Watchmaking is often thought of as a very serious business, and it is but at the same time it can take itself too seriously. We have a lot of terrific brands here at Laura Z Tai and take pride in helping collectors in Lancaster, Pa and the surrounding area find some great pieces. BUT my favorite brands that we have are the independents that we offer because in so many ways they challenge the culture of watchmaking and collecting as a whole. Frank Muller, the “Master of Complications”, creates watches that at times bend the concept of reality while also being stunningly beautiful. Bremont over engineers watches that leave people saying, ‘I didn’t know that was possible’, all in an effort to show English watchmaking as a powerhouse of the industry. Oris’s goal is simple but so multifaceted. They want to make a watch that makes you smile and feel like yourself. I am pleased to introduce the ProPilot X Kermit Edition
“I was on a ship headed for Zanzibar. I got cold feet”
When I was a kid the video we rented the most from Blockbuster was “Muppets Treasure Island'' and a guaranteed Christmas movie was the “Muppets Christmas Carol”. I loved the Muppets and I still do - I’m lucky enough to have kids that love these movies even though they are surrounded by new and more “exciting” options. When I learned about this watch I was a little surprised and then disappointed in a way that Oris went with Kermit. Not that Kermit isn’t great, but I loved Animal and Pepe the King Prawn (simply typing that makes me chuckle). Yet this is what makes Kermit a perfect choice because thinking of Kermit makes us think of all of our favorites. Maybe you love Sam the Eagle or Waldorf and Statler - Kermit is their spokesman and now he can be yours as well. Kermit is a face for everyone as decades have passed and his mannerisms and voice are synonymous with many memories for many people.
“Be true to you, and have fun doing it”
The best feeling in the world is the feeling of confidence, that feeling of this is who I am and I’m happy with that. Oris has always been about making watches that help feel like themselves that’s why you don’t see any paid endorsements or influencer marketing. The only celebrity endorsement Oris wants is when you look in the mirror and love the way the watch you choose looks on you. In many ways, Kermit is the first celebrity who had worn Oris for media purposes which I think is terrific. I do want to say there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing a watch because Brad Pitt wears it or you throw your Omega on because you want to feel like James Bond for a night. Oris just does things a little bit differently. When you put on your Aquis or Big Crown they are extensions of you. Oris has a terrific way of connecting with our past and our future, as I write this I’m wearing my Big Crown and it makes me think of a lot of things. First, I did pick it because of the colors, bronze with a green dial is a combination that is hard to say no to. The coin edge dial makes me think of my grandad who had a deep affinity for watches and that’s one of the small things he passed on to me. I also think of my son and giving this watch to him, and the inevitable ladder of time and hands this watch will travel through. There will be pictures of me with this watch, in the same way, there are pictures of my grandad wearing the watches he left to me. Oris wants to be a watch that can be worn hard every day, and with the patina of the Bronze and with each scratch on the case the story of this watch grows. Some day my son, Archer, will contribute to that story. I think graduation will be when the transfer will occur.
“It’s not easy being Green”
I’ve written about Oris before and overall their history is very well known and overall this partnership really encapsulates the spirit of Oris for two reasons. The first is that it’s whimsical and fun, especially in a world of serious watches. This piece really walks the line between sophisticated and playful which very few watch brands have been able to do. The second reason this partnership makes sense is because of what is probably Kermit’s best-known catchphrase, “it’s not easy being green”. I’m sure being a frog in a world of people is challenging, but I know for sure being a luxury brand that aims for sustainability and carbon neutrality is just as hard. For that reason the catchphrase applies to both Kermit and Oris, it is not easy to be a green-focused business in this world. Especially when there are so many luxury industries that use sustainability as a marketing ploy. If any other brand other than Oris tried this I would honestly scoff, but because of their history and the DNA of the brand, I believe it. The co-CEO of Oris has famously said “first comes the change, then comes the watch”. That being said it’s easy to see this watch and the partnership as a marketing ploy, but to me, it’s a celebration of Oris and what they have done and an inspiration to them and the watch industry to be better and keep being better.
“Can a frog be a Pilot?”
I have waxed and waned on nostalgia and heritage but the Pro Pilot X Kermit Edition is still a watch so I want to talk about the watch itself. The Pro Pilot is the perfect model for this collaboration in my opinion because of one key thing, they have already made it with a pink dial. With that in mind a Kermit green dial isn’t a stretch for me when it comes to dial color. Also on the topic of the dial, when I first heard about this watch I was worried. When I was told a Kermit watch I immediately imagined Kermit at the center of the dial with his arms as the hands, The Kermit face at the date matched with color is a perfect blend of practical and jovial. Also at the end of the day, I believe that Oris wants people to be able to recognize that this is still a Swiss-made watch with an in-house movement, and sometimes an overly cartoon design can take away from that. I know logically an Aquis or another dive style would have made the most sense but dive watches aren't for everyone and Oris wanted this to be a watch for everyone. I have always appreciated the feel of a Pro Pilot on the wrist compared to (at least for my small wrists) a bulkier dive watch. If you aren’t familiar with the Pro Pilot this is a Titanium watch from top to bottom making it very light and easy to wear. The movement of the watch is the Calibre 400 which is one of Oris’s most recent in-house movements. When manufacturing their in-house movements Oris pays considerable attention to magnetism ensuring the most accurate timekeeping for the price point. As with all Oris in-house movements, the watch comes with a 120-hour power reserve along with a 10-year warranty.
I’ve been in the industry for a while, and it's easy to get jaded over new releases or to see them as gimmicks. When you think about Kermit and when you think about Oris it actually makes very good sense. These are two extremely different things on the outside but on the inside, they offer people the exact same thing, smiles. Kermit wants us to smile each time we hear Miss Piggy go “HAAAYAAA” and every time we hear the word boom boom sticks. Oris wants the same thing for us, when you pick up that watch to put it on they want you to smile. I smile when I think about Archer opening up a box with this watch in it, probably the same way my grandad thought about me wearing his watches when he was gone. Watches aren't for tracking the passing of time, watches exist to remind us of time. The time that’s passed, the times that are coming and to help us to remember to make the time count.