, is powered by the automatic Caliber 754 with a power reserve of 38 hours. Its functions include hours, minutes, seconds and date. It is fashionably fitted on a dark brown Cervo Volante deer leather strap that offers a quick-change system for greater versatility, and a leather travel pouch is included for safekeeping the perfectly polished timepiece. A cleaning cloth printed with a map of Hölstein is another nice add-on.
Sustainability In All Things
Interestingly, since the revamping of the railway and its long-awaited reopening, Oris employees will be able to travel to work using this low-carbon means of transport. This feels like a full-circle event, since Oris has maintained a strong commitment to sustainability in its products and practices in keeping with its Emissions Reduction Programme, unveiled earlier this year.