Limited-edition timepieces are an increasingly ubiquitous presence in the watch world, and while there’s no proven formula for making a great one, Oris seems closer to figuring it out with each passing each year. The new Oris Hölstein Edition 2022 Full Steel Worldtimer, a 250-piece re-edition of a unique 1990s GMT model, hits a bulls-eye on all fronts from its styling to its movement. Combining a rare, unusual travel time complication, an enthusiast-sized case, and a nod to the increasingly hyped world of 1990s design, the 2022 Full Steel Worldtimer is the complete package for any collector lucky enough to score one.
Straight Outta Hölstein
In 1904, Oris was founded by a pair of watchmakers from Le Locle. Instead of setting up shop in the heart of a Swiss watchmaking country, however, they chose to locate the new firm in Basel, near the German border. This decision resulted in a watch company that was comfortable doing things differently — an approach that’s still very much in evidence across Oris’ modern watch lineup. It’s a legacy the brand takes seriously, and the Hölstein Editions are a reminder of these values.
A Birthday Tradition
Since 2020, Oris has celebrated its birthday each June with the release of a special limited-edition timepiece that speaks to the brand’s long and rich heritage. The first release was an edition of the Diver’s Sixty-Five with a full-bronze case and bracelet — a first for a Swiss watch brand. Following the watch’s success, the next Hölstein Edition re-interpreted the brand’s iconic Big Crown in a grey and red livery with a new in-house movement.
“In a short time, [the Hölstein Edition has] become a part of our yearly release plan and people now look forward to them,” says the brand’s co-CEO Rolf Studer. As with previous editions, this year’s watch can be purchased through any Oris retailer but the most ardent fans will head straight for the Oris website, where they can choose their edition number out of 250 — while supplies last.
The Oris Hölstein Edition 2022 Full Steel
“The Full Steel Worldtimer was always one of my favourite watches, long before I worked at Oris, and I think it’s a much-underrated design,” says Studer of this year’s inspiration, a steel sports watch released in 1997. Of particular note in that edition, he says, is the watch’s Calibre 690 movement — a watchmaking landmark and the brand’s most complicated movement until being superseded by the Calibre 110 in 2014. Indeed, with its robust steel case, and unusual GMT orientation with pushers at five and seven, the Full Steel easily stands apart from the crowd at a glance. The rest of the Full Steel’s design is just as unique, with a distinctive GMT setup featuring a home time subdial with a day/night indicator at three o’clock, and two pushers on the bottom of the case to easily adjust the time on the main dial. Just as unusual is a small (by today’s standards) case at 36.5mm, which is nonetheless a perfect size for authenticity-loving collectors. And better yet, it’s still powered by the original Calibre 690.
An Homage to a “Freer Time”
Watches from the 1960s and 1970s have dominated the collecting conversation for so long that it’s only a matter of time before collectors and brands start to mine the 1980s and 1990s for inspiration, and Oris is happy to lead the way. “There’s something about the Full Steel that captures the experimental spirit of 1990s designs,” says Studer, likening the Full Steel’s bold design to that of the Lamborghini Diablo. “The 1990s was a much freer time than today.” ($5,400)