Oris Rules the Rails with Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition
The story of Oris is different from so many Swiss watch companies. It began in 1904 with two watchmakers, Paul Cattin and Georges Christian. The pair were based in the watchmaking heartland of Le Locle, but rather than found their company there, they ventured west toward Basel. They settled in Hölstein, an unassuming village nestled in the beautiful Waldenburg Valley. But why?
Their decision owed a great deal to the Waldenburgerbahn (WB), an efficient, low-cost rail network opened in 1880 that linked the valley. It covered just 13km but passed right by what would become the Oris factory.
Its impact? “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.”
Marking the WB’s recent upgrade, Oris is proud to introduce the Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition, a 1,000-piece watch based on its signature Big Crown Pointer Date.
To capture the company’s affection and gratitude for the role played in its story by the Waldenburgerbahn – the historic railway that connects Hölstein to the valley around us and the world beyond – Oris says it felt right to create a special watch.
The company settled quickly on a design based on its Big Crown. First introduced in 1938, in constant production ever since, and Oris’s signature watch, the timeless Big Crown is a vital piece of the brand’s history, just like the Waldenburgerbahn. It could not be verified, but it’s also likely no watch design has ridden the Waldenburgerbahn more often.
Oris is very proud, therefore, to introduce the Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition. This 1,000-piece watch carries the echo of generations of Oris watchmakers who have been traveling to Hölstein on the train since the company was founded in 1904.
Why do this now? In December, the 13km network will be reopened after an 18-month project to upgrade it to the latest tramway technology. Once again, Oris employees will be able to make their way to work using this alternative, low-carbon means of transport, helping the company deliver on the Oris Emissions Reduction Program, unveiled earlier this year in its first sustainability report.
The watch has a 40mm stainless steel case, fluted bezel, and a domed sapphire crystal over a black dial decorated with large, lumed Arabic numerals and a railway-track minute scale. It’s powered by Oris Caliber 754, which fuels our signature Pointer Date function, whereby a central, red-tipped hand points to a date scale running around the edge of the dial. It’s finished on a dark brown strap made of sustainable deer leather supplied by our partner Cervo Volante.
The finishing touch? An engraved caseback that shows the old Waldenburgerbahn steam locomotive and the limited-edition number. The perfect platform to tell the story.