Forget the Rolex ‘Kermit’: Oris’ collaboration with the world’s most famous fictional frog has been the big unexpected hit of Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023.
Oris is a wildly underrated watch brand. An independent firm out of Hölstein in the German-speaking north-west of Switzerland, Oris has a particular reputation for making exceptionally refined and forward-thinking watches at a highly reasonable price point… And for doing things in their own, slightly quirky way.
Their latest big-ticket release, the Oris ProPilot X Kermit Edition, typifies this. As you may have guessed, it’s a collaborative take on the brand’s tech-y ProPilot X that features a stunning green dial as well as a unique date wheel which swaps out the 1st of every month with a cheeky little Kermit the Frog emoji.
Some of you reading this might think that’s a bit of a gimmick – or that it’s barely a collaboration – but actually, we think this Oris Kermit watch is quietly brilliant.
Oris creative director Ken Laurent puts it this way: “What is a mechanical watch for? We talk a lot about functions in a literal sense, but really, the purpose of an Oris watch is to make people smile. That’s it. And with the ProPilot X Kermit Edition, there’s nothing else to it. Ok, yes, it’s powered by a brilliant movement and the case design is spectacular, but the function of this watch is really simple: to bring joy.”
That’s what’s so genius about this watch. If it wasn’t the first of the month or if you didn’t know anything about the watch, you’d just assume that it was just a normal (albiet brightly-coloured) watch. But then, in an understated way, when the first of the month rolls around, Kermit pokes his little head out.
It’s playful and eye-catching whilst also being subtle and serious. Like a Swiss businessman in a double-breasted suit wearing funky socks.
We could have put a big Kermit the Frog emoji on the dial,” Laurent explains. “Some might have done that because they want their most important collaborations to be in-your-face, to scream. But we didn’t want that. We wanted something more humble that would respect the product.”
Speaking of the watch’s colour: it’s such a watch journalist thing to say but pictures don’t do the watch justice; you have to see it in the flesh. The highly iridescent and subtly matte dial catches the light in a spectacular fashion, appearing almost champagne-coloured at some angles and deeply verdant at others. It’s disarmingly special.
The ProPilot X is also a cracking watch. Boasting a 39mm multi-piece titanium case with a sporty knurled bezel, slick bracelet and plane seatbelt-inspired ‘LIFT’ folding clasp, it’s powered by the Oris in-house automatic calibre 400, which is highly anti-magnetic, features an 120-hour (5 day) power reserve and 100m of water resistance.
The big question is, why Kermit? We’d say why not. Kermit, as well as the rest of The Muppets, operate in a particularly unique part of pop culture. They’re effectively celebrities in their own right – call it mass psychosis, but we all kind of treat them like normal, human celebrities.
Kermit, their ringleader, is particularly special, too. He’s kind of an everyman (or “everyfrog” as Laurent puts it – “he’s down to earth. I mean, he comes from a swamp…”). He’s a whimsical, slightly put upon yet nonchalant character who’s both comic and relatable in equal measure. He doesn’t take life too seriously and neither does this Oris.
The watch industry is often quite a serious one: all big price tags, jargon and dick measuring. But at the end of the day, watches should be a bit playful. A mechanical watch, even a capable one like this Oris, is not a tool. It’s an accessory; a fashion statement. A watch should be a reflection of the wearer’s personality – or, at least, a reflection of who the wearer would like to be.
And wouldn’t we all like to be Kermit? All I know is I desperately want one of these watches…