Everything you never knew about Oris - CEO Video Interview

Everything you never knew about Oris - CEO Video Interview

3 min read
Anthony Peacock



Anthony Peacock



From the very start, it’s clear that Rolf Studer isn’t your average Swiss watch company CEO. He doesn’t address you from behind acres of polished mahogany desk for a start, and there’s not a suit or tie to be seen anywhere about his person.

He comes across as modest and philosophical, while his office is functional rather than flashy. He’s been co-CEO of Oris since 2016, and at the company since 2006. For him, Oris is just one big family – although he’s seen plenty of changes during his time there.

Oris Pro Pilot Coulson

The Pro Pilot Oris Coulson: Image credit WatchGecko

We were very lucky to be able to sit down and chat with him, and there were no subjects off the table – except for Oris’s forthcoming new releases (including the famed Holstein edition) in 2023. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens there, although he did drop us a couple of intriguing hints. 

What was clear from our conversation is that Oris is going places: and the watch community is largely in agreement (a rare occurrence) that the manufacturer has really upped its game in recent years, thanks to a series of high-quality and engaging designs that are nonetheless accessible to most people. 

Oris Big crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary Edition: Credit WatchGecko

Accessibility is at the forefront of Rolf’s mind – because that’s the sort of person he is. His mission is almost to democratise the industry, without compromising on any of the quality inherent to Swiss watchmaking. But ‘accessibility’ isn’t just about price. It’s mainly about having fun, ‘making people smile’, as he puts it. And if you have to break down a few conventions in order to do that, so what? 

Most people think that Switzerland is right up there with Belgium in terms of innate humour. But that’s where we’re all wrong. Rolf – and by extension Oris – are properly funny: a pair of mavericks bringing a genuine sense of playfulness to a traditionally staid industry. Why else would Oris adopt a giant wooden teddy bear as their logo: one example of which (almost as big as a person) proudly stands guard outside the new Oris boutique in London? It's in South Molton Street off Oxford Street, just in case you want to drop in. You’ll receive a warm welcome. 

Teddy Bears...

The Oris Bear - Image Credit Oris

It's clear that Rolf loves his teddy bear: something else that most CEOs probably wouldn’t admit to. But the rationale is flawless: people form an early and visceral emotional connection to their fluffy bears, always associating them with happiness. So why shouldn’t it be the same for a watch? 

Oris Bear (as he’s known) also underlines the company’s connection with nature, and sustainability is an area in which Oris is genuinely breaking new ground. Having turned its back on Formula 1 sponsorship following a lengthy association with the Williams team, Oris now backs the more sedate sport of cricket – although unsurprisingly there isn’t a cricket team in Holstein. Yet.  

Oris Aquis New York Harbour Special Edition - Image Credit Oris

Rolf talks passionately and eloquently about Oris’s love for its natural environment and the unique sustainability initiatives that the company is involved in, many of which are celebrated with new watches. Holstein, tucked right up against the German border in the north of Switzerland, is somewhat on a rustic limb, and this geographical anomaly has shaped its destiny: ‘Holstein 1904’ is now written on many of the watch dials and the company is just as attached to its home territory as any wine-grower. 

Since a management buy-out (from the predecessor of the Swatch group) in the 1980s, Oris remains one of the very few truly independent Swiss mechanical watchmakers: and probably the best-known one. 

It’s a responsibility that Rolf doesn’t take lightly. Our exclusive conversation provides a revealing insight into the thinking behind one of the most dynamic and committed CEOs in the business, who explains to us what Oris is really all about. Come over to the WatchGecko You Tube channel now to see the full interview

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Anthony Peacock

About the Author: Anthony Peacock

I’m passionate about a lot of things but especially cars, food, wine, film – and watches.

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