If you haven’t looked at Oris Big Crown ProPilot watches in a while, it might be time to give the modern aviator timepiece collection a fresh glance. The very sporty Big Crown ProPilot now has dressier options which offer a brand new look and fashionable versatility to the otherwise straight-forward tool watch collection. Case in point is the Big Crown ProPilot Big Date, which I check out here as the reference 01 751 7761 4063-07 8 20 08P.
Oris uses the term “Big” in the name of the watch twice – a misnomer. The “Big Crown” name comes from the fact that some of the more classic-looking Oris Big Crown pilot watches literally have a rather large crown. They also try to suggest that the date window is large, but in fact a “big date” is suggestive of a complication that does not exist on this watch. The case is an excellent – not big – size, being 41mm wide and about 13mm thick given the domed sapphire crystal. With that said the Big Crown ProPilot Big Date wears slim on the wrist – a welcome thing for just such a watch.
Lug-to-lug distance is about 49mm, which is a very reasonable size. What I most like about the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date is its wearability on the wrist. It is also a decent sport-style watch with 100 meters of water resistance and a rather legible dial. Here you see the watch in the available matching steel bracelet – but most versions of the Big Crown ProPilot are sold on various strap options. Note that as of writing, Oris offers a full 21 versions (on their website) of the Big Crown ProPilot Big Date across various dial colors and strap options. There are at least four versions of this “grey” colored dial version between the various strap options.
Those familiar with Oris Big Crown ProPilot watches will recognize the case design, but also notice how Oris took steps to more attractively finish the steel case. A lot of the existing ProPilot watch cases are given a more industrial-style single finishing. This new assortment of Big Crown ProPilot Big Date (available in other styles as well) has a contrast polished case with both brushed finishing and mirror-polished accents. This new finishing style really does upgrade the look of the case, and helps bring out the particular “turbine-style” bezel which makes the ProPilot family distinctive.
The next upgraded area is the dial, which now features raised hour markers. The metallic gray dial mixed with the minimalist (yet complete) set of Arabic hour numerals and properly-sized hands is very readable, and it is a testament to Oris’ attention for detail that the date disc is colored to match the hue of the watch face. Even though the date window might be a tad larger than other date windows, I’m not sure that calling this watch “Big Date” was really necessary or wise given the likelihood of confusion (big date complications use two discs to indicate the date (with one numeral on each disc).
Dial luminant is good and while the watch face does not offer much decorative flair, it makes for an excellent all-purpose conservative dressy-style but also sport watch. Gray as a dial color is a wise option given that the color matches most outfits pretty well. I do appreciate how Oris uses a nicely domed sapphire crystal, but in my opinion this and many other Oris watches could benefit from loads more AR-coating. While legibility is not really an issue given the clarify of the dial, having less glare to look at would further upgrade the look of this and other Oris watches.
Inside the watch is what Oris calls their caliber 751 automatic movement. It is a base Swiss Made Sellita SW220-1 that is given a signature red Oris automatic rotor. The display caseback offers a view of the movement, though it would have been nice for the base movement to be a bit more finely decorated (as it would go with the dressier theme Oris seems to be going for with the ProPilot Big Date timepiece collection. The movement operates at 4Hz with 38 hours of power reserve.
Attached to the watch is a three-link tapered bracelet which compliments the look of the ProPilot Big Date pretty well. My favorite part of the bracelet is the deployant clasp. It isn’t brand new for this watch, but it is newer for Oris and is based on the opening system of cockpit seatbelts. It not only looks cool, but operates comfortably. Though I imagine that the clasp might snatch on things from time to time so I wonder if a security lock might be useful. With that said, the clasp never opened on me. The bracelet otherwise is rather simple and straight-forward. I felt that Oris could have designed a micro-adjust system, or at the least provided a half-link. Oris Aquis diver’s watches have more capable bracelets which include half-links, micro-adjusts, and screw bars between the links. The ProPilot Big Date bracelet is a bit more simple, but for such reasonable prices I don’t think too many will complain.
Oris now offers a serious competitor to the likes of IWC and others with more expensive “lifestyle” pilot watches… that don’t necessarily look like you need to be on your way to, or coming from flying a plane. Oris offers some of the best values in this department which is why I think this and other Big Crown ProPilot watches are so compelling. More expensive luxury watches might offer small refinement enhancement here and there, but Oris is an excellent entry point when wanting an all-purpose watch with some aviation character. Price for the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date watch on a strap is $1,700 USD and price on the steel bracelet is $1,900 USD. Learn more at the Oris website here.