With all the pageantry and polish that the watch industry uses in presenting itself to the world, it can be easy to think of watch brands in monolithic terms. Even seasoned enthusiasts can sometimes forget about the network of real human beings behind a brand’s façade, and the little things it takes to deliver a timepiece to the marketplace. For Oris, one of the most important of these “little things” through the brand’s 118-year history has been a small local railway covering just 13 kilometers in northwestern Switzerland. Running through the Waldenburg valley and past Oris headquarters in Hölstein, the Waldenburgerbahn railroad has faithfully connected the brand’s secluded corner of Switzerland with the outside world since Oris’s founding in 1904. For its latest release, Oris pays tribute to this small but vital railway with a handsomely subdued take on one of its cornerstone models. The new Oris Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition combines a classic Oris look with unique railway-inspired touches, delivering one of the brand’s most versatile and wearable limited editions of the year.
At 40mm-wide, the stainless steel case of the Oris Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition shares its proportions and general case design with the standard production Big Crown Pointer Date line. This is a remarkably classical take on the familiar sports watch form in images, with athletic tapering brushed lugs and the titular oversized pillbox crown softened by a slim, brightly polished coin edge bezel. Oris sets this model apart from its standard production counterparts with its solid caseback. While the brand has a history of ornate caseback engravings, this is one of the most dramatic to date in initial images, with a detailed depiction of the classic original Waldenburgerbahn steam engine making its way down the railroad. Like the standard Big Crown Pointer Date, the Oris Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition provides a middling 50 meters of water resistance.
Oris’s approach to the dial of the Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition is classical and straightforward in images, with a railroad-style focus on sharp contrast and legibility. The overall layout is shared with the standard Big Crown Pointer Date, with rounded vintage-style printed Arabic numerals paired to a set of elegant cathedral hands. The Big Crown Pointer Date’s signature railroad minutes track, outer date ring, and twin-pronged central pointer date hand are all present and accounted for here, with a date hand tipped in deep red. Although the overall look may be familiar to fans of the brand, Oris makes a nod towards the railroad focus of this design with the stark matte black and white colorway in images, abandoning more nuanced color palettes in favor of the legibility demanded by traditional railway timepieces. Overall, it’s a classic, balanced, and reserved presentation and enthusiasts that traditionally haven’t been moved by the Big Crown Pointer Date’s more colorful iterations may find something to appreciate in the simplicity of the Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition.
Oris opts for the Sellita SW200-based Oris 754 automatic movement to power the Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition. The Oris 754 has been a staple in the brand’s lineup for years, and although it remains a reliable option its performance is beginning to show its age when compared to the newer in-house powerplants in the brand’s lineup, particularly through its below-average 38-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Oris continues the Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition’s restrained presentation through its strap pairing. Like many recent Oris releases, the brand offers a supple, stitchless deer leather strap from Cervo Volante here, presented in deep classical mahogany brown.
With a simple, classical look and nods to the railroad that helped to connect the brand with the rest of the world, the new Oris Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition is a handsome, versatile love letter to the connections that worked to define the brand behind the scenes. Only 1,000 examples of the Oris Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition will be made, and the watch is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the Oris Waldenburgerbahn Limited Edition stands at $2,300 USD as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.