Independent Swiss watchmaker Oris has unveiled nothing less than a contemporary masterpiece and a dramatic symbol of its watchmaking vision. 

The Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115—two years in the making—lays bare Oris’s historic watchmaking roots. But at the same time, it propels the independent company forward. 

How many of us really know how the technology around us works? How do the nuts and bolts come together to do what they do? How many can really grasp how a connected device taps into the great invisible network in the sky? It won’t be many. The advances of our age have distanced us from a tangible knowledge of how the things we use work. 

In one sense, we’re content to embrace that. Smartphones, a common example, are tools we use for work. They bring us together so we can communicate and be entertained or informed. But while they enable us at their best, they can enslave us at their worst. And because we don’t always understand how they work, it can be hard to trust them; to really know them. Which we’re increasingly uncomfortable with. 

This vein of thinking goes a long way to explaining why mechanical watches, dreamed up generations ago, are more relevant today than ever. No electronics. No connectivity. No apps. No smoke and mirrors. Archaic? Or enlightened? 

By comparison, a mechanical watch is a handcrafted object we can connect with in the most natural sense. If we don’t move, an automatic runs out of power. If we don’t wind the crown every couple of days, a hand-wound watch will stop. The human connection is tangible. 

And now, Oris has decided to look into the essence of that idea. If you took the honesty and integrity of a mechanical watch and stripped it to its bare bones—to show its true nature—what form would it take? 

The answer is the Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115—the culmination of every watch Oris has ever made. It’s inspired by nature, particularly by the Waldenburg Valley, which surrounds the village of Hölstein, where Oris has been based since it was founded in 1904. It’s a reflection of contemporary culture, too, and of Oris’s growing desire for authentic experiences. And it’s a watch that explains Oris’s true personality. 

The idea started with the movement. Independent Oris only makes mechanical watches. Everything in the watch stemmed from its mechanical heartbeat. In celebration of its 110th anniversary, Oris introduced Calibre 110, a limited edition watch with an in-house developed movement that carried a 10-day power reserve, a patented non-linear power reserve indicator and a small seconds. 

This innovative, unique combination of complications became the base architecture for a suite of landmark calibres that followed, through to Calibre 114, launched last year. Together, these calibres have become the symbol of Oris, the movement creator. Since the company was founded, it has introduced more than 270 in-house calibres, a proud legacy. 

“People are longing for the time when they could understand how things work” 

For the 44mm Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115, Oris’s watchmakers took the spirit of Calibre 110 and imagined a fully skeletonized Oris movement. Traditionally, skeletonization provided a window for a watchmaker’s talents, but this movement had higher ambitions. It had to reconnect people to how things work. That’s what makes contemporary modernism so interesting. People are longing for the time when they could understand how things work. 

The Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 lays bare its inner workings. Nothing is hidden. Even the barrel at 12 o’clock is skeletonized so you can see the extended mainspring. Winding the crown, you watch on as the mainspring coils tighter… and tighter… until it’s fully wound and ready to deliver 10 days of uninterrupted power. Nothing deflects from this. There is no varnish, no unnecessary decoration. Calibre 115’s skeletonized bridges are matt grey, rather than polished or engraved. Look at the movement under a loupe and you will see the edges have not been chamfered or bevelled. Instead, they have been left in their natural state. There is nothing obscuring the essence of traditional Swiss watchmaking. It is, if you will, as nature intended.

Not that it’s old-fashioned. Inspired by the striking aesthetic of the movement, Oris’s designers created a bold, dynamic case that captured both the company’s pilot’s watch history – which began in the early 1910s and took off with a pilot’s wristwatch with a ‘big crown’ in 1917 – and the future relevance of mechanical watchmaking. It is not shy to tell its story. 

The resulting lightweight brushed titanium case is equally honest. Fundamentally, its design is descended from that 1938 original, supplemented by the jet engine turbine blade motif introduced into the Big Crown ProPilot’s bezel only a few years ago.

It’s based on a traditional concept, but future-driven; there are no numerals on the dial—a first for Oris. It’s muscular and assured. It shows Oris’s watchmaking competence and its confidence as the Swiss watch industry prepares for a new decade.

It also explains the evolution of luxury. Luxury is no longer showy or indulgent. It’s now about appreciation of quality, time and space. Oris calls it casual luxury, which isn’t forced or inconsiderate. It’s measured and informed. It’s authentic. That’s why there are no unnecessary details in the watch. No flashy color palette. No pointless complications. It’s essential. It’s crafted. It’s alive.

Who is the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 for? The wearer of this watch is on an adventure of discovery. They want to learn more about the world and themselves. They want access to a new level of understanding. That’s what it means to Go Your Own Way.