Here we have yet another partnership, this time between the Swiss luxury manufacturer Oris and the French police force’s special intervention unit GIGN (Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale). To honor this partnership, Oris manufactured a limited edition model of its famous Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter, dubbed the Oris GIGN Edition Limitée or Oris GIGN Limited Edition.
The innovative GIGN Limited Edition boasts a several aesthetic points of difference when compared with the original Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter Watch that brings the association with the elite French police unit to life.
The elite law enforcement and special operations unit of the French National Gendarmerie or GIGN was formed back in 1974. It is licensed to intervene on French soil or abroad, and its missions include counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, surveillance of national threats, targeting of organized crime, as well as protection of government officials. The elite unit has 380 members, which are highly trained paratroopers. They are trained to perform high-risk missions, and each year they execute between 6,000 and 7,000 parachute jumps. When jumping, GIGN’s operatives are tooled with high-tech computerized devices that offer them an important data (for instance, distance to the ground, information they need to know before deploying a parachute). Although this equipment is highly reliable, there is still a chance of failure. That is why paratroopers need a back-up device.
For this reason, the GIGN unit turned to Oris’s Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter, the world’s first watch with an automatic mechanical movement and a built-in mechanical altimeter. They have acquired this watch and put it through a numerous demanding tests. Considering the fact that the two have partnered, it is needless to say that the watch passed these tests.
Oris GIGN Limited Edition (ref. 01 733 7705 4184 TS) is powered with the in-house manufactured caliber 733, based on SW 200-1 (a Sellita movement virtually identical to the self-winding ETA 2824-1) with a date window at the 3 o’clock position. The automatic mechanical mechanism features integrated Swiss mechanical barometric altimeter and barometer movement, displaying air pressure on the inner scale and altitude in meters on the outer scale.
These functions are controlled via the big crown at the 4 o’clock position. When the crown is screwed down, the altimeter doesn’t work, and the timepiece stays water-resistant up to 100 meters (330 feet). Conversely, when unscrewed and pulled out, the altimeter can be adjusted to show the wearer’s altitude via the yellow indicator. Push the crown back in and the indicator displays whether the owner of the watch is moving up or, in the paratroopers’ case, down.
The new GIGN Limited Edition Watch is housed in a multi-piece stainless steel case measuring 47mm in diameter. The robust case is domed with anti-reflective sapphire crystals on both sides. The black dial comprises printed Superluminova Arabic numerals, as well as hour and minute hands filled with Superluminova. The tip of the central seconds hand is finished with the colors of the Tricolore, France’s national flag (blue, white and red). There is also a lightweight altimeter hand made from laminated carbon fiber. The GIGN insignia is set on both sides of the watch – on the dial and on the case back.
From the rear, besides GIGN’s logo, there is also the watch’s limited edition number. Oris will offer only 500 pieces for civilian use. Also, the Swiss manufacturer will make a second version with a different logo on the dial that will be intended exclusively for the GIGN paratroopers themselves.
Oris GIGN Limited Edition Watch is mounted on an olive fabric strap, fitted with a stainless steel folding clasp and delivered in a special waterproof case with a built-in pressure release valve. The retail price is CHF 3,900 which is approximately $4,060. The watch will be available from September 2016.
So far, Oris has teamed up with a number of the world’s elite military outfits, such as the US Navy Seals and the Italian Army’s Col Moschin Special Forces unit. The partnership with the French elite unite is the latest mark of approval for the Swiss watchmaking company.