Bronze: the precious metal for placing third, a heavy reminder that you're good, but just not good enough to out-vault the big-armed gymnast who is apparently above the laws of gravity. But it's not quite the peloton straggler in watch terms. On the contrary, bronze has been something of an enduring material, able to develop its own unique patina over time and a step beyond the usual (and false) binary choice of steel and gold. And now, the endorsers are legion as sporty-but-fancy marque Oris releases its very first watch with a solid bronze bracelet.
The Hölstein Limited Edition 2020 is a modern take on the manufacture's classic diver, a robust, mechanical model that's arguably Oris's signature. What's more, the piece pays tribute to its past, with the Hölstein cutting the ribbon on a new series of limited editions that honour the Waldenburg Valley: a largely German-speaking area of northern Switzerland in which Oris was founded way back in 1904. The specific village was named – wait for it – Hölstein! Yes, that Hölstein!
Inside, it's worth the hype too. Following the Quartz Crisis of the Seventies, Oris doubled-down on its strengths to only produce mechanical watches from thence forward. So that means well-crafted movements, and in the Hölstein's case, that means a self-winding chronograph to power multiple features on the dial.
All of which sounds very great. And as a piece limited to just 250 models worldwide, the Hölstein won't hang around for long either. Not bad for a bronze medal.
Available online at oris.ch, priced £3,750
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