Before you can fully appreciate the watches from this brand, you must understand the premise: you’re getting a pure form of watchmaking, a fresh from the machine look that’s very industrial and sans finishing. As Beat Weinmann, one of the partners along with Embassy, says, they don’t want to hide behind the finishing. (You can read an interview with Beat here.)
Like architects van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, who constructed in raw forms, ochs und junior want to keep the technique visible. They pride themselves on complete transparency in the process. You can find out the exact process down to who draws their cartoons on the website. If you’re looking for beveled edges and classic finishing, then you need to go somewhere else like Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin.
Notice something else different on the dial. There’s no sign of the company name. ochs und junior shies away from branding. Underneath the band, however, there’s a small brand, actually done by heating up an iron. For ochs und junior it’s not about touting a company but presenting a cool watch that stands on its own.
Another characteristic of the watches is the lack of any numbering (with the exception of the due ore) or lettering on the dial. In the ochs und junior universe analogue is more intuitive than digital. If you add up these elements, you actually get a distinct and recognizable brand without naming one. I love the irony involved here.
Usually watch brands proudly announce how many pieces it took to create the watch, the more the better and the more excited we’re supposed to get. Oeschlin debunks the theory with this line of watches. Recently ochs und junior released the selene tinta, a watch that boasts (and rightly so) the most accurate moon phase on the planet, guaranteed to 3478.27 years—and it’s done with only 5 parts! Let’s think about this; you can pass the watch down through 43 generations.
Still, I am drawn to the due ore, a dual time zone watch and this is the one I took for a test drive. I chose the brown face with the orange accents because it’s perfect for the fall season and also wears well the rest of the year. You’ll read more below about color choices.
The watch came in an unassuming box with peanuts and the watch secured to a piece of cardboard and bubble wrapped. You would expect a modest presentation in line with the company’s philosophy, which also has a mind toward leaving less of a footprint on the earth.
I untied the watch from its backing and followed the directions on the cardboard to set it. One click moves the date wheel, two sets the time. But what is this date wheel? Since it’s ochs und junior, you can be assured there will be a complication so simple and useful it brings a smile to your lips. You wonder why someone else didn’t think of it.
Watches that track two different locations on the map are quite plentiful, no doubt. What makes this one so special? Oeschlin came up with a unique way to track a second location without resorting to another hour hand or dedicated dial. I’ve never seen this done before. The second time zone is read off that wheel, which lines up with the baton numerals. You glance at the hour hand and the wheel number that’s lined up is your second time. Simple, no? And from a design standpoint, the baton indexes of the main dial contrast nicely with the Arabic numerals.
I found the dial very easy to read for both the current time and the home time. Sometimes, it was a bit difficult to see the second time zone ring when the minute hand crossed it and I had to work a bitter harder to discern the number, but a workaround is to just consult the number next to it on the wheel and work back or forward.
In the Tinta series, of which the due ore is a member, ochs und junior offer personalization of the watch. Choose from any Pantone color to come up with your desired combination. You get all spectrum of the rainbow and more. The Pantone fan offers 1,114 color options. Pick the dial from the Pantone array and then choose hands and lume-coated indices in orange, red, light blue, light green, camel brown, black, grey, lilac, yellow or white.
The case on my model, in a very wearable 42mm even on my petite wrist, comes in an untreated titanium, left in its natural state to take on its own character as it patinates over time. The strap is hand-stitched and tanned cowhide. As a touch of luxe, the due ore’s dial and time ring are made from heat-patinated white gold
You’re probably wondering what sets the watch ticking. 0chs und junior watches rely upon the workhorse 2824 movement with Oeschlin’s modules added on top. The Anno Cinquanta, which is in an altogether different price range, features a Paul Gerber movement with Oeschlin’s annual calendar addition.
The due ore offers a very practical complication presented in a unique and intuitive way. In addition to the watch, you get a cool cartoon showing the folks responsible for building your watch along with a leather pouch. No one uses those fancy expensive boxes the industry loves so much, anyway.
For something of the beaten track, yet also a connoisseur’s watch for those in the know, the due ore fits the bill. The only drawback is the price. They seem a little a bit steep for a watch that advertises pared down construction and aesthetics. See specs below.
due ore idea: Functions
- Two time zones
- Silver case; diameter 39 mm, height 10.5mm
- Dial and time ring fashioned from heat-patinated white gold
- Hands coated with orange luminous material
- Self-winding ETA 2824 movement
- Eco-tanned leather strap
- Silver buckle
- Leather wallet, cartoon strip