The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Day Date (ref. 01 752 7698 4164-07 5 22 17FC) combines a vintage modern (I hope, Marshall Amps won’t mind me using the combination of words) design of its moderately oversized stainless steel body with an inexpensive self-winding movement with day/date display that they outsource from Sellita. Easily readable and comfortable thanks to its ergonomically shaped case and a nicely designed folding clasp, the watch is priced at just over €1300, but delivers a lot more value than most similarly priced timekeepers with the same functionality.
Revealed earlier this year at the Baselworld 2014 international trade show, the new timepiece from the reputable Swiss watchmaking brand looks like yet another step in the evolution of their vintage-styled Big Crown series.
Somewhat postmodern in its design, it has the usual notched bezel and an oversized setting crown replaced with parts that are inspired by different kinds of worm gear. The traditional white hour and minute hands that are covered by white Superluminova, too, look a lot more refined (almost on a point of elegance) than those on older members of the family although it is still clearly visible that their source of inspiration is the same instrument gauges that we usually see inside military plane cockpits.
The same goes for the eleven Arabic numerals. Still covered with white Superluminova, they are subtly changed looking a lot lighter and, well, less crude than the usual numerals on vintage-styled timekeepers. Even the white hour markers (they are, too, printed with luminescent paint) look a lot more civilian now making the dial look even lighter and easier to read.
Speaking of readability, I also feel compelled to praise the way the brand’s designers managed all the real estate they have claimed on your wrist. While the stainless steel body of the Big Crown ProPilot Day Date is still massive at 45 millimeters in diameter, the dial opening is extremely large thanks to its ultra-thin bezel. Just take a minute or two to compare this beautiful timepiece to the vintage-styled Swiss Hunter Team PS (Patrouille-Suisse) Edition that the brand has issued back in 2011: although both timekeepers are almost identical in exterior dimensions, the new member of the collection is light years ahead of the older model in terms of legibility and overall visual lightness.
There is a chance that some may frown at the choice of caliber (the watch is powered by the Oris caliber 752, which is based on the well-known Sellita SW220 automatic movement), but for a gadget that has a suggested retail price of just CHF 1600 (approximately €1300) the choice of mechanism is the most logical: keeping the mechanism in good working order, as well as repairing it after the warranty period will never be a heavy burden on your wallet thanks for the mechanism’s ubiquity and relatively low labor costs.
On these promotional photos, the watch is present on a green textile strap with their traditional ORIS stainless steel folding clasp, but if the NATO-style bands are not your cup of tea, the device is still available on either black leather strap or a nice-looking solid steel bracelet.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Day Date Automatic (ref. 01 752 7698 4164-07 5 22 17FC) specification
Price: $1750 USD (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Oris caliber 752, base Sellita SW220, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 26
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day of week
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 45.00 mm
Lug width: 22.00 mm
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Green textile strap with a stainless steel folding clasp (also available with either a black leather strap or a steel bracelet)
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Mineral glass, transparent