Oris has been on a roll this year with the variations of Big Crown Pointer Date. They released the red dial, blue dial, Movember edition, and 80th Anniversary Edition with green dial in bronze case, which made our Best Fliegers of 2019 list. Just when you think what could top their last release, Oris drops the bronze dial with the bronze case. The bronze case and dial symbolize Oris’s industrial philosophy. The solid bronze dial is chemically treated and coated with a transparent matt lacquer to create a unique finish for every piece. Not only each dial will have its own character, but also each bronze case will have a unique patina as it oxidizes. So, you are essentially receiving a piece unique, and then making it more unique over time.
Let’s understand the history of Oris pilot watches. Around 1910 Oris made its first watch for pilots. Louis Blériot had flown across the English Channel in 1908 in his Type XI monoplane, thereby winning the Daily Mail newspaper prize of £1,000. But an interesting side story is that two years earlier, in November 1906, Blériot not only crashed his plane while taxing, later that day he witnessed his competitor, Alberto Santos Dumont, win the Aéro Club de France prize for the first flight of over 100 meters (Dumont managed to fly 720 feet).
Oris honored Blériot’s 1908 crossing of English Channel by creating a pocket watch with an image of a Blériot Type XI plane engraved onto the case. That was followed in 1917 by the company’s first pilot’s wristwatch that could only be adjusted when a button above the crown was activated. Two years ago, Oris created a centenary edition of this landmark watch. In 1938, Oris produced a watch that would become known as the Big Crown Pointer Date. It had an oversized crown that could be easily operated by a pilot, even when wearing gloves; large Arabic numerals, so the time could be read quickly; a fluted bezel with strong grip; and a central hand with a pointer tip that indicated the date. It was simple, logical, and useful. More than 80 years later, Big Crown Pointer Date retains the same design principles, even though it has been improved with better material and mechanical advances.
The Bronze Pointer Date is identical to the 80th Anniversary Edition released last year, except for the unique bronze dial. The bronze case is 40mm wide, with slender height profile of 11.2mm. A matching bronze big screw-down crown provides an okay water resistant rating of 50 meters (good enough for swimming). The sapphire domed sapphire crystal has anti-reflective coating on the inside to provide an undistorted view of the dial. The case back is in stainless steel with a mineral crystal for viewing the automatic movement with red Oris rotor. The solid bronze dial is chemically treated and coated with a transparent matt lacquer to create a unique finish. Gold color cathedral hour and minute hands are filled with SuperLuminova (so are the index markers and numbers). The watch is powered by modified Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement. This is not a limited edition and has a retail price of $2,000.
Oris has a solid offering with Big Crown Pointer Date, but makes is compelling with the warm bronze dial in a bronze case. Rolf Studer, Joint Executive Officer of Oris, emphasizes the importance of Big Crown model, “The role of the Big Crown Pointer Date in Oris’s decision in the mid- to late 1980s to rebuild the company with only mechanical watches was critical. It had a story, a purpose and an emotional value that the quartz-powered novelties of the day simply couldn’t compete with. It became an Oris signature and a symbol of the Swiss watch industry’s dramatic revival.”