The 1990s were, to put it simply, an idiosyncratic time for luxury watch design. This was an era of experimentation and growth as traditional brands emerged from the quartz-affected ‘70s and ‘80s to a new generation of mechanical timepieces. While the decade had its share of instant classics, there is also a treasure trove of less well-known designs that only now are beginning to capture enthusiast attention. As its annual Hölstein Edition release for 2022, Oris delves into this underappreciated era of watchmaking with a faithful revival of one of its most unique ‘90s designs. The new limited-production Oris Hölstein Edition 2022 delivers a spot-on recreation of the 1998 Oris Full Steel, complete with period-correct styling and a unique twist on the world time complication that remains innovative nearly 25 years after its debut.
At 36.5mm-wide, the Oris Hölstein Edition 2022’s stainless steel case is on the smaller side of modern sizing, but matches perfectly with the dimensions of its ‘90s forebear. The shape is a pure ‘90s throwback as well, with a blend of familiar cues and eye-catchingly offbeat touches. The stylistic DNA of what would become the semi-integrated Aquis is clearly visible in the hooded lugs, which take on a dramatically curving faux-bracelet mix of brushed and raised polished surfaces in images. Likewise, the tightly packaged polished case sides and notched crown guards should feel familiar to longtime Oris fans, but the exaggerated semi-conical crown and smooth polished bezel are elements that stylistic evolution left behind. Naturally, the Hölstein Edition 2022’s most striking case features in images are its twin pushers. Although the broad polished oval forms themselves are far from unusual, the pushers’ positioning at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock give the case a uniquely bottom-heavy appearance that sets it apart from its competitors. Around back, Oris fits this case with a detailed engraved caseback depicting the brand’s Oris Bear mascot piloting an open-cockpit airplane. Given the sporty, solid design of the watch, the Hölstein Edition 2022’s meager 50-meter water resistance rating comes across as something of a disappointment, however.
Like the case, the dial of the Oris Hölstein Edition 2022 faithfully recreates the charmingly offbeat styling of the original 1998 Oris Full Steel. The brand plays liberally with texture throughout this dial layout in images, from the smooth matte midnight blue of the main dial surface, to the striking “wide wale” azurage of the recessed hours ring, and the brighter, tighter blue azurage of both subdials. The layout itself also adds a sense of period-correct personality, with elongated, blocky lumed applied Arabic numerals and a full second time zone display with an integrated day/night indicator for the 3 o’clock subdial. The small applied red triangles at 4:30 and 7:30 give away the Hölstein Edition 2022’s most unique feature, however. By using the corresponding pushers, the wearer can adjust the main central hours hand forward or back in one-hour increments. This offers an innovative twist on the classic “traveler” GMT design, and should allow for a satisfyingly tactile experience on the wrist. It’s a boldly asymmetrical, graphic layout as a whole, and while it may prove divisive among enthusiasts it still feels distinctive and inventive in photos decades after its initial introduction.
Oris powers the Hölstein Edition 2022 with the same movement as the 1998 Full Steel – the ETA 2836-based Oris 690 automatic world time movement. The Oris 690 is a landmark in the brand’s history, standing as its most complex mechanical movement from its introduction in 1997 to the release of the Oris Calibre 110 in 2014. With that said, there are elements of this powerplant that are distinctly ‘90s in execution, particularly its below-average 38 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Oris completes the Hölstein Edition with a three-link oyster-style bracelet in stainless steel, featuring broad mirror polished center links in images.
With uniquely charismatic ‘90s styling and a charmingly tactile take on time zone swapping, the new limited-run Oris Hölstein Edition 2022 shines an intriguing spotlight on an era of watchmaking that is only now beginning to garner enthusiast fanfare. Only 250 examples of the Oris Hölstein Edition 2022 will be made, and the watch is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the Oris Hölstein Edition 2022 stands at $4,300 as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.