Oris is a well-known and appreciated watch brand with great history and a spirit of independence. Their line of divers is well-loved as well. But is Oris a luxury watch brand?
Oris can be considered an entry-level luxury watch brand. It is made with premium materials with in-house movements and is Swiss Made. Oris also costs a minimum of four-figure, placing it in a similar price range to Tag Heuer and Longines.
We’ll look into Oris in-depth to see if it’s a luxury watch brand in this post. We will also answer some pertinent questions about the brand.
We’ve answered similar questions about many watch brands, including Movado, Maurice Lacroix, Fossil, Swatch, etc., so click on the links for more information.
What Separates A Luxury Watch Brand From Other Brands?
Luxury watch companies are known for their superior craftsmanship, performance, and materials. Most high-end watch brands are also made in-house, have a high-end image, and start at four figures.
READ MORE: What Characterizes A Luxury Watch?
In general, luxury watch brands differ from cheap watch brands in the following ways.
- In-House Movements and Technology
- Brand Image
Materials: Luxury watchmakers use expensive materials to make their watch parts. Other than 316L stainless steel, watch casings and straps can be constructed of 904L steel, titanium, or 18K gold. Some luxury timepieces are also finished with diamonds and top-grain leather.
Assembly: To ensure high quality, luxury watchmakers often hand-assemble their timepieces. In addition, the watches are designed and constructed in-house.
Some low-cost watchmakers outsource some manufacturing to save money. Some companies outsourced part of the production but kept the assembly in-house. Some watch companies have entirely outsourced their manufacturing and assembly.
In-House Movements and Technology: Luxury watchmakers frequently develop their own movements and technology to better control the performance of their timepieces.
The majority of well-known watch brands rely on movements from third-party manufacturers such as Ronda, Sellita, or Miyota. They may lack the knowledge or resources to start their own movement.
To improve timepieces, luxury watch companies develop their own technology. These might be a specific metal blend for a better watch casing or specialist parts that can withstand magnetic force.
Design: Classic designs are often used as standards and inspiration for future designs by luxury watchmakers.
Many dive watch designers are inspired by the Rolex Submariner or the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean.
Watch trends are also influenced by luxury watch brands. Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual design revisions were copied by many watchmakers. Fluted bezels, cyclops magnifiers, and jubilee bands are examples.
ALSO READ: Affordable Watches That Look Like Rolex
Homages: Luxury watch brands frequently had homages made after their models. Homages are lookalike of originals made by a different manufacturer.
Homages aren’t the same as replicas. They usually bear the maker’s symbol and differ slightly from the original to avoid legal liability. As the price of the original watch rises, homages emerge.
ALSO READ: Best Affordable Homage Watchmaker Brands
Clones: Fake or clone watches will be a problem for premium watch brands. This is unavoidable due to the high cost of the watches.
This offers a lucrative market for clone watchmakers. A qualified watchmaker and serial number checker can distinguish a fake from a genuine watch.
Brand Image: Luxury watch brands project an impression of distinction, sophistication, and exclusivity. They associate their businesses with similar events, people, or media outlets.
Many high-end watch brands, including Rolex, Omega, IWC, and Richard Mille, sponsor tennis, golf, and Formula One. Luxury watch companies advertise in these media because they reflect money, power, and status.
Price: Finally, top watchmakers frequently charge at least four-figure sums for their products. This enables them to put more money back into product development and marketing. High watch prices made their timepieces exclusive and less accessible to the general public.
Can We Consider Oris A Luxury Watch Brand?
Oris is definitely a luxury brand, albeit an entry-level one. Oris watches are made in-house, with in-house movements and premium materials such as titanium. Oris watches also are Swiss Made and priced from around $1,500 on their website.
|Characteristics||Luxury Watch Brands||Oris||Pass?|
|Materials||May use 904L steel, titanium, precious metals, gemstones||Diamonds, alligator leather, sapphire crystals||✅|
|Assembly||Mostly hand assembled||No such claims||❌|
|Movement||Almost all have in-house movement||In-house movements||✅|
|Proprietary Technology||Almost all have proprietary technology||No known||❌|
|Design||Often iconic, and sets trends.||No iconic desings||❌|
|Homages||Have homages made after their models||Some homages exists||✅|
|Fakes & Imitation||Suffers from fakes and imitation||Suffering from fakes and imitations.||✅|
|Brand Image||Prestige, exclusivity, class||Carries a ‘luxury, but affordable’ image.||✅|
|Prices||At least four-figure.||Starts from $1,500||✅|
Oris’s watches are offered with premium materials such as bronze and titanium. Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating is standard on all models. The looming is done using SuperLuminova BGW9, a premium lume.
