Oris’ reputation in terms of pilot watches is not to be debated anymore. Their Big Crown Pro Pilot collection is composed of reliable, well conceived and efficient watches for pilots. Still, most of them are modern iterations. But for Baselworld 2017, the brand will look back at its past, by reviving its first pilot’s wristwatch with a special limited edition piece made in homage to the original. Introducing the Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition.
The first Oris pilot’s wristwatch, made around 1917 – a transformed pocket watch with a big crown and wire loop lugs soldered to its case
This new Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition is not only the result of an homage but comes from internal researches about the past of the brand. Until recently, Oris believed that its first pilot’s watch was the Big Crown of 1938, a watch named after its oversized crown, which still informs the company’s aviation-inspired watches today. But a recent discovery made it clear history had a different story to tell. In fact, after researches, Oris discovered that they actually created their first pocket watches for pilots in the first decade of the 20th century. Also, as part of these researches, Oris discovered that their first pilot wristwatch was made in 1917.
This specific watch had a round, brass case with a big crown, an aluminium dial and a pin-lever movement, and was essentially a pocket watch with wire loop lugs soldered to its case. This was common practice during the First World War as officers looked for practical ways of wearing watches and as aerial warfare developed. This watch is today the occasion for a reissue: the Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition.
First things first, in terms of design, this new Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition is properly faithful to the original version, yet of course modernized and adapted to modern standards, to befit with current customers’ needs. Even if not a pocket watch transformed, we find back here a perfectly round and polished stainless steel case, measuring a nice 40mm. Again, the lugs are not soldered wires anymore but they have been designed in way that is reminiscent of old days. Finally, faithful to the 1917 edition, this new Oris has an oversized onion crown.
Yet, the coolest feature of this Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition isn’t its design but in its movement. While it is just a Selitta SW 200-1 base (an ETA close), which displays the hours and minutes only, this Calibre 732 has one function that simply defines how Oris can be creative and loyal to history. Just like the old one, Oris developed a pin-lever movement, meaning that you don’t need to pull the crown to adjust time, but simply press the pin a 2 and turn the crown. That is a detail that makes the hole concept fully achieved. Well done.
Finally, the dial of this Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition simply uses the codes of the original and reinterprets them in a faithful way: grainy-textured, silver-colored dial, stepped, with a rail-road track and large Arabic numerals printed and filled with beige luminous paint, and finally blued steel cathedral hands. Even the logo is the antique one.
The Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition will be delivered in a brown leather travel roll with two brown straps – one classical with metal pins and one cuff-style. It will be limited to 1917 pieces and priced at CHF 2,400. Deliveries in August 2017. More details on www.oris.ch.