Twenty-fourteen was a big year for Oris. First they unveiled their mighty in-house 10-day caliber, showing that they were going to start to focus more on manufacturing movements in the coming years, an exciting development. Then, shortly after, at Basel they revealed a new line, the Big Crown ProPilots. Of what we saw in Basel last year, these watches were amongst our favorites. They were simple, clean pilot’s watches with cool case details and a modern, but restrained design. Nothing too wild, but they resonated with our tastes and general interests in military and tool watches. Plus, how often does a brand make a pilot watch that doesn’t look like every other pilot watch out there?
At Basel they showed us three models, the GMT Chronograph, the big day/date and the date. Subsequently, they released the crown jewel of the collection, the uniquely Oris, ProPilot Altimeter. Altogether, it’s a logical quartet of watches, giving a nice range in size, complication and price. But while the GMT chrono and Altimeter have fun bells and whistles, the one that really called out to me was the basic date model. It’s restrained and no-nonsense, but moreover, it’s nicely sized at 41mm, while the others range from 44 to 47mm.
As I’m always on the hunt for well-sized watches; watches that pay more attention to proportions than trends, the ProPilot date struck a chord. The case is compact, but big enough to have presence. The dial is super legible with larger than average numerals that somehow don’t crowd. All around, it’s just a good new pilot offering for those who are a fan of the genre. As this is Oris, the watch is Swiss-made with and features the Oris 751, which is a modified Sellita SW220-1 with their signature red rotor and extra large date text. Coming in at $1,550 as shown on a textile strap, the price is on the high side, though admittedly lower than I expected. As you’ll see, the quality is there and any Swiss brand available at retail will demand a higher price.