Whether it’s the sponsorship of efforts for the preservation of a forgotten island or partnering with Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service, Swiss watch brand Oris has been involved with some pretty cool causes over the years. The latest is a 1931 Dewoitine D.26 airplane that was passed on to Hangar 31, a group of volunteer enthusiasts dedicated to the preservation, training, and maintenance of the aircraft. The Oris Big Crown D.26 Limited Edition is Oris’ latest retro-style pilot model. Featuring a green dial and the Oris Caliber 754 pointer-date movement, the Oris Big Crown D.26 286 HB-RAG is a fun new retro watch that will appeal to enthusiasts looking for a vintage-inspired timepiece with a lot of character and Oris’ reputation for value.
In a welcome change of pace, green dials are becoming more common from a lot of brands – most recently, the well-received Panerai PAM735, 736, and 737 collection, for example. Of course, there was also Oris’ own Divers Sixty-Five with a green dial too, among others. Personally, I find that to be an exciting trend. We have seen a seemingly endless stream of blue dials over the last few years, and as an enthusiast with a number of blue watches myself, I’m beginning to feel a little burnt out. It seemed that all at once everyone wanted to add a blue dial to their rotation, and brands were eager to accommodate. While beautiful in a lot of cases, I’m ready to see some new trends emerge. Well-done green dials are definitely appreciated and something I can get behind.
The Oris Big Crown D.26 will have a stainless steel case measuring in at 40mm. While this may seem small after some of the more recent pilot watch releases, it’s in line with the vintage theme – and there is no shortage of vintage aviation influence here. Just about every feature of the watch is influenced by the military-green cockpit of the Dewoitine D.26 aircraft, and it’s spot on. Oris prides itself on its slim-line case and rounded lugs, taking direct cues and inspiration from the Big Crown watch family that was introduced in 1938. The case features a fluted bezel and an over-sized crown (for winding with gloves on) – something that looks and feels fantastic against the green dial. The dial itself, in keeping tune with the traditional pilot watch design while scoring influence from the cockpit’s gauges, features printed Super-LumiNova Arabic numerals and traditional polished nickel hands. Adding to the old-school inspiration is a domed sapphire crystal, and the inclusion of two leather straps – a dark brown or a tan. Engraved on the caseback is the D.26 plane, along with the limited edition number.
Arguably one of Oris’ signature features, the pointer-date, has been a staple in their Pilot Watch collections since 1938. Operating at 4Hz with a power reserve of 38 hours, the Oris Caliber 754 is a modified Sellita SW200-1 that displays the date in the form of a central red-tipped hand that sweeps around a “date ring” located on the outer dial. While I’ve seen this feature referenced as “distracting” and adding “clutter,” I find it fascinating and fun. The Oris Caliber 754 fits the watch perfectly. The pointer-date function helps make the Oris Big Crown D.26 286 HB-RAG a great option for a vintage-inspired mechanical pilot watch with a unique feature, and the added bonus of not killing a bank account.
Oris has always been one of my favorite brands, in no small part because I love a company that is passionate about being involved in the community and the heritage surrounding them. Good for business? Sure. Great for the world? Even better. Hangar 31’s motto is “Conserve and Fly,” and it seems like Oris was a good fit to come along and live up to that. The Oris Big Crown D.26 286 HB-RAG Limited Edition Ref. No. 01-754-7741-4087-LS will come in a cool leather pouch, be limited to 1,931 pieces (for the year the aircraft was commissioned), and carry a price of 1,850 CHF. oris.ch