ris, the Swiss watchmaker based in Hölstein, is one of the rare watch brands that places environmental responsibility and lifestyle at the heart of its communication strategy. At the Watches & Wonders exhibition, we were welcomed by co-CEO Rolf Studer to the Oris booth, where the traditionally relaxed atmosphere was just as we remembered it.
- Oris co-CEO Rolf Studer
Europa Star: With the watch market posting new sales records, driven by the top of the range, how is Oris performing?
Rolf Studer: Oris is doing very well. We had our best year ever in 2022, despite being in a very competitive segment. We’re still hiring, the dynamic is positive, and that’s also reflected in the superb energy of this show.
What are your most buoyant markets?
The United States is our biggest market. China is recovering very well after two difficult years. Europe is also holding up well, with good growth in the UK, and France is making a strong comeback. We’re relaunching in the Middle East, thanks to our collaboration with Seddiqi, and India is starting to show promising results.
Have you seen any changes in your customer base? Who is buying Oris?
The Oris community has changed a great deal. We still have many long-time connoisseurs who appreciate the affordability of our watches. Social media has helped enormously to develop this new ‘big Oris family’ by connecting us with a much wider audience. So we’re increasingly moving towards a community that embraces our global philosophy, our lifestyle: cool, casual... and conscious.
- This special edition of the ProPilot X Calibre 400 has a green dial inspired by Kermit the Frog. On the first of the month, Kermit appears in the date window, just in time for “Kermit Day”, which is all about not taking life too seriously and having some fun.
What are the brand’s main lines of development for the coming years?
We want to remain the “conscious citizens” of the industry. We want to continue to offer casual and accessible luxury watches. Our goal is to reach the widest possible audience, moving away from the elitist image of watchmaking and really opening up to the general public. Oris is synonymous with joyful and responsible watchmaking!
You are one of the few watch brands that extensively and openly discusses their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policy. How far along are you on this journey?
Our next ESG report will be released soon. We didn’t reduce emissions as much as we had planned this year [Oris’s target is -10% per year – Ed.]. However, the data used for calculations has changed: it now has an even broader scope to evaluate our true impact. This is a long-term project and we remain very transparent on the subject. Above all, we want to maintain the commitment of our team, and continue our efforts across all levels that fall within our control.
With this year’s Kermit watch, you’re venturing into two rather unconventional realms for luxury: humour and environmental responsibility. You say, not without irony, that “it ain’t easy being green”.
This watch truly embodies our core philosophy. We want to bring joy to people. Objectively, a watch is no longer essential for telling the time these days, but it can still give pleasure, and at the same time it can also convey a message. The challenge lies in reconciling business growth with reducing emissions. We’re trying to travel smarter: less frequently, with longer stays at our destination. We want to move beyond just buying carbon offsets.
At Oris, we take a bottom-up approach. Our market team suggests concrete actions to reduce our emissions and spread our message of eco-responsibility, such as our “Change for the Better Days”. We recognise that, at our level, we won’t change the world. For example, we use 5 to 6 tonnes of steel per year, which, in terms of carbon emissions, is equivalent to one business class flight from Zurich to Los Angeles! But we believe in the power of luxury to influence, and Oris wants to help transform lifestyles by setting an example. Through all our initiatives – collecting waste, eliminating plastic and using recycled materials – we show that Oris is serious and sincere about this. We recognise that it’s not easy, but we’re confident that consumers are increasingly looking for a deeper meaning in their lifestyles. We believe change can be achieved with joy! As long as Oris delivers joy, meaning and affordable quality, we’re on the right track.