Like all great watchmakers, Oris began its journey in the Swiss town of Hölstein at the foot of the Jura mountains. Watchmakers, Paul Cattin and Georges Christian, arrived in the town looking to set up their own watch company and decided to purchase a recently closed watch factory, naming it ‘Oris’, after a nearby brook. We could say that the rest is history, but let’s just touch on a little bit of it. The company, which produces only mechanical watches holds on to the traditions of fine Swiss watchmaking that has allowed the brand to flourish throughout the years.
The Big Crown holds significance in Oris’ history. As one of the brand’s most iconic pieces, it was named ‘Big Crown’ for its oversized crown, as it was created for pilots who would use gloved hands to adjust their watch, thus the need for a larger than usual crown—and now, Oris celebrates the 80th year of its first aviation watch and pointer date with of course, an 80th anniversary edition. The Big Crown Pointer Date spotlights several of Oris’ signature namely the oversized crown and pointer date complication. The brand has also released different editions with different metals and dial colors—all classically charming—like last year’s collaboration with men’s health charity, Movember edition which features a stainless steel case and a black dial. Some dial shade variations featured a classic pitch black, a milky green, a deep blue, and a chocolate brown, among others.
A signature design since its inception back in 1983, the 80th Anniversary edition of the Big Crown is cast in solid bronze with the exception of its caseback which is in stainless steel and mineral glass and has a 40mm case. You can find the distinctive red marking of the Oris 754 movement that powers the Big Crown through the mineral glass window. Aesthetically, the Big Crown scores top points. There is just something about the forest tones used that brings back elements of nature and nostalgia. It is a straightforward piece, featuring handsomely curved lugs, fluted bezels, and a sustainably sourced brown leather strap fitted with a bronze buckle.
The dial is colored a striking matte hunter green, which goes beautifully with the warm, burnished tones of the bronze casing. Many watch aficionados may think bronze as an interesting choice of metal to use as it is known to patinate fairly quickly but with the green of the dial, it may all work to be part of its modern-vintage charm. The hands come in an intricate cathedral-style coated in white super luminova as with the indices that are in Arabic numerals. Its red, crescent-tipped date indicator also goes very nicely with the greens and caramel tones of the watch. At a quick glance, it may be mistaken for the 36mm bronze edition that was launched earlier in Baselworld but some subtle changes like its red date indicator as well as the darker green on the dial and reciprocally darker leather strap make it unmistakably the 80th anniversary edition.