First Look: A Small Update for the Big Crown — the New Oris ProPilot

Oris has made some subtle changes to watches in their signature Big Crown ProPilot Series. The independent Swiss brand hasn’t been shy in the last year about tweaking one of their most traditional timepieces. The ProPilot X, of course, is a radical departure on the theme of the pilot’s watch that has been Oris’s bread and butter for years. The changes we’ll be discussing here are nowhere near as dramatic, but lend the watches a slightly higher-end and more contemporary feel. It’s the kind of gradual, iterative change you expect from a brand like Oris, which places a great deal of importance on their own heritage and traditional watchmaking in general.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date 

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Black
  • Dimensions: 41mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire   
  • Water Resistance: 10 bar 
  • Crown: Screw down          
  • Movement: Oris 751, base SW 220-1
  • Strap/bracelet: Textile
  • Price: $1,700
  • Reference Number: 01 751 7761 4164-07 3 20 03LC
  • Expected Release: Available now 


Both the Big Crown ProPilot Big Day Date and Big Crown ProPilot Big Date have been updated as part of this refresh. The change you’ll see is in the numerals, which are now made from molded lume, rather than simply painted directly to the dial. The Big Date version is seen here, and there are a few obvious benefits. First, the molded lume, to my eye, is simply more aesthetically pleasing, and Oris has executed the molded numerals really well. There is real definition to the digits when inspected up close — everything is clean and crisp. When you hear the phrase “molded lume” thoughts of a gloopy green goo might spring to mind (it does for me), but that’s far from the impression one is left with here. 

The other key benefit is legibility. Previous versions of these watches weren’t exactly tough to read, but the fact that each hour marker is essentially lumed on every surface should allow for even easier time-telling when the watch is held at an angle. Pilot’s watches, perhaps more than any other genre of watch, are designed with legibility at a glance as an absolute first priority, and it’s small refinements like this that brands make over the course of years that help to contribute to better and better readability standards.

In terms of styling and overall design, this is very much the same Big Crown ProPilot you’re likely already familiar with. Brushed and matte surfaces abound, which give the watch a tool-like feeling. The signature large crown makes the watch easy to operate, even though most owners are likely not making adjustments while flying a fighter jet and wearing gloves. This type of nod to history, though, links Oris, the watch, and it’s owner to a very real tradition of instrument inspired timepieces for people who rely on them in the most harrowing conditions. 

The Big Crown ProPilot Big Date has a retail price of $1,700, and is available now. Oris

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.