Hölstein, Switzerland – Oris has created numerous specialist watches in its long history, but few have been designed with such a specific purpose as the independent company’s latest pilot’s watch. The Oris Paradropper LT Staffel 7 Limited Edition has been created for pilots of the Swiss Air Force’s Lufttransport Staffel 7, which transports paratroopers to a drop zone. The watch marks only the second time the Swiss Air Force has worked with a Swiss watch company.
The stories of Oris and aviation are closely linked. Oris was founded in 1904 at the dawn of aviation and made its first pilot’s pocket watch in the early 1910s. That was followed by the company’s first pilot’s wristwatch in 1917, a watch that featured an ingenious mechanism that meant the watch could only be adjusted when a button was pressed at 2 o’clock. The same spirit of invention inspired the Oris Big Crown which debuted in 1938. Its oversized crown meant gloved airmen could adjust their watches quickly and easily. Today, Oris’s pilot’s watch collection is full of innovative watches that are trusted by pilots all over the world.
The Paradropper LT Staffel 7 Limited Edition is the latest chapter in Oris’s pilot’s watch story. It is designed for pilots of the Swiss Air Force’s Lufttransport Staffel 7 whose task is to transport paratroopers to a designated drop zone in the Pilatus PC-6 aircraft. The timings of these missions are critical. Pilots have 20 minutes from take-off to the moment when the paratroopers jump, and have to synchronise with other planes on the same missions. So they make detailed plans in which every second is critical.
Timing jumps isn’t the only challenge the Lufttransport Staffel 7’s pilots face. In remote territories where there are no recognised landing areas the pilots need to find makeshift airfields of at least 250 metres in length to land and take off safely.
The Oris Paradropper LT Staffel 7 Limited Edition meets these two challenges.
Timing for paradropping missions
At take-off the pilot adjusts the bi-directional rotating black ceramic bezel so that the ‘Y’ position on its timer scale is aligned with the minute hand. The pilot now has 20 minutes to reach the drop area
When the minute hand aligns with the yellow marker at 17 minutes the pilot informs the paratroopers to prepare to jump
A red marker at 19 minutes indicates to the pilot that he can give clearance to open the aircraft door
At 20 minutes a parachute icon indicates that it is time for the paratroopers to jump
Measuring landing areas
The watch has a chronograph function with a green central seconds hand. As a pilot approaches a potential landing area, he starts the chronograph
The pilot flies over the airfield at exactly 100 knots, once in both directions
If the time it takes to cover the airfield at that speed is measured at 10 seconds or more, the pilot knows the airfield is at least 250 metres long and that it is therefore safe to land
The 10-second mark is indicated by a green marker and the markings 100 KIAS (Knots – Indicated Air Speed)
The Paradropper LT Staffel 7 Limited Edition has a number of other useful features. Its lightweight titanium case has a stealthy, hard-wearing matt black DLC (diamond-like carbon) finish that offsets cockpit glare; its high-contrast black dial has large Arabic numerals printed in Super-LumiNova® and hands also filled with Super-LumiNova® for maximum legibility; and its rugged olive textile strap is equipped with Oris’s patented clasp, inspired by passenger airline safety buckles.
The Oris Paradropper LT Staffel 7 Limited Edition will be worn by Lufttransport Staffel 7 pilots and is limited to 250 pieces. In keeping with Oris’s values, it is a practical, high-functioning watch made according to the principles of ‘form follows function’. In short, it is a watch that makes sense.