Hands-On with the Oris BC3 Advanced Day/Date in Gunmetal Grey

Oris first introduced the BC3 (Big Crown) collection back in 1999, and since that time it’s been a mainstay within Oris’ cataloge of sports watches. Though pilot inspired, the BC3 range has stood apart from other watches in the genre by offering something a bit more aesthetically different, namely the large, geometric case that has remained largely unchanged (give or take a few details) since its inception.

The Oris BC3 Advanced Day/Date in Gunmetal Grey offers a refreshing take on the pilot watch genre.

For 2016, Oris revisited the BC3 line with the release of the BC3 Advanced Day/Date in gunmetal grey, a finish that gives the watch a cool, aggressive look, but one that’s a bit more versatile than simple black PVD. And at $1,500, it’s relatively well priced for a Swiss-made watch produced by a respected and longstanding firm. The question remains, is it worth adding to your collection? Let’s take a closer look.


Hands-On with the Oris BC3 Advanced Day/Date in Gunmetal Grey

Stainless steel; gunmetal grey plating
Sellita SW 200-1
Gunmetal grey
Vintage Super-LumiNova
Sapphire crystal
Two-piece woven nylon
Water Resistance
10 BAR/100 Meters
42mm x 51.5mm
Lug Width
Screw-in; 4.5mm x 7mm

The case is the first thing that really pops with the BC3. It has significant presence, with a slab-sided cylindrical mid-case, angular crown guards, and protruding barreled lugs giving the watch its standout look. The “ORIS”-signed crown, true to name of the model, is big and easy to grasp and operate. Overall, the case geometry is far from subtle, but it is incredibly cool looking (especially on the wrist, but more on that later).

The BC3 case boasts some severe geometry throughout.
Note the small red accent ring on the screw-in crown.

Equally arresting is the color of the plating. Oris calls it gunmetal grey, but I’d liken it to more of an aged pewter look, especially under warm light. It’s an incredibly attractive palette, and it plays well against the dial. Furthermore, Oris makes excellent use of the various case surfaces, most of which are lightly brushed. There is, however, a small polished lip on the bezel where it meets the mid-case, which makes for some nice contrast against the the rest of the case. If you’ve ever handled an Oris watch, then you know that the case finishing never disappoints.

oris-bc3-grey-dial-8Flip the watch over and you’re met with an open case back showcasing the Sellita SW 200-1 (which is in itself an ETA 2824 clone) with a custom red Oris rotor, a feature found on all Oris automatics. This is probably the weakest point on the watch. As a matter of preference, I’d much rather have a solid case back if a movement is left largely without decoration as it is here. That said, it’s not unattractive (the red rotor does add a bit more flair to the design), and I’m sure most customers would prefer to see the exposed movement, decorated or not.

The case back also displays some of the watch specs.

The dial then is a matching gunmetal grey with a subtle sunburst finish. Sunburst dials, when done poorly, can really cheapen the look of a watch. That’s not what we have here, with the very fine dial finishing complementing the case brushing quite nicely. Together, the two elements come together to give the watch a bit of a tactical look.

As I wrote above, the dial has a lot flieger DNA, but it’s not derivative. There is a primary hours index with large Arabic numerals. A secondary index along the very outer edge of the dial represents the seconds/minutes, with heavier indices at every five-minute interval. Rather than have a triangle at 12, the indices double up. The hands then are stylized swords, featuring white-painted borders and lume-filled centers. The second hand is a long black needle with a white tip. The dial and hands feature tan-colored Super-LumiNova, what some might refer to as faux patina. The effort here feels less like an attempt to ape aged tritium, and more like an intentional match against the warmer tones of the case and dial.

Under certain light, the dial and case pick up warmer tones. The tan lume complements this very well.

Above six are two centrally aligned day/date windows. The discs have a black base with white printing, so they’re not an exact match to the dial. However, the slight contrast here works as the implementation of the two apertures at six maintains the overall symmetry of the design. Day/date complications often feel intrusive when placed at three, but the stacked approach at six feels well thought out. Furthermore, the day/date is balanced by the Oris logo and “AUTOMATIC” below 12.

The lume on the BC3 Advanced Day/Date is stronger on the hands than it is on the dial.

The sample shown here came on a heavy-duty, two-piece nylon strap. It’s well made and rugged, and the olive coloring matches the warm tones of the case. The strap is a bit stiff at first, partly due to it being two layers of stacked nylon, but it breaks in quickly and eventually molds to the wrist. The strap also comes with matching hardware, and like the case, it is expertly machined and finished. Overall, the pairing works, but this watch would also have zero issue taking on a number of different leather straps should the occasion call for dressing the piece up a bit.

The supplied two-piece nylon is a heavy-duty complement to an already rugged timepiece.

On the wrist, the BC3 has some major presence. I wrote above that this is not a subtle watch. It’s a solid chunk of metal and it wears as such. That said, given the dimensions–42mm by 51.5mm, and a thickness of just 11.5mm–it remains a perfectly balanced sports watch. The case design is what makes the BC3 feel like a larger watch (43mm or so), but it’s not unreasonable on the wrist. And as you can see below, it’s relatively easy to pair with an outfit of blues and browns.

Despite its size and it wearing bigger than its given dimensions, the BC3 Advanced still looks good on a 6.75-inch wrist.

Overall, I ended my trial run with the latest entry into the BC3 catalog highly impressed. As someone who has handled numerous watches from Oris, I knew I wouldn’t be let down with the fit and finish. I wasn’t. What was surprising, however, was just how unique the watch felt despite it being a riff on a familiar genre. And at a list price of $1,500, the Oris punches well above its weight class. If you’ve had your eye on this one, it won’t disappoint.

For more information, visit Oris.


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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.