Oris takes their Change for the Better Campaign to New Heights with the Coulson ProPilot Limited Edition

Oris started this year off strong, both in the context of diversifying their already wide ranging catalog of watches, and growing their Change for the Better campaign with the Oris Big Crown x Cervo Volante collaboration – and they haven’t looked back since. Memorable releases this year include the edgy ProPilot X with their Cal 400 movement, a 36.5mm pusher GMT in the Full Steel, and an Oris Aquis with a cloisonné enamel dial. Just taking a look at these three watches tells you what an extraordinary year the brand is having. And although the year is coming to a close, that doesn’t mean Oris is done just yet. Very much like how they started the year, Oris is looking to finish the year off strong with a significant collaboration that displays a first in watchmaking and furthers their Change for the Better campaign to new heights, both figuratively and literally. In partnership with the global wildfire fighting company, Coulson Aviation, Oris presents their final release of the year with the Coulson ProPilot Limited Edition.

Coulson Aviation is a family-run independent company based out of British Columbia, CA that has been assisting wildfire fighting from the air since the 1960’s. Now under the helm of the Coulson’s current generation, Britton and Foster Coulson, and their father, Wayne Coulson, Coulson Aviation is a company that operates 24/7 and provides pilots and a fleet of aircrafts (including my favorite “helo”, the Sikorsky Blackhawk UH-60) all over the world. Wild land firefighting is one of the most physically and mentally grueling, oh and dangerous, occupations on the planet. I’ve seen firsthand the training that goes into becoming a wild land firefighter through a close friend that is currently employed by Cal Fire, whom Coulson Aviation works very closely with. As my friend (and OOO guest), Payton Tengan has explained to me, just getting to the fire’s perimeter is an extremely difficult task when you factor in the ever-changing terrain and all the equipment that needs to be brought to the fire. And then there’s containing the fire, and of course, extinguishing it. Akin to wild land firefighting on the ground, combating an inferno from above is no walk in the park. As Britton Coulson explains, “Put it this way. We fly the Boeing 737, the same aircraft that transports passengers at 36,000 feet, at 200 feet over people’s burning homes.” Imagine an aircraft of that size, flying lower than the Statue of Liberty … mind boggling.


For the Coulson ProPilot, Oris has created something entirely new to the watchmaking industry, and that’s a 3D printed carbon fiber case. Oris tapped the talents of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology to uniquely combine carbon fiber and a high-grade compound typically used in aerospace commodities known as PEKK. The result is an ultra lightweight and robust carbon fiber case appropriate for the wrist of someone tasked with wild land firefighting. The addition of a gray PVD coated titanium bezel and caseback keeps the watch at a feathery 65 grams.

The dial uses a fiery gradient, paying tribute to the firefighting occupation. The bottom half of the dial is adorned with a vibrant orange and transitions to a deep, dark red towards the top of the dial. Markers remain simple and straightforward, demarcating the hours with white Arabic numerals, and a modern white handset, both filled with SuperLuminova, keeping legibility as a priority.

A sapphire caseback frames Oris’ Cal 400 movement. The Coulson ProPilot limited edition adds to the growing list of watches that house the brand’s impressive movement. We’ve dedicated an article solely to the Cal 400 here, but just in case you missed that, here’s a quick lowdown. The Cal 400 is Oris’ new in-house designed movement that boasts five days of reserve without utilizing bigger springs and barrels. Using a bit of ingenuity, the Oris Cal 400 uses a pair of twin mainsprings and a new wheel design to achieve the impressive power reserve. Here’s the best part. Oris’ plan with the movement is to make it the most accessible movement within their catalog, hence the movement’s tagline, “The New Standard,”and the expanding list of models that house the Cal 400 that were released this year is proof of that.

I’ve always appreciated Oris for their efforts in tackling climate change. They put their money where their mouths are. There’s actual action, and then some, behind every mission and campaign with each release dedicated to the Change for the Better initiative. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that other brands within the industry have followed suit when it comes to keeping the environment in mind. Honestly, if the end result of imitating is a planet that’s in better shape when we ultimately leave it, that’s fine by me.

This release also sparks a thought about the current status of the watch industry as a whole. We’ve seen innovative uses of known materials, applications of new ones, and technical advancements. The “worry” was how do we invite the future generation into our world to prevent horological extinction, while at the same time keeping those within the game engaged and enthusiastic. Oris is right in the middle of that. They’ve got a suite of thoughtfully designed, accessible watches at relatively approachable price points.

The Coulson ProPilot delivers on a textile strap that secures via a folding clasp and spors matching PVD hardware. The Coulson ProPilot Limited edition is limited to just 1,000 pieces, retails for CHF 4,200 and is available this month directly through Oris. Be sure to check out the the documentary above by Oris entitled Birds of the Fireline, which visually captures the current wildfire situation and what it actually takes to fight these fires, both on the ground, and from the air. Oris

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Thomas is a budding writer and an avid photographer by way of San Diego, California. From his local surf break to mountain peaks and occasionally traveling to destinations off the beaten path, he is always searching for his next adventure, with a watch on wrist, and a camera in hand. Thomas is a watch enthusiast through and through; having a strong passion for their breadth of design, historical connection, and the stories that lie within each timepiece.