This is different than many affordable fashion watchmakers that offer only basic materials for their watches. Instead of sapphire crystals, you get mineral crystals. Instead of bronze or titanium, you get stainless steel instead.
Not that they are wrong, but luxury watchmakers go the extra distance for their customers.
On its website, Oris does not indicate to entirely hand assembly their watches, nor does it claim to fully assemble their watches in-house.
However, Oris watches are Swiss Made. A watch can only carry the Swiss Made label when:
- 60 percent of its output is done in Switzerland (design, parts manufacturing, assembly, etc.)
- The movement inside the watch is from Switzerland.
- The watch is encased and inspected in Switzerland.
In general, Swiss watches are of higher quality. Hence, the fact that Oris watches bear this designation strongly indicates the watch’s quality.
In-House Movements and Technology
Oris develops and runs its own in-house movement, something unique from an independent watchmaking company. Oris’s Caliber 400 is known for its accuracy, high levels of anti-magnetism, and 10 years of service interval and warranty.
The Caliber 100 automatic movement is structured for longevity, with a 10-day power reserve, power reserve indicator, a date indication, and a 24-hour second-time zone. This makes the Caliber 100 capable of functioning as a GMT watch.
Oris also develops a manual hand-winding movement, the Caliber 112. The Caliber 115 is another automatic movement but skeletonized for Oris’s skeleton watches.
ALSO READ: Should You Rest Your Automatic Watches?
In-house movements are usually developed due to the watchmaker wanting to have better control of the watch movement’s performance, accuracy, and reliability.
It takes a lot of effort and funds to continuously develop and continuously improve so many variations of movements. It might be even more challenging for Oris since it is an independent watchmaker company with smaller sales, profit, and popularity.
However, their commitment is lauded and shows how much they care about their watches, something we consumers should appreciate and support.
As much as they are nicely designed with excellent engineering, Oris watches do not seem to have any design that stands out compared to other watch brands.
Perhaps the most unique design that Oris has are the divers, in particular, the Divers and Aquis collections. These watches do have their own Oris flavor.
ALSO READ: Best Dive Watches Under $100
However, most of Oris’s watches need to be looked at closely before anybody knows it is an Oris watch. The design is not like a Panerai Luminor or a Rolex Oyster Perpetual, where people can look at it from a distance and recognize it.
In fact, some of Oris’s watches have designs so similar to other watch brands they could be considered premium homages.
Perhaps Oris plays with the concept of understated luxury, that the watches can be luxurious without standing out too much.
Oris’s lack of recognized design does not seem to deter homage makers, as there are models that could be considered homages of Oris watches.
Take, for example, the Steeldive SD1965. This is an homage to the Oris 65 Dive Watch, one of Oris’s well-loved watches.
However, some of Oris’s watches also could be said to be homages of luxury brands that are of higher status than itself. For example, Oris’s rectangular watches have designs that look similar to the Cartier Tank watches.
Therefore, Oris watches are somehow in between. It has models people made homages for, but at the same time, it is making homages as well. This places Oris in a similar situation as Longines.
Oris watches are suffering from problems with clones and counterfeits. Just run a Google search, and you will discover many sellers offering counterfeit, replica Oris.
It seems that Oris’s dive watches are counterfeited much more than their other watches, perhaps as a reflection of the popularity of these models.
These divers tend to be the more expensive models from Oris, meaning counterfeiters could sell at a higher price. Buyers would still value buying slightly more expensive counterfeits since the original watch’s price is much higher.
This then helps to generate a more significant profit margin for the counterfeiters.
