[Review] The Oris Pro Pilot X Challenges Our Perception of a Pilot’s Watch

So, I’m writing this intro without the watch in hand. Good news, it’s on the way. Out of the past year or so of releases, the Oris Pro Pilot X has got me pretty darn excited. It can be easy to get a little jaded in the world of watches (or anything that you’re so involved in), and when genuine excitement comes along it’s something that I jump at the chance to capitalize on. Without handling the watch, it still has that sense of mystery with a healthy side portion of hype. No, not the kind of hype that generates years-long wait lists or triple MSRP flip prices, but actual excitement for a watch that you can go out and buy. I decided to write this intro before handling the watch to convey that sense of excitement for something new that you still haven’t gotten to feel, touch, and wear. Think Christmas Eve at age 10 when you’re pretty sure there are going to be some kick-ass Godzilla toys under the tree, but you’re still not 100% sure whether you’re gonna get Godzilla himself or a Matthew Broderick “action” figure complete with worm collecting accessories.  

From afar, there’s a lot to like about the Pro Pilot X. It’s crafted entirely from titanium, features Oris’ new Caliber 400 with super impressive specs, and a 39mm x 12mm thick case with hard angles and a killer looking titanium bracelet to boot. Since trying on one of the skeletonized Pro Pilot X models back at a press event, I was pretty much sold on the design. I’m not so sure I’m a skeleton guy, and that watch was a little big which just makes this scaled down, more minimalistic entry into the lineup all the more appealing. Now that the watch is on its merry way to my office, I get to see if it stands up to the (self-generated) hype. Let’s strap this thing on and dig in.

Fast forward a few months later, and the watches finally showed up. It was like Christmas morning, but again — the presents are still wrapped and I’m not totally sure what I got just yet. Upon removing the watches from their respective boxes, the first thing I noticed was how light they were. Like, seriously light. There’s also some things to be said about the dials, but that’s what we’re here for — a full-on review, so let’s get to it.


[Review] The Oris Pro Pilot X Challenges Our Perception of a Pilot’s Watch

Oris Caliber 400
Grey, Blue, Salmon
A Smidge
Titanium bracelet
Water Resistance
Lug Width
Screw Down
10 yrs


Titanium is great material. It’s strong, light, and plays well with brushed and polished finishes. You won’t find any of the latter on the new Pro Pilot X though. This watch is a mix of matte (stonewashed?) titanium and gently brushed surfaces. There’s a stealthy vibe going on that’s especially pronounced on the gray dialed version. Although the cases measure in at a conservative 39mm, I would say they look and feel a little bit larger. Closer to 40. I know we’re talking a millimeter here, but in the world of watches 1mm is enough to make half the population write off a watch because it’s “too big”. The PPX feels bigger because of the chunky end link and the wide open dials. 

Oris has developed a nice design language with its Pro Pilot range, with some DNA shared throughout all of the watches. That through line begins with the outer bezel surrounding the dial. Meant to mimic the look of a jet turbine, the series of angled cuts give the case an aggressive look. The top surface of the lugs is flat, while the sides of the case cut straight down. The tips of the lugs themselves feature a flat slope terminating at the bottom of the case. If you take the watch off of the bracelet, it becomes less interesting. For me, this is a package deal. I threw one of the watches onto a nato strap, and while it was a light and comfortable experience, it just didn’t hit as hard visually as the whole kit and caboodle. 

On the right side of the case, you’ll find a textured crown that has the same width cuts as the bezel, bringing some of that pattern outside of its bounds. The crown is large and easy to operate. It rests between two small crown guards that give the watch a toolish vibe. The case is pretty simple by itself, but the few angles that it does have play really well with the bracelet. However, there’s an overwhelming point that many across the internet have brought up, and that’s the plainness and simplicity of the printed dial.

