The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 114 watch hands-on
When Oris presented its 110 caliber several years ago, it started off its own path as a watch manufacturer we have been following it step by step the letter from its origins to today's achievements. Whether Oris could be considered a 100% integrated manufacture is hard to tell, but truth is that it has put lots of effort in developing its very own original and manually-wound caliber, thus positioning itself within that selected range of brands that can boast ideas and know-how of their own.
The decision to create a manually-wound caliber with the characteristics we have all gotten to know and with ten days of power reserve, was a courageous choice that, as I had expected, paid off big time. Today we are witnessing the fifth chapter of that history and, at the same time, also the calibers belonging to the "11X" family that have been integrated within those collections that had not yet been taken into consideration, such as the aviation collection - a sector that plays an important role in the history of Oris.
Oris's 110 series calibers.
The watches of this brand equipped with in-house built calibers of the 110 series are easily identifiable - simply check whether there is a small register of the non-linear power reserve. A careful eye and a good memory will help remember that, with the Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 111, Oris had already introduced us to its first aviation model with an in-house built caliber. It is important to remember that, in Oris's jargon, the progressive numbers ranging from 110 to 114 indicate the complication present within the timepiece and it is therefore quite clear that the number 114 currently indicates the most complicated version ever presented of a 110 caliber basis.
The last time I wrote about the Big Crown (the name is a reference to one of Oris's historical models dedicated to the world of aviation) was a couple of years ago. The launch of this novelty at Baselworld 2018, which also marks the brand's most important launch in the new year, is an opportunity to go back to this topic.
The Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot Calibre 114
The main feature of the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 114 is its large 44mm case with a knurled bezel. The case is large but not oversize and the bezel is, yet again, the trademark of this collection - the knurling is shaped like a helix and this is the trademark of all the ProPilot timepieces.
If you leave aside this detail (and the generously sized bezel that slightly bothers your wrist) the rest is all very reassuring - the case is perfectly symmetrical, the lugs are straight and the wide-meshed bracelet features a folding clasp. It is not what you would call a triumph of imagination, but it further enhances the original architecture of this watch with its two dial counters. Despite its size, however, the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 114 wraps perfectly around your wrist and, if you your wrist measures at least 20cm in circumference, it is also a comfortable timepiece to wear.
The Oris 114 caliber
If compared to the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 111, the dial of the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 114 is generally more cluttered, mainly for one simple reason - the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 114 is a GMT watch and is also the first GMT timepiece built on a 110 caliber basis. The real news is not the introduction of the GMT function that, technically speaking, does not represent a particularly difficult challenge, but rather the possibility of adjusting it on a 30 minute cycle - a rare option that is in line with the originality of the the in-house built calibers of this series.
Finally, this is an extremely useful function, as it is often Oris's goal . The caliber can be seen through the case-back and it is always nice to see the large barrel wheel for the power reserve and the absence of a rotor. Curiously enough, the glass on the back is not made of sapphire but it is mineral instead. The price to pay for this complication is a lower degree of readability, but an extra feature for those who travel often through time zones. It will soon be added, I am sure about that, to the Artelier collection, simply because it makes sense.
You will need to fork out 5,800 Swiss Francs to get your hands on the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 114 that was launched at Baselworld 2018 in two dial versions (black and anthracite) and three bracelet versions - for those who didn't know or might have forgotten about it, the strap comes with a folding clasp with a clip that reminds us of the safety belt of a pilot of an air fighter (if you choose the version with a nylon strap).
The version with a black dial and a steel bracelet is the version that best fits a high range timepiece like this one, where the steel bracelet is integrated and this the option that this watch deserves, mainly because it makes it much more wearable. Within this price range, I would probably choose a more classic Oris Artelier, but we don't have to overlook the sensational breakthrough that the Pilot watches of Oris have achieved since being equipped with in-house built calibers and the gradual integration across the different collections - technically refined calibers and best-in-class market value.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®