Oris supplies France’s elite parachuting super cops


Oris has created a watch for the French police force’s special ops unit in the event that the computerised systems they use when parachuting to the ground fail.  

The GIGN employs 380 highly-trained paratroopers, equipped to perform high-risk operations, including counter terrorism, hostage rescue and the targeting of organised crime. Together they execute between 6,000 and 7,000 parachute jumps a year.

When jumping, GIGN’s operatives are equipped with high-tech computerised equipment that provides them with critical data, such as distance to the ground and other information they need to know before deploying a parachute.


While these devices are hugely reliable, there is still a chance they will fail. In the event of such a failure, paratroopers need a back-up device, leading the organisation to call on Swiss watch maker Oris.

It acquired a Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter, the world’s first watch with an automatic mechanical movement and a built-in mechanical altimeter, and put it through a series of demanding tests, which it passed with flying colours.

Oris has now produced a limited edition version of the innovative Big Crown ProPilotAltimeter, which will be known as the Oris GIGN Edition Limitée.

The Oris GIGN Edition Limitée is based on the Big CrownProPilot Altimeter, but with a few aesthetic points of difference that bring the relationship with the elite French unit to life.

The GIGN insignia sits on the dial and case back, and the tip of thecentral seconds hand is finished with the colours of the Tricolore, France’s

Colonel Hubert Bonneau, the commander of GIGN, said: “I am very impressed that Oris was able to produce a watch with a mechanical altimeter function. We at GIGN appreciate that Oris made this special limited edition in honour of our unit with our logo on the dial and on the case back.”

Only 500 pieces will be made for civilian use. Oris will also make a second limited edition model with a different GIGN insignia on the dial that will be made available exclusively to GIGN paratroopers.

Oris has previously worked with a number of the world’s elite military outfits, including the US Navy Seals and the Italian Army’s Col Moschin Special Forces unit.

The Oris GIGN Edition Limitée will be available from September, priced CHF3,900 (£3,000).

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