One of the Swiss watchmaker’s most iconic styles, the Oris Big Crown pilot watch, has been around since 1938. But what sets this new release apart from all that have come before it is what’s on the inside — a new hand-winding mechanical movement made by Oris called the Calibre 473.
If you don’t know Oris, it’s an independent Swiss watch brand founded in 1904. Compared to other big-name Swiss watch brands, Oris watches are a great value. Despite the age and pedigree of the company, developing its own movements (a term for the spring, gears, and other inner workings of a mechanical watch) in the modern era is a relatively new initiative. That’s because many Swiss watch companies were forced to give up on making their own in-house mechanical movements when the rise of quartz watches cratered the Swiss watch industry in the 1970s and 1980s — an era often referred to as the “quartz crisis.”
But the recent boom in mechanical watch collecting has caused a resurgence in the making of in-house movements. That is, watch movements developed and manufactured by the brand that makes the rest of the watch. Now in just the 10th year of its in-house movement program, Oris is marking this milestone by putting its new hand-wind Calibre 473 movement in its classic Big Crown pointer date pilot watch.
So what’s the new movement? Well, you can see it yourself — through the see-through sapphire crystal case back. The Calibre 473 has a 120-hour power reserve — wind it once, and it runs for five days — and there’s actually a mechanical hand visible through the case back, with markers from zero to 120, that shows you exactly how much of your power reserve is left. Another benefit of a hand-winding movement over a self-winding movement is that there is no weighted rotor required, which allows the watches to be thinner.
The blue dial is distinctive and eye-catching, with a red-tipped pointer hand for the date — with days indicated by a hand sweeping around the dial rather than by using numerals in a date window. There are simple and classic hour and minute hands and 12-hour numerals with Super-LumiNova for night viewing, as well as a subdial for seconds at the 6 o’clock position on the dial. This subdial, often called “small seconds,” gives a visual accent reminiscent of a classic military watch.
The 38-millimeter stainless steel case is an accommodating proportion that will fit nearly all wrist sizes while still retaining the easy legibility that a pilot watch was designed for. A screw-in crown, keeping the movement safe from jostling and allowing for a respectable 50 meters of water resistance. The brown leather strap is made of sustainable deer leather by the Swiss leather maker Cero Volante and has an Oris butterfly steel clasp with a fine adjustment system.
The Big Crown Calibre 473 comes with a 10-year warranty and costs $4,400.