Today on review we have another distinguished Oris wristwatch at an equally brilliant price from our ore-owned site: https://www.thewatchsource.co.uk/preowned/ ! In 1938 Oris first released the Oris Big Crown. Yet the designs we see Oris release today are un-recognisable from the original. So how and why has the design changed and what are the Big Crown pilot watches like today.
As mentioned in our previous Oris review, it was in 1838 that Oris first released the Oris Big Crown. Built for pilots and fitted with an oversized crown for pilots wearing thick gloves in the open cockpit aircraft of the period could wind their watches that, at the time, were exclusively manual wind. However, the requirements of pilots have changed as the aviation industry itself has advanced immeasurably, reflected in the complete transformation in design from the now 81-year-old original! We won’t get into the history of Oris today as we went through it in great detail in our previous Oris review of the Aquis date (read about Oris’ over 110 years of history here: https://blog.thewatchsource.co.uk/2019/08/05/oris-aquis-date-01-733-7730-4157-07-5-24-10eb-hands-on-review-unboxing/ )
CASE & BEZEL:
The case of this Oris ProPilot Big Date is smaller than their other pilot watches, at only 41mm compared to the 47mm of other models such as the Oris Altimeter also in stock at The Watch Source making it more comfortable and casual to wear. The case itself is constructed from multiple pieces of grey plated stainless steel. This is where the functionality of the ProPilot Big Date begins. The dull finish of the case makes the watch impervious to glare from sunlight like uncoated steel that could distract pilots flying in bright sunlight. The monobloc mid-case is topped with a bezel of a separate section of metal, the coin edge pattern of the bezel inspired by the turbine blades of a jet engine. Due to the multi-piece construction of the case the lugs where they meet the case as the lugs slightly overlap the base of the bezel. The lugs themselves are thick and sturdy, with subtle polished ends. The coin edge turbine blade inspired pattern is used again surrounding the case back and can be seen again as the knurling of the crown reaches onto the crown face. The screw-down crown is extremely grippy, with the deep knurling offering more than adequate traction for full use of the bezel in all circumstances. This piece features a domed sapphire crystal and interior anti-reflective coating, as well as an exhibition case back to observe the movement and signature Oris red rotor.
DIAL & HANDS:
Again, beneath the crystal, functionality governs design. In pilot’s watches, tradition has dictated that for maximum readability the hands and numerals should contrast the rest of the dial. With white and black being the most contrasting combination. This can be seen in the dial of the Oris ProPilot Big Date with the hands, numerals and minute track all contrasting the black dial for maximum legibility in the day. At night, the numerals and hands are filled with Superluminova BGW9 for full nighttime readability. As is in the name, The ProPilot Big Date features a wide date aperture at the 3 O’clock position on the dial.
The Oris ProPilot Big date features a modified Sellita SW220-1 rebranded as the Oris 751 movement. This movement offers central hours, minutes and seconds, enlarged date window, instantaneous date change as well as a hacking seconds. A feature crucial for pilot especially military for synchronising their watches for accurate timing. The movement features 26 jewels and has a vibration rate of 28,800V.P.H for a smooth sweep of the red-tipped seconds hand. Kept wound for all 38 hours of power reserve by a Bi-directional winding rotor, branded with Oris’s trademark red, all fully visible through the exhibition case back.
The strap fitted to this Oris model is made from military-style canvas and is extremely strong and durable. With a black stainless steel deployant clasp that somewhat resembles an aircraft seatbelt in its release mechanism.
This Oris comes in a similar box to the Oris Aquis we reviewed a few weeks back, with a few small differences. The watch comes orientated sideways in the box and when opened, the box lays flat. This is a useful feature as it creates, in effect a watch cushion within the box. useful for storing spare straps or other related accessories that are always easy to misplace. As with the Aquis, the outer and inner boxes are marked with “THIS ORIS BOX IS MARKED WITH ENVIRONMENTALLY MATERIALS” which is always a nice touch in this day and age.
Oris describes the Big Crown ProPilot range as offering: “function-based design at its most successful.” And this clear, both aesthetically and to feel on the wrist. The light & thin design, at only 11mm tall and weighing only 100g on the wrist make it versatile and easy to wear, especially at only 41mm across. As well as visibly, both in the day and at night the watch exhibits flawless function, offering supreme readability all hours of the day.
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