Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition
It has been a while since I last wrote about Oris on this blog and it is high time I talked about the brand’s new 2017 releases. My entirely spontaneous interest for this brand is quite known around here and it started growing quite a long time ago, when I first started working as an engineer in the car sector and one of my colleagues used to own an Oris three-hands-timepiece. I can’t recall what the name of that particular model was, but I definitely remember the comments of this colleague of mine, who was quite enthusiastic about the reliability of this watch, despite having chosen it for specific reasons rather than out of spontaneous passion.
Nowadays, the story is quite different and the brand’s perception among the audience has changed dramatically, as Oris has developed the skills of a real manufactory, and I will keep on following its evolution and tell about it on these pages. At the same time, like a brand, who has eventually found the path to follow when it comes to image and product, Oris keeps on coming up with re-editions of historical models; a formula that has proved extremely successful with its Divers Sixty-Five and that continues with other niche products.
The Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition is the result of a discovery. I am talking about the origins of this brand and the process that the current management is wisely developing and that has seen the rediscovery of all the historical creations of this brand. It was something necessary given that the manufactory was founded in 1904 and some information that are the result of numerous leadership changes could easily get lost if not correctly archived over the course of over a century.
Oris has found again a catalogue that witnesses how the company was able to manufacture aviator’s watches well before 1938; the year when it actually thought it has crafted its very first aviator’s watch. There are two timepieces I am talking about here; the first one is a pocket watch with the logo of the aircraft flown by Blériot during the legendary crossing of the Channel, the second timepiece is a wrist watch and it is one of the first samples ever crafted and basically put together by welding wire lugs to the case of a big pocket watch and by adding in a strap.
Unfortunately, I have no pics of the original model available and I think Oris didn’t even release them, however, the brand underlines that the new Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition is faithful to the original version. Number 1917 represents the date, when the original version was crafted. I personally like authentic items that are presented in a measured manner and with quite a lot of substance, and that’s what turns my natural attention toward Oris. If you also consider the fact that I have just turned 43 and once you have reached your 40s, you become more demanding and your tastes turn more complicated, you can easily understand that my interest automatically tends towards unique products that are customized and not designed for everybody. The crafting of the Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition follows this logic, and I consider the creation path of this limited edition quite an ingenious move.
The vintage market is constantly growing and, at the same time, people are willing to acquire a tailor-made product like those watches from the past (with no date), with no frills and designed not to grow you tired of them; a mixture of objectives and goals that is quite difficult to achieve in the world of industrial manufacturing. Oris has shown us that it is able to deal with the world of vintage and it has gone here beyond expectations; cathedral-style hands, no date (let me highlight it once more) on the silver dial with its extremely domed sapphire crystal (bubble-like). The size of the case stayed at 40mm in diameter; a well-thought decision if you consider that the original version that derives from a big manual calibered pocked watch was perhaps quite bigger in size, but we actually live in a time, where diameters and thicknesses keep on shrinking.
The crown is quite big in size as it is on typical aviator timepieces, it is not excessive however given the size of the timepiece with its classic onion shape and no protection; the case sports a button at 2 o’clock that activates the crown to quickly adjust the time; a function that Oris’s engineers have taken from the original model and then crafted by editing the Oris 732 caliber (a modified version of a caliber built starting off a Sellita SW200-1).
Just one small disappointment; a timepiece like this would deserve a manual caliber rather than an automatic one, an in-house built caliber even if you consider what Oris managed to achieve with the beautiful 110 series and the caliber that stem off this series, which were perhaps too big to enter the case of an Orig Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition. That would have been the real cherry on the cake!
The Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition comes in a leather case that contains a watch holder and a leather strap that replaces the wrist band; a translation of what is commonly called a “cuff strap”. The second strap comes with no stitching and two applied rivets; it is quite beautiful and I can only guess how more beautiful it could become as soon as it will start showing the creases of something that is being used intensely on a daily basis. Only 1917 pieces of this timepiece will be crafted and the retail price will be 2,400 Swiss Francs a piece; quite an attractive retail price indeed, isn’t it?
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®