We’ve heard about Oris’ incentives to support the removal of plastics from the ocean and make straps and dials from recycled PET, about initiatives to restore the coral reefs and conservation efforts to ensure the blue whale and dolphin are protected from underwater noise pollution and fishing nets, but this is probably the first time we’ve come across a watch made in collaboration with a sustainable deer leather manufacturer. As part of the brand’s Change for the Better campaign, the partnership with Cervo Volante has led to a new line of deer hide watch straps. The model chosen to show off the new straps is the classic Big Crown Pointer Date with gradient dials inspired by Alpine colours. The three models are not limited editions, and Oris is committed to working with Cervo Volante long term. Another positive feature of the latest Big Crown models is the new 38mm case size. Although there are two 38mm Big Crown Pointer Dates fitted with the latest in-house engineered automatic calibre 403, they do not have the signature knurled bezel and have shed a lot of the vintage appeal that characterises this family. The new 38mm Big Crown x Cervo Volante has a modified Sellita-base calibre and sits in between the existing 36mm and 40mm models.
Waste not, want not
Cervo Volante is a Zurich-based company producing high-quality ecological shoes, jackets, bags and accessories from Swiss wild deer hides. According to the company, about 15,000 red deer are hunted every year in Switzerland and their hides go to waste. Because there is no animal breeding, no factory farming and no climate impact involved, deer leather is one of the most sustainable leathers on the market today.
Founded in 2017 by Dr Kadri Vunder Fontana and Dr Conny Thiel-Egenter, the operative word at Cervo Volante is sustainability, and all products are made from deer that have been legally hunted in the Swiss Alps. Cervo Volante goes directly to the butchers to collect the hides that would otherwise be burned and preserves them by drying or deep freezing. No chemicals are used during processing and Cervo Volante has enlisted Switzerland’s two remaining tanneries using traditional vegetable tanning processes – no chrome or synthetic pre-tanning agents – to treat the leather. Imperfections in the leather, like scars and scratches, are not discarded and are regarded as “signs of life”.
Although Oris had been making pilot’s watches since 1910, the famous Big Crown Pointer Date made its debut in 1938 and was characterised by an oversized crown so that pilots in freezing cockpits could adjust their watches without having to remove their gloves. In addition to the extra-large crown, the time was displayed with large Arabic numerals and cathedral hands and a central hand with a red tip to indicate the date displayed on a peripheral track (patented in 1915 by A. Hammerly). Thanks to the vision of Dr Rolf Portmann, former solicitor and now Honorary Chairman of Oris, and his conviction that a mechanical pilot’s watch would appeal to future generations, the Big Crown pilot’s watch staged a return in 1984.
The Sweet Spot Diameter
As we mentioned, the new 38mm case size is not entirely new; we saw this diameter on the Big Crown Pointer Date fitted with the in-house engineered automatic calibre 403 and the limited Hölstein Edition 2021, also with the new calibre but with slightly different cases and a more contemporary look. What is new is that the 38mm is now going to be a regular member of the Big Crown Pointer Date family, a decision that will be welcomed by many, including our boss Frank. “This is the perfect size for this watch,” he said. “The 40mm felt a bit too big; the 36mm felt too small. This 38mm hits the sweet spot and is just perfect on the wrist and looks great too.” Naturally, the signature coin-edged bezel and extra-large fluted crown of the Big Crown are respected.
Available with blue, grey or green dials, the blue dial we had for our photoshoot has a lovely gradient effect with a lighter shade of blue in the centre that intensifies to a more saturated blue on the perimeter. A bit like the colour of faded jeans, the casual light blue dial is unlike most blue dials on the market today. The layout of the dial is classic Big Crown with the peripheral date track indicated by a blue-tipped crescent-shaped hand. The vintage typography of the large Arabic numerals and cathedral-style hands consolidate its retro appeal, while the presence of Super-LumiNova on the hands and hour markers underscores its origins as a pilot’s watch. The domed sapphire crystal is treated with an anti-reflective coating to avoid possible glare.
Deer leather strap
As a general rule, Oris presents its Big Crown models on thick, sustainably sourced leather straps. The new Cervo Volante deer leather straps look great and reveal their appealing, uneven texture for a more rugged and relaxed look. The reverse side of the leather strap features an embossed image of a cervo volante, otherwise known as a stag beetle because of its large jaws that look like the antlers of a stag. Fitted with a quick strap change system, the strap can be exchanged with ease.
The reverse side reveals Oris’ hallmark red bi-directional rotor of the automatic calibre 754, a modified Sellita SW-200 to accommodate the date indication. The movement has a power reserve of 38 hours and a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. A robust, reliable, easily serviceable movement that helps to keep the price relatively low. The watch is delivered with a deer leather travel pouch and a cardholder.
Availability & Price
The Big Crown X Cervo Volante trilogy is not limited and is now available at a retail price of CHF 1,850. For more information, please consult Oris.ch.