Oris has an image of being ‘the fighter,’ of remaining independent as a watchmaker and not joining other watch groups.
Life indeed becomes harder for Oris, as it cannot leverage other watch brands’ expertise, marketing, and production. They have to do everything themselves. This also includes Oris having to develop its own watch movements.
Oris also carries an image of understated, ‘insider’ luxury. Within its entry-level luxury segment of watches, people recognize brands such as Longines and Tag Heuer much better than Oris. That means people who would consider Oris watches are much deeper into watches.
Oris also has that aspirational luxury timepiece feel to it. Its pricing makes it more affordable and reachable to the middle class. Many can save up and pick up an excellent Oris watch with some effort, unlike ultra-luxury watches such as those from Vacheron Constantin.
Oris’s status as an entry-level luxury watch is also shown in the pricing of its’ watches.
When reviewing the watches offered on their website, Oris’s most affordable model is the 40MM Artelier Date Dress Watch, at around $1,500.
The most expensive model is the Aquis Sun Wu Kong artist edition, with a hand-painted enamel dial, at around $25,000. However, the second most expensive model is priced much lower, only around $4,300.
The prices show that all Oris’s watches are above $1,000 but generally do not cross into high four figures. This firmly places it within the price brackets of other entry-level luxury brands like Longines and Maurice Lacroix.
What Is Oris Famous For?
Oris is famous as an independent watchmaker that continues to develop and make its own watch movements. Oris is also known for its beautiful divers, especially in its Diver and Aquis Collection. The Oris Diver 65 watch is Oris’s most iconic model, well-loved by watch enthusiasts worldwide.
Oris’s fierce spirit of independence is well celebrated with its marketing campaign titled ‘Go Your Own Way. Through this marketing campaign, Oris reiterates their independence, continuous improvement, and commitment to automatic movements.
It further reinforced its philosophy and image as a fiercely independent watch company.
Oris is also well-known for its dive watches, especially those from the Diver and Aquis collections. In fact, Oris’s most iconic models, such as the Oris 65 or the Date Caliber 400 in blue, are part of the Diver and Aquis collections.
Is Oris As Good As Rolex?
Oris is not as good as a Rolex. Oris and Rolex share many similarities, including being an independent watchmaker with an in-house movement. However, Oris is not as famous as Rolex, resulting in lesser demand for its watches. This also means Oris watches cannot hold value as well as Rolexes.
Both Rolex and Oris are independent watchmakers, making their own watches with their own in-house movement. In this area, Oris is just as good as a Rolex.
Rolex outspent Oris on marketing by leaps and bounds – Rolex can be seen sponsoring prestigious events, celebrities, and causes. Rolex also places ads on prestigious, high-class publications and media such as The Economist, Wall Street Journal, or National Geographic.
As a result, Rolex has higher recognition, demand, and ability to sell its watches at a much higher price than Oris. The demand for Rolex is so high that Rolex has to place customers on waitlists that can be years long.
Impatient buyers ended up looking for watches in the used market, driving up the price of used Rolex watches. Which makes Rolex watches a dream for investors as well.
Oris watches do not show much of these characteristics, especially in their value holding power. They, therefore, are not as good as a Rolex in this department.
Is Oris A Respected Watch Brand?
Oris is a respected watch brand, due to its status for being fiercely independent, without being part of any large watch group. It is also an enthusiast brand that only those deep into watches would discover Oris. Oris develops their own in-house movement as well.
Oris is one of the few truly independent Swiss watch companies with a long history that survived the quartz crisis. Many Swiss companies either end up banding up to survive or transform themselves into makers of fashion watches, such as Invicta or Festina.
Oris remains independent and continues to sell its watches and develop its movements just as imagined by its founders in 1904.
Oris also has the respect of many as it is an enthusiast brand. The typical consumer with little knowledge of watches might not know Oris or its uniqueness. They might recognize other more popular brands within its market segments, such as Longines, Maurice Lacroix, or Tag Heuer.
As a result, if you walk around with an Oris strapped onto your wrist, you might just get a nod or a tip of a hat from another watch enthusiast, perhaps even a watch snob.