Introducing the Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition

It’s difficult to think of a company that’s having a better hot streak at the moment than Oris. In the past few years, the brand has given us the Divers Sixty-Five, the Artelier Calibre 110, 111, 112, and 113, their beautiful line of jazz tribute watches, and so many others. Now, in typical low-profile Oris fashion, they’ve added to this list with an offering in the quickly-growing market of vintage styled chronographs. This new effort, the Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition, expands on the fresh new Chronoris line with a pitch-perfect take on ‘70s chronograph themes and sprinkles in some serious Formula 1 provenance.

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Introducing the Oris Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition

First up, let’s address the name. Williams Grand Prix Engineering (currently racing as Williams Martini Racing) is a true legend of motorsports. Since 1977, F1 team manager extraordinaire Frank Williams has led the operation to nine world constructor’s championships (1980, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997) and seven world driver’s titles (1980, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997), including titles for legendary drivers such as Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost.



Williams’ obsession with pushing the limits of performance has driven some of the greatest technical innovations the sport has ever seen; a full quarter century later, their 1992 challenger remains possibly the most technologically advanced racing car of all time. This car, the FW14B, was driven by British ace Nigel Mansell to one of the most dominant titles in the history of the sport. The technical innovations that chief engineer Adrian Newey built into the car- programmable, computer-controlled active suspension to keep the car flat and level under cornering, for example, proved so wildly successful that they were outlawed soon after in the name of competition, never to be replicated again. By the numbers, Williams is the third most successful team in the history of the sport, surpassed only by McLaren and Scuderia Ferrari. To make a long story short, Williams turning 40 is a big deal in the racing world, and Oris needed something suitably great to capture the moment for their branding partner.Oris_ChronOris_Williams-Baselworld2017 - 2

Without a doubt, Oris has delivered in that department. I’ve spoken before on worn&wound about my appreciation for “greatest hits”-style, vintage-inspired design, and the Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition is a masterclass in the technique. While it shares some elements with previous iterations of the Chronoris, it combines them together with just-subtle-enough Williams cues and a grab bag of ’70s chronograph flair.

The case is a perfect example of this. It’s a very period-correct cushion style case, with circular brushing up top and a wide polished bevel leading to surprisingly svelte polished sides. The case back provides the watch’s only real Williams design cue, as it’s stamped with the Williams “W” emblem surrounded by “Williams 40th Anniversary Oris Limited Edition.” While the back and overall case shape are both clean, attractive designs, the best thing here is the size. At 40mm, it’s a vintage-inspired piece with actual vintage proportions! No puffed-up 44mm “modern” case size here, but the genuine article- it’s a breath of fresh air and a godsend for those of us with smaller wrists.

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The smaller sizes wears extremely well, even on a 7.5-inch wrist.

The dial of the Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition is similarly excellent. This is a brand new design for Oris, incorporating a few minor elements for the current Chronoris but mostly reinterpreting a wide variety of the era’s best chronograph dials. For starters, the layout itself is all-new as the Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Edition is the first two-register chronograph in the line. What’s more, Oris have opted for a vertical 12 and six layout, with a 30-minute register up top and the 12-hour sub-dial at the six o’clock position. While relatively common in ’70s era chronograph designs (including my personal standby, the Seiko 6138-8039 John Player Special), it’s a much rarer layout today and provides a unique symmetry that helps a compact watch case to appear longer on the wrist. These two large sub-dials sit slightly recessed below the main dial, with snailing providing some additional depth and contrast.

The main dial itself is what might be called pleasantly busy. There’s a lot going on here, but it all flows together well and leaves enough breathing room around each element to stave off a cluttered feeling. An internal tachymeter bezel forms the outer ring, encircling a colorful multi-part seconds track. This track is another shared element with the standard Chronoris, although the segment from 12 to nine o’clock is orange as opposed to the vibrant Williams blue seen here. From there you have a 1/5 seconds/minutes track, applied rectangular indices, and finally a second set of blocky white minute indicators. While it’s certainly intricate, everything here is brilliantly proportional. Oris_ChronOris_Williams-Baselworld2017 - 1

The strong overall symmetry is slightly hurt by the three o’clock date window, but it’s useful enough to consider as a necessary evil. Besides, it’s period-correct. While it might be out of place on an even older design, plenty of automatic chronographs in the ’70s had the same date window issue, if you will.

Moving our attention to the handset, Oris has provided a simple set of pointed batons for the job. These are topped off with a long counterweighted chronograph seconds hand in another splash of Williams blue with a white tip. Dial text is kept to a minimum, helping to preserve overall balance. Oris_ChronOris_Williams-Baselworld2017 - 7Powering the Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition is Oris’ Cal. 673 automatic chronograph movement, a ETA 7750 base with some modifications made by the brand. This caliber has seen extensive use in Oris’ chronographs for years, and features a 48-hour power reserve and a smooth 28,800 bph sweep.

Oris is offering the Chronoris Williams 40th Anniversary Limited Edition on three different strap options. These include a beads-of-rice style bracelet, black rubber rally strap, and perhaps the star of the show, a small-hole, weathered brown rally strap.

Oris_ChronOris_Williams-Baselworld2017 - 4This is an interesting take for a vintage-style piece, and the aged appearance certainly adds to the old-school charm of the overall package. That overall package is nearly bursting at the seams with charm, though, and it makes for both a fitting tribute for Williams F1 and a seriously impressive addition to an already stellar model lineup.

At a starting price of $3,700, this limited run of 1,000 pieces should be exciting to watch once they hit the market this June. Oris

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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection. He is also the Feature Editor and Videographer for Speed Revolutions.