The latest release from Oris is something that’s a bit different to what we’ve come to expect from the manufacturer – and we were lucky enough to get our hands on one of the samples, prior to the watch being launched this week.
Here’s a quick recap. The Coulson edition, limited to 1000 pieces, comes in a 3D-printed carbon fibre case: a first not only for Oris but also for the industry in general on this scale, for which Oris also relied on the help of Zurich University. It’s not just carbon either: holding everything together is an aerospace-derived polymer, which adds up to an extremely light yet tough watch: making it very easy to wear. Look closely and you’ll find striations all over the carbon case: this is a similar effect to brushing on a metal case, adding an interesting texture.
As for the Coulson part, this refers to Coulson Aviation: a Canada-based aerial firefighting business, which has racked up an incredible 160,000 hours in the air putting out massive fires and is considered a world leader in what’s an admittedly niche industry. So big are some of the fires they tackle, that the company’s biggest flying fire engine is a converted Boeing 737.
Unsurprisingly, their colours are mostly red – and that’s the graduated theme of the distinctive Oris dial too, which goes from a dark burgundy at the top to a fiery orange at the bottom.
Personally, the very first thing that sprung to mind when I saw it was Fahrenheit aftershave: one of my favourite fragrances from Dior, which comes in a bottle that features a similar colour scheme.
But Fahrenheit too is linked to fire, and it's an alluring aroma, so everything hangs together in a cohesive package: this might be one of the first times that you can actually match your watch to your aftershave…
The dial is clear and appealing but flip it around and the exhibition case back is one of the highlights for me, showcasing the handsome rotor of the Oris in-house Calibre 400 automatic movement (which comes with a whopping 120-hour power reserve).
The overall look will be familiar to fans of the Big Crown Pro Pilot, but it comes across as a much more modern interpretation to wear, thanks also to the plain black textile strap, with more fiery orange as the leather lining. It’s comfortable to wear once it’s on your wrist, but lightweight watches intrinsically divide opinion. I like the fact that you hardly feel it; there are other people who prefer to have a ‘heft’ on their wrists.
At £3400 it’s not a cheap watch compared to a few others in the Oris range, but you’re paying for the innovative technology and exclusive concept. Up to now, firefighting in the watch world has been the preserve of William Wood, but now there’s an alternative that’s very different and delivers a fresh take.
Wearing one of the samples has been a really interesting experience as it’s allowed us to get beyond the press release and see the development of a striking concept from early stages to execution; a fascinating journey that has led to a unique conclusion.
With a renowned high-quality movement and a design like no other, it’s going to be fascinating to see what comes next for this very different Oris.