Dial + Hands

I try not to let outside opinions influence me, but this time the internet at large is onto something. The dial of the Pro Pilot X just doesn’t hold its own when compared to the rest of the watch. Let’s rewind a little bit, first. Oris offers the Pro Pilot X Cal. 400 in three variations. There’s a matte gray dial with black accents, a mid-tone blue dial with white accents, and a fun peachy-salmon pink with white accents that honestly feels a bit out of place. All three dials feature the same design and layout. You have thin stick markers for all of the hours, save a double hash mark at 12 and a date window at six. Around the outside of the hash marks there’s thinner markings for each minute and a separate wider hash for each hour with a tiny gap between the main marker and its smaller counterpart.

Oris’ word mark is printed at 12, while “PROPILOT X” with “5 DAYS” beneath it are rendered in small, fine text just above six. At six there’s a rectangular date window cut into the dial that’s finished with a gentle chamfered edge. The date wheel itself is black with white printing on the gray dial, while the blue and pink feature white wheels with black printing. Either way, neither match particularly well and I would love to see a color matched date wheel in its place. 

Now, the Pro Pilot X cal. 400 is not a cheap watch, and I don’t want to say that pad printing is “cheap”, but it something just feels off. Between the awesome bracelet, angular case, and aggressive bezel, the dial falls a bit flat. Now, I do believe that having something too busy could be a bit overboard, but give us something here. Maybe some applied indices? A sandwich dial with two layers? Maybe some carved blocks of lume? I’m not a watch designer by any means, but I do strongly believe that the dial could use some punching up. Of the three, the gray dial with black accents is my favorite and looks the most premium of the bunch, but the white printing on the blue and pink dials doesn’t really fit the vibe. 

The hour and minute hands are sleek looking — for the hours, you’ll see a tapered pencil style hand that reminds me of the Washington Monument. The minutes hand mimics the same look, but it is much thinner. There’s also the matter of the lume that needs to be addressed. Each of the hands are filled with lume that is really lacking in power. Even though this isn’t a traditional pilot’s watch, there’s still “Pilot” in the name. There should be lume and it should glow longer and brighter than that on the PPX. While the dial is a bit disappointing, there’s still a lot to like about the watch. One such thing is the new Oris Caliber 400.


If you ask a room full of watch enthusiasts what they’d look for in a workhorse movement, there’s a good chance that questionnaire would come out looking a whole lot like the spec sheet for Oris’s new in-house movement. Dubbed the Caliber 400, this movement has a lot to like. The 400 looks like a workhorse movement. There’s a lot of matte and brushed finishing and it’s not the most beautiful movement to look at, but the specs and performance speak for themselves. Beating away at 28,800 bph, the 400 has 21 jewels that keep the movement running smoothly.

There’s the standard three hand drive with a date function. The date features an instant rollover at midnight, and snaps over with an authoritative click. Pull out the crown, and you can hack the seconds hand for precision time setting. Here’s where things get really interesting — the movement features a class-leading 120 hour (or 5 day) power reserve. They achieved this power reserve through the use of a twin barrel system, with each barrel containing its own independent mainspring that each provide 2.5 days of power to the movement. 

Oris has made use of antimagnetic components as well, resulting in a more robust movement. By using more than 30 non-ferrous components, the watch can be exposed to stronger than normal amounts of magnetism without going out of whack. If you look closely at the movement, you can get a glance of the silicon escape wheel and anchor, which are a shiny shade of dark blue. Oh yeah, and it also achieves a very accurate rating of -3/+5 seconds per day — better than a chronometer. There’s more though…the movement features a 10 year warranty and service interval, which should help quell any hesitations you may have with investing in a brand new movement.

The cherry on top is that when you position the rotor in just the right position and take a glance through the case back, you’ll be looking into the “eyes” of everyone’s favorite watch mascot, the Oris Bear himself. There’s a lot to like about the caliber 400. For a brand new workhorse movement, Oris have really gone above and beyond. Time will tell how they hold up, but with the warranty to back it and Oris’ longstanding good name in the world of watches, I think they have a hit on their hands.

Strap + Wearability

The bracelet is one of the most interesting parts about the watch. It’s angular and highly articulated, with each brushed titanium link reflecting the light back at you as you roll your wrist. It’s just shiny enough to be interesting, but still very much low key. Is matte bling a thing? It certainly is here on the Pro Pilot X. The bracelet is made up of a bunch of medium-sized links that are flanked with smaller angled links. It’s kind of hard to describe. It reminded me of the scales on a snake’s belly that help channel sand and debris out of the way. A large ventral scale in the middle, flanked by dorsal scales on either side. Why do I know this? Yes, I spent a lot of time reading about reptiles as a kid. Yes, I had a pet snake at one point. Yes, that point in time was also when I had blue hair. No, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. 

Overall, the bracelet has an organic, yet angular feel to it that I found to look awesome and feel great when on my wrist. The high degree of articulation made it comfortable to wear, while the lightweight and almost silky feel of titanium furthered that experience. To keep the bracelet closed Oris has drawn some inspiration from the seatbelts you would find on an airplane. The clasp snaps down with a satisfying click, and is opened by lifting on a spring loaded flap of titanium. Once you lift this flap, the clasp releases and you’re no longer bound by the endless constraints of time. Or maybe you just don’t go to sleep with a watch on, I’m not one to judge. Both the bracelet and clasp are excellent features that really make the Pro Pilot X interesting. 

Pop the Pro Pilot X on a 20mm strap, and the watch becomes almost a completely different animal (it’s no longer a snake). Since much of the angularity is removed along with the bracelet, the watch reads much more plain. For me, the only way to wear this watch is on the bracelet. It gets a little bit boring when on a strap, and with the shortcomings of the dial we mentioned earlier, there’s not a whole heck of a lot going on. It is just a hair lighter on a strap, and if you own this watch, that might be a nice change of pace from time to time. If I owned this watch, I can confidently say that it would stay on the bracelet 99.9% of the time. For me, they’re a package deal.



There’s a lot to like about the Oris Pro Pilot X. It’s stealthy, light, interesting to look at, sports a killer bracelet, and is extremely comfortable to wear. There’s a brand new movement that’s backed with a 10 year warranty that’s absolutely packed with features that enthusiasts ask for. At 39mm, it’s right in the sweet spot for most people. It’s really easy to write a watch review when three $4300 watches show up at your doorstep and you get to play around with them. It’s a different thing when you’re dropping your own hard earned cash. I try my best to put myself in those shoes when reviewing watches. 

There’s no getting around the fact that the PPX is expensive and there is fierce competition in that price range. You could snag a Grand Seiko sporting world-class finishing with a super reliable and highly accurate quartz movement. You could buy a Tudor Black Bay 58 and then spend the left over hundreds on a nice trip. Heck, you could buy a true pilot’s watch from one of the original manufacturers for a fraction of the price. Even with all these options, the Pro Pilot X from Oris still stands out. It’s stealthy and interesting, and doesn’t really look like anything else out there. Do yourself a favor and get to your nearest Oris AD and try one on. 

I try to do my best with photos, but having taken them after writing the review, much is lost between looking at photos on a screen and seeing the watch in the real world. Am I still as excited about the watch now that I’ve spent some time with it? Honestly, yes. It wouldn’t be the first large purchase if I was just starting a collection. Some days you just want to go under the radar, keep things subdued, but still know you’ve got a heck of a watch on your wrist. To me, that’s where the Pro Pilot X fits in.

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Ed is a Long Island-based writer and photographer with an affinity for watches, fountain pens, EDC gear, and a great cup of coffee. He’s always looking for the best gear for the job—whether it be new watch, pen, flashlight, knife, or wallet. Ed enjoys writing because it’s an awesome (and fulfilling) way to interact with those who share the same interests.