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Review: Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date Watch

  • Aug 23, 2023
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Review: Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date Watch

Since its original inception in 1904, Oris has produced a variety of thoroughly iconic watch families and references, from the Chronoris to the Worldtimer to the more recent Aquis, One timepiece that predates all of these, however, is the Hölstein-based horological outfit’s Big Crown model — a utilitarian pilots watch introduced just before the dawn of the Second World War. And while eight and a half decades have passed since its debut, the Oris Big Crown nato only remains in the brand’s catalog, but also continues to be one of its most popular and best-selling timepieces. Wanting to discover what the latest take on this reference has to offer, we’ve gotten a hold of one of these watches in order to deliver this hands-on review of the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date. 

At A Glance

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date Specs

Case Size: 41mm
Lug to Lug: 48mm
Case Thickness: 12.1mm
Lug Width: 20mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement Type: Automatic
Power Reserve: 38 Hours
Movement: Oris 751
Lume: Super-LumiNova
Crystal: Sapphire
Strap: Staggered Three-Link Stainless Steel Bracelet

First Impressions

A Contemporary Take On A Classic

Despite being rooted in history, Oris’ Big Crown ProPilot Big Date has an unmistakably modern appearance and feel to it while still clearly sporting some retro-inspired design cues. The watch’s dial is that of an old-school pilot watch through and through, with a super simple and super legible set of white numerals and a matching white hand-set contrasted via a matte black dial. With the overall simplicity of the design coupled with its sizing, the Big Crown ProPilot Big Date also boasts some mild field watch vibes, though this more speaks to the watch’s general military influence. 

As one would expect from a timepiece from Oris — or really any Swiss-made watch several for over two-grand — the Big Crown ProPilot Big Date’s design has been brought to life using a combination of high-end materials and meticulous manufacterering that ensures a level of fit and finish only seen on true luxury watches. It’s also difficult not to be infatuated with the Big Crown ProPilot Big Date’s turbine-inspired bezel, as this one design decision — which is admittedly helped along by a matching crown — makes this watch substantially more unique while still remaining a relatively understated element visually. 

Turbine-Lined Housing

The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date’s Case

The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date is constructed around a case that measures 41mm across and 12.1mm thick. Water resistant down to 100 meters (or 330’), the watch’s case is made from stainless steel and sports an oversized dial that pushes right to the edge of its thin coin-edge bezel. Speaking of the bezel, this turbine-inspired item gives the watch a distinct and unique look without feeling gimmicky or like a novelty timepiece. What’s more, this motif has also been bestowed upon the watch’s crown, as well as the perimeter of its exhibition caseback. Sporting 20mm lugs, the case has also been decorated in vertical brushing that runs across the main housing and extends to its lugs. Overall, the case features a timeless look that does a terrific job of putting an updated twist on a classic design, while still remaining true to its predecessors both visually and in terms of its utilitarian nature as an aviation tool. 

Gussied Up Minimalism

The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date’s Dial

A monumental part of what makes the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date so special is undoubtedly its dial. Sitting beneath a large double domed sapphire crystal with an interior antireflective coating, this matte black dial features numerals at each hour — save for 3 o’clock where a date window is located — that have been complemented via square markers. A classic “Oris” logo sits below 12 o’clock while “Big Crown ProPilot” is displayed below. The words “Swiss” and “Made” are also separated by the dial’s 6 o’clock marker. A chevron-inspired marker at 12 o’clock adds a bit of extra flavor to the mix, as does the red-tipped seconds hand that circles the dial alongside a set of white sword-style hour and minute hands. The numerals, markers, and hands have also been generously coated in Grade A Superluminova BG W9 lume. 

In-House-Modified Sellita

The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date’s Movement

The Big Crown ProPilot Big Date is kept ticking via one of Oris’ 751 movements — an in-house-developed automatic movement that’s based on the Sellita SW 220-1 but uses its own proprietary big date complication. Equipped with 26 jewels and a beat rate of 28’800 A/h, the Oris 751 auto movement offers a power reserve of 38 hours, which is nothing to write home about, especially on a watch at this price point, as there are sub-$500 timepiece with more-than-40-hour reserves on the market. Limited power reserve aside, it’s a great little workhorse of a movement that manages to improve on an already tried and true workhorse of a watch movement. 

Standard Three-Link

The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date’s Bracelet

Though the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date is offered with a variety of strap and band options, the watch comes standard with a staggered three-link stainless steel item with a snap closure with a notably aviation themed “LIFT” clasp to secure or disengage the assembly — a cheeky but fun nod to the watch’s roots in aviation. Sadly, this bracelet doesn’t feature Oris’ micro-adjustment system. Oris does also offer a variety of other straps specifically for this watch, including textile, rubber, and leather strap options that retain the quirky “LIFT” hardware clasp. What’s more, with a 20mm lug, finding additional aftermarket straps and bands is also a breeze. 

Conclusion

Final Thoughts On The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date Watch

Modern takes on classically-styled pilot watches are by no means a new or novel concept. Despite the over saturation of this segment, Oris has managed to put a truly clever and unique modern spin on this watch — a feat achieved through bestowing it with a host of character-bolstering elements that are still largely subtle and understated. From the turbine-inspired elements to the unique 12 o’clock markers to the generally spartan pilot-style dial to the red-tipped seconds hand; all of these aspects come together to make a fantastic timepiece. So, while it may not possess the same level of flash as its higher-priced titanium-cased counterparts or the same level of value as some of its micro brand-made competitors, the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date is definitely worth a look for anyone that’s in the market for an attractive and modern take on a pilot watch that can still pull daily-wear duties — all without literally skipping a beat. 

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date

A minimalistic yet modern take on a highly-legible pilots watch. Made in Switzerland, the watch features unique turbine-inspired elements, a stainless steel case with a 100-meter water rating, and an in-house-developed Serita-based automatic movement. These minor variations on the classic pilot watch formula manage to modernize and elevate the genre — and do so while remaining a true luxury watch, with the overall fit and finish one would expect from a premium Swiss brand.

Pros
  • Outstanding fit & finish
  • Powered by Swiss-made automatic movement w/ proprietary big date complication
  • Bracelet (& available bands) use unique “LIFT” hardware clasp
  • Case features turbine-inspired bezel, crown, & caseback
  • Ultra-legible dial accented via red-tipped seconds hand
Cons
  • Power reserve limited to only 38 hours
  • Doesn’t offer the best value
  • Bracelet doesn’t have micr-adjustment points

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by menshealthfits.
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