Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition

The spirit of the 1970s, reissued in a powerful chronograph watch!

| By Robin Nooy | 8 min read |
Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited

I always have a little bit of a tough time stomaching car, football club or otherwise branded Limited Edition or commemorative timepieces. Some try way too hard to get across what they are, other than a standard series watch with often little more than a few details that have nothing to do with watchmaking. Don’t get me wrong, there are examples that come out just right in my book, and yes it is of course highly personal, as is everything when it comes to preferences. One of those watches that seems to hit the proverbial nail on the head for me is the recently introduced Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition.

Like we explained in the Watches & Formula 1 series, the connection between watches and cars is a strong one, dating back to the earliest times of the sport where timekeeping was in its infancy. Over the years the technology progressed, and eventually, watches became obsolete when it came to tracking elapsed time in an official motor racing event. But that doesn’t stop us, or any of the brands as well, to no longer romanticize this part of watchmaking.

Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited

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Oris has had a connection with motor racing for years now, and in particular with Williams Racing since 2003, which makes it one the longest running continuous partnerships in Formula 1. This year, Oris decided to team-up with their partner Williams Racing to create a special watch to celebrate the team’s 40th year of uninterrupted participation on the highest level of motorsports.

Overall Appearance and Features

The Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition features a look and feel that is distinctively “seventies”. The helmet-style case and the colour scheme are very reminiscent of this era in watchmaking, which is the source of a lot of today’s inspiration for brands. We’ve seen a revival in vintage-inspired dive and sports watches from the sixties and seventies over the past few years (think Oris Diver Sixty-Five, the Tudor Black Bay range, or the recently reviewed Brellum Duobox Pandial). You could argue that on one hand, it is a lack of inspiration to come up with an entirely new design. On the other hand, it is simply harking back to a strong era in watch design and drawing inspiration from that.

Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited

Overall it is a neat-looking watch. Not overly present in terms of looks and despite being quite thick on the wrist, it is quite likely to fly a bit under the radar. Upon further inspection, some nice touches are revealed though. A thick, domed crystal distorts the dial under an angle and the placement of the two subdials, for instance, are elements reminiscent of the original Chronoris from the seventies.

There are a few differences though, that set this latest edition apart from the original. Launched in 1970, Oris’ first ever chronograph featured a single pusher at 2 and two crowns at 3 and 4. One crown was used to set the time and date and the other to move the internal rotatable bezel and a tachymeter scale one step inward. The revamped version of 2005 saw the use of a single sub-dial, and a more traditional setup for the crown and pushers whilst remaining true to the original with the three-quarter orange scale on the dial.

Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited

For 2017, Oris chose to release not one, but two new versions in their Chronoris range, one of which is the subject of this review. The other, weirdly, not featuring a chronograph function but it does sport an inner rotating bezel operated via a second crown. Just like the original, although in an alternate style.

Case and strap

The 40mm wide multi-piece steel case comes across as very sturdy and strong, and feels substantial whilst wearing it. You literally feel this watch, as you do most Valjoux 7750 based chronograph watches. It moves, it feels heavy and you can even feel the rotations of the oscillating weight. We are often adamant about watches that while wearing them, disappear from your wrist in terms of feel. We claim that comfort is essential, and if you forget you are wearing a watch because you do not feel it anymore, it is a comfortable watch.

Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited

Well, while that is very true from an ergonomic approach, I sometimes want to interact with a watch. I’ve had this sensation time and time again with Valjoux 7750 powered watches, and I have this again with the Oris Chronoris Williams Racing 40th Anniversary Limited Edition. It is the very same reason I appreciate a robust Oris Aquis Depth Gauge or a Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator 24h Chronotimer. That doesn’t mean I don’t love a carefully crafted Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P or the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo trilogy, on the contrary! It’s just that purposes are different.

Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited

The case is what we have come to expect from Oris. Well built, tough, sturdy, with alternating finishes (polished versus brushed) on different parts and surfaces of the case. The chronograph pushers need an ample amount of pressure to activate, but nothing too extreme. It ensures it is not accidentally activated or stopped when using it. Same goes for the crown, a screw-in one. It is securely fixed in place, no wiggle or play when unscrewed and adjusting time or date.

Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited

The caseback is plain, which allows for added decoration, in the form of a big “W” in relief as a hint to the Williams Racing Formula 1 team that it commemorates. A simple nod to the team and its success and heritage over a 40-year period of participating. The Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition comes on a brown, suede leather strap with racing perforations and with an added grey Nato strap (a black rubber strap and a steel bracelet are also available). The supplied tools allow for a quick and easy exchange if desired, with extra pushpins if needed. All can be neatly stored in the leather zipped folder that the watch comes in.

Dial and hands

Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited

The Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition has a quite busy dial. Various fonts and markings make up all the indications which may feel a bit crowded but the fact that Oris used three colours, one of which is a subtle blue tone, keeps it from getting too cluttered. Yes, there is a lot going on, with two subdials, a tachymeter scale in white (1/4 track) and blue (3/4 track), a date window, polished hour markers with white dots on the outside, a minute track with slim lines and block markers on the inside.

Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited

The hands of the Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition are simple, yet sufficient. Steel hands for the hours and minutes, with a touch of luminous material for about half the length of each hand and a blue lacquered seconds counter on a central axis, aided by two white hands for the subdials. Nothing too fancy, and it keeps the watch visually connected to the original. The blue seconds counter for the chronograph matches the blue of the tachymeter scale.


The movement inside the Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition is based on the Valjoux 7750 workhorse, indicated as the Oris 673. For those who ever wore a Valjoux 7750 powered watch, the Valjoux-wobble is a familiar sensation, and that is in part why I like the movement. It connects you to it, as you feel the centrifugal force of the weighted winding rotor whizz around inside the case, giving power to the barrel. A total of 48 hours of that power can be stored, ensuring it runs for everyday use with occasional intermissions while sleeping, showering or whenever you feel like taking it off.

Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited

Oris has been fitting the automatic movements inside their watches with red lacquered rotors for years now, and apparently also do this when it is enclosed in a full steel caseback. Consider it a trademark for the brand.

The movement indicates hours and minutes on centrally mounted hands. Also, a date is displayed, placed in the minute track at 3. As mentioned, the chronograph indication is limited to a centrally mounted seconds counter, a 30 minute counter on the top half, and a 12 hour counter on the bottom half of the dial. The lack of a small second (usually placed at 9) makes the dial more balanced.


Like I mentioned in the intro of this review, the Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition is as restrained as a commemorative watch should be in my eyes. You see there is something added, to set it off from the “base” model but the focus is still on the watch instead of the branding. Lacking any over-the-top appliques, engravings, logos or otherwise, it is a watch foremost, and a celebratory timepiece second and I like that.

Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited

The Chronoris range is also one of the easiest Oris watches to recognize, mainly due to the helmet style case that stands-out from other modern tool watches. It is also strongly connected to that very first one from 1970 but with a few modern touches, which is again a very good thing. Oris has shown great skill with taking inspiration from vintage models and updating them almost to perfection, such as the Diver Sixty-Five collection, a proverbial nail on the head.

Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited

Overall if you are in the market for a vintage-inspired, automotive linked sports watch, it is certainly a good choice. 1,000 pieces of these Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition will be built and it is available at a price of EUR 3,450 for the leather or rubber strapped version, and EUR 3,650 on the steel bracelet. For more information please visit

1 response

  1. Looks great and I am a sucker for a nice tonneau case. Well done Oris

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