July 27, 2022
For the most part, pilot’s watch designs are closely tied to military aviation. Given the legibility, ruggedness, and dependable functionality military pilots need, military-issued watches generally translate well to civilian use. For enthusiasts seeking an aviation-ready timepiece without warlike connotations, however, selections have been few and far between. Oris aims to change that with its latest releases, a pair of new limited-run designs created to celebrate and support the work of Wings of Hope, an international humanitarian organization that provides airlifted medical support to 65,000 people a year in some of the world’s poorest and remotest communities. The new Oris Wings of Hope Limited Edition models offer a clean, classic sub-seconds look paired with capable in-house movements and attractively rustic deer leather straps.
Oris offers the Wings of Hope Limited Edition series in two different case sizes, depending on case material. The 40mm-wide stainless steel model is balanced and modern on the wrist, while the case form itself is a restrained take on traditional sports watch cues. The long tapering brushed lugs, tightly packaged vertical case sides, oversized pillbox crown, and narrow sloping polished bezel should all be elements familiar to enthusiasts. Oris keeps the overall presentation simple and straightforward here. By contrast, the 38mm-wide diameter of the optional 18k yellow gold case gives these same elements a far more vintage cast, with a compact, almost demure feel on the wrist. Thanks to the greater weight and visual presence of gold, this smaller model avoids feeling undersized on the wrist but is far from ostentatious in its presentation as well. Both variants are topped with generously sized sapphire display casebacks, offering nearly unimpeded views of the in-house movements within. Both models in the Oris Wings of Hope Limited Edition series offer 50 meters of water resistance, a number that feels significantly underwhelming considering the use of screw-down crowns here.
Both models in the Oris Wings of Hope Limited Edition line share the same basic dial layout. There are more than a few superficial similarities to 2021’s Big Crown Pointer Date Calibre 403 here, with crisp rounded Arabic numerals, straight sword hands, and a handsomely minimal railroad scale for the 6 o’clock running seconds subdial. Where that model added the brand’s signature pointer date complication and corresponding outer date track, the layout here is cleaner and airier, with a light outer minutes scale and a breezy sense of negative space. The use of color for these models also drastically changes the look of this layout in practice. The 40mm stainless steel model opts for a brisk minty green for its hours numerals, which offers a smooth contrast to the blazing red of the needle seconds hand without overpowering the delicate matte-white base dial. For the 38mm gold model, the visual real estate is naturally reduced, leading to a pleasingly busy feel overall, and the brand aims to complement the warmth of the gold case and handset with hours numerals in an attractive caramel brown. Both dials keep their layouts simple and balanced thanks to no-date displays, although the nuanced differences between the two add up to notably different wearing experiences on the wrist.
Oris powers both versions of the Wings of Hope Limited Edition with its in-house Calibre 401 automatic movement. As the sub-seconds variant of its flagship Calibre 400, the Calibre 401 is a robust and impressively modern powerplant, with hard-hitting performance figures including a 10-year service interval, chronometer-grade accuracy of -3/+5 seconds per day (although the brand notably does not submit these movements to COSC for certification), and a massive 120-hour power reserve at a 28,800 beat rate. Like the rest of the Wings of Hope Limited Edition, the Calibre 401’s finishing is clean and subdued rather than spectacular, but the crisply matte three-quarter plates, the exposed jewels, the brushed skeleton rotor, and the exposed balance wheel all give the design a thoughtful and refined look. The Cervo Volante deer leather straps Oris fits to the Wings of Hope Limited Edition give these designs an added layer of character. With a stitchless minimal design, nuanced texture, and warm honey brown hue, this strap option gives the series a much-needed touch of vintage ruggedness, while also feeling soft and supple right from the start.
With robust in-house movements, unique strap options, and a smartly subtle design that brings awareness to a truly worthy cause, the Oris Wings of Hope Limited Edition series is a different breed of pilot’s watch that should find its own bespoke niche among enthusiasts. Only 1,000 examples of the stainless steel Oris Wings of Hope Limited Edition will be made, while the 18k gold Oris Wings of Hope Limited Edition is further limited to only 100 models. MSRPs for the stainless steel and 18K gold variants of the watch stand at 3,300 CHF and 15,500 CHF respectively, as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.