Up Close and Personal with Oris’s Michael Meier

Michael Meier, the regional manager of Oris, gives BAZAAR a glimpse into the future of haute horlogerie and reveals personal...

Michael Meier

Walk us through your role with Oris.

Simply said, my role is to share my passion for our brand and mechanical watches with all our partners and customers in the Asia-Pacific region. I am also making sure I am as close as possible to the markets to know what is happening and to understand new trends and what our customers are looking for.

Prior to working with Oris, you were managing other portfolios such as those of coffee and Swiss chocolate companies. How has working in these very different fields inspired you to progress further with Oris?

Switzerland is famous for both chocolate and watches, and I do actually like both of them very much! There are also similarities in that it is about so much more than just the product alone. There is a rich history behind both these products and this heritage inspires what we are doing every day. And also, whether you are working with chocolate or watches, quality is a key element.

What is the highlight of the Oris timepieces released in 2017?

Our new Aquis family certainly stands out this year. We have launched a redesign on these models, trying to improve them while keeping their identity. In that process, we were driven by functionality to make these watches even better. As an example, we have slightly increased the gap between the case and the bezel, to improve grip—a very small detail that you probably won’t notice at first sight, but it matters to us as we constantly strive to improve our products.

Which Oris creation is your personal must-have?

I have to mention the Royal Flying Doctor Service Limited Edition II here. We are honored to be able to work with such a noble organisation like the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. They are doing a remarkable job providing medical care to the furthest corners of Australia. This is actually the second limited edition we have launched together. It again is a true pilot’s watch from our Big Crown collection. It features a pulsometer, as well as a beautiful case back with the logo of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. And for me, having lived in Australia for a while, I personally have a close connection to this organisation.

Artelier Complication and Artelier Grande Lune, from the classic Artelier Collection, Oris

How would your ideal timepiece be like?

The ProPilot Calibre 111 brings it all together for me. The amazing craftsmanship in our in-house manufactured movement with full 10 days of power reserve, the iconic ProPilot case and dial, and the classic aviation watch look that ties into Oris’s long heritage of producing watches for pilots. All in all, a highly functional watch that stands out but I can wear every day.

What makes a watch a timeless classic?

Over time, the design of watches follows certain trends. They might be getting bigger or smaller, but a timeless classic keeps its character over the years, so you can unmistakably recognise it at first sight. We have some very classic families in our range, such as the Big Crown I have mentioned earlier. The design tracks back to the original Big Crown from 1938,and while there have been updates over all these years, you can still see the key characteristics of the family, the large crown, the clean numbers and the dial … just to name a few details.

What are some of the key trends Oris would always look at when creating a timepiece?

People are looking for value, and this works really well for us. We have always been very committed to offer very good value for money and this works really well for us. We also see that consumers like products that are inspired by heritage. We have been starting to produce mechanical watches in 1904 and over the years, a few very iconic products have been designed and built. It is great that we now can bring some highlights back, like the Divers Sixty-Five, which pays homage to our diving collection from 1965, or this year, the Big Crown 1917, a re-edition of our earliest aviation watch, originally produced 100 years ago. We launched it at Baselworld earlier this year, and people love it

What are the top three things that you’ve been focusing on since assuming this new role, especially with regards to the South Asian region?

It is always great to see how well the brand is received in the region, and there still is a lot more potential. We get a lot of consumers who love to engage with our brand, and we certainly welcome it. To be close to our customers is a key focus for us and social media has opened some great new channels. Also, we want to further develop the experience at the point of sale, together with our retail partners. We are also constantly working on new ideas to ensure we have a highly relevant collection of watches that the people in this region appreciate and love.

For watch enthusiasts, what is the one piece of investment advice that you would give?

Most importantly, go for a mechanical watch. And don’t just buy for the safe; get something that you love to wear every day.

What’s in the future for Oris?

We will keep doing what we do best—designing mechanical watches that are highly functional, reliable, and offer very good value for money. We are working on some really exciting products right now, but whatever we do, it’ll root back to our heritage of more than 110 years of watchmaking in Hölstein, Switzerland.

Scroll through for more on Oris’ Artelier Collection:

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Oris Artelier Grande Lune

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