Oris launched their new Big Crown Pro Pilot X in London, England on the 10th September and we were kindly invited to the launch to find out what this watch is all about.
While the watch debuted amongst a 3 day event in Shanghai, China on the 5th September, you would be forgiven for asking why a Swiss watch company would launch a product outside of Switzerland or indeed Europe, however its clear this was more than a watch launch. Allow me to explain…
Oris has had at its core the focus of “Real watches for real people” to deliver affordable quality swiss timepieces, and to this extent their core range are based on Sellita movements fitted with their signature red-rotor. However in 2014, Oris in celebration of 110 years of watchmaking, launched their first in-house calibre in 35 years and named it appropriately ‘Calibre 110’. Since then each year, Oris has released another successive calibre in the series: the calibre 111 in 2015, calibre 112 in 2016, calibre 113 in 2017 & calibre 114 in 2018 all showing innovation and investment in their watchmaking.
The new Big Crown ProPilot X includes the new ‘calibre 115’ which takes that innovation to another level. This movement was designed from the outset to be skeletonised and on display. It is a manually wound calibre beating away at 21,600 beats per hour (or 3hz) featuring a small seconds and a non-linear power reserve indicator. The titanium case (a mixture of grade2 and grade 5 case pieces) has been designed to be assembled around the calibre without requiring traditional movement spacers or retainers. As you can imagine the tolerances required to do this are exacting – leaving little room for error. However this allows the movement to be on display in all its glory.
The new Pro Pilot X is itself a divisive watch. Although it is named a ‘ProPilot’ which would normally elicit the aspiration of an easy-to-read pilots watch with form following function, this new ProPilot X is a far cry from what a pilot would want – but its not designed for pilots. It takes its inspiration from the design of the ProPilot and builds on it to create something you will want to look at and study – not to tell the time but as a piece of art on your wrist. However, glorious as it is, it is not going to be for everyone. The case is 44mm in diameter, and although the bracelet tapers down the new bespoke clasp jumps back up again in size delivering a more utilitarian aesthetic. Overall the whole watch feels ‘engineered’ like a piece of architecture. It’s not delicately elegant but it is fascinating and alluring at the same time.
What we see here is Oris flexing its muscles and showing what it is capable of. The launch of the Pro Pilot X in Shanghai represents an acknowledgement of the largest watch market in the world and where ostensibly its’ largest customer base will be.
The watch industry asserts a cost of roughly $1m to create a new 3 handed watch calibre and those prices go up considerably with additional complications to the calibre. Oris is continuing to innovate and invest in its future having now released 6 calibres in as many years and is showing no signs of letting up any time soon. Aside from the financial investment, it takes years to design and develop a new calibre. There was almost a hint of excitement when we mentioned to Rolf Studer (Oris’s CEO) that the Calibre 116 must clearly be in development – his response alone said everything. “That will be something special”
Watch: Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot X
Reference: 115 7759 7153 7 22 01 TLC
Case: 44mm Titanium case
Movement: Manually wound 3hz with 10 day power reserve and small seconds
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Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot X