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Oris Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 114 Watch Review

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 114 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

My primary attraction to watches has always generally focused on tool watches. I buy a lot of divers, I like pilots watches, and in my eyes, nothing beats a good chronograph. However, one of the purest forms of watch complication for my use remains a GMT (or a second-time-zone–more on this later) function. GMT watches have a lot of practical uses, especially with travel, business, or for those people who have family that they communicate with frequently in different time zones.

Personally, I mostly use this function when I travel. In some senses, a GMT serves to “ground” me to home when I travel, allowing me to see at a glance that if I text Mom from Italy whether or not I’ll get a response. Oris has developed an excellent option in this space with their Oris Big Crown Propilot Caliber 114 GMT.

For a long time, Oris has served as a really great gateway into high functioning and high-value pieces. They first introduced the Big Crown Propilot in 1938 with the idea that the oversized crown would offer pilots a better grip with gloved hands. Since that time “Aviation” has developed into one of the brand’s four main focuses. These are often referred to as the four “Oris Worlds” which are diving, aviation, culture, and motorsports.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 114 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Oris Big Crown Propilot Calibre 114 is the newest addition to the aviation line, offering an enormous amount of functionality featuring Oris’ newest in-house movement. I covered its release during Baselworld 2018 and knew it was something that I wanted to take a closer look at. An upcoming trip to Southern Italy offered the perfect opportunity for me to use this watch as it was intended.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 114 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Caliber 114 Movement

I’m going to address the movement right up front as I think it’s the biggest topic and most interesting aspect of this particular watch. The movement in the Big Crown ProPilot is the Caliber 114. This is Oris’ fourth modern in-house movement. Oris began developing in-house movements in 2014 after a 35-year break. The four existing Oris in-house movements (Calibers 110, 111, 112, 113) and the new 114 are all hand-wound, 10-day power reserve movements.

What makes the Caliber 114 unique amongst these is the 30-minute granularity that you get with the GMT complication. The hand adjusts in two “clicks” (if you will) per hour, allowing you to account for timezones in places like Newfoundland, India, and Australia among others. This feature in itself is very specific and will likely not be overly applicable to most end-users, but that doesn’t negate the interest and appeal of this sort of meticulous movement making.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 114 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The movement is hand-wound, as I stated above, and boasts a 10-day power reserve. On the dial at 3 o’clock, you’ll see what Oris calls a non-linear power reserve indicator. So, what does “Non-Linear” mean? Well, basically the power reserve indicator hand does not move at a consistent rate. The more the mainspring is wound the slower the power reserve indicator moves. This is easily seen when you look at the size of each day on the dial. The size of each day’s span on the power reserve shrinks as you get close to being fully wound. This is esoteric but it sets Oris apart from the crowd.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 114 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

My trip to Italy was 9 days long and I left on Friday, November 9th and wound the watch on that Thursday. We landed back home on the 18th, and it still had some power reserve left which is remarkable to me. Oris takes great pride in their ability to provide 240hrs of running time out of a single barrel. The mainspring when uncoiled is 1.8m in length when laid flat. This also means that it takes a solid 30 seconds or more to wind it fully. Flaw or feature? I’m not sure. I like it, but you can’t wind it as you run out the door. That’s just the trade-off you make.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 114 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Next, let’s go over some GMT stuff. The Oris Big Crown Propilot Caliber 114 is what some in the business call a “caller’s GMT,” meaning simply that the GMT hand itself is quick set. This is in contrast to what’s sometimes called a “flyer’s GMT,” meaning that the local hour hand is quick set. The idea being that with a flyer’s GMT you can get off a plane and adjust the local time to your new time zone leaving the GMT hand where it was, whereas with the caller’s GMT where you adjust the GMT hand leaving the local time alone (think to track a time zone you’re not in). Both of these movements have their place, but for an actual traveler’s watch, I greatly prefer being able to adjust the local hour hand independently.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 114 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

On my trip, I passed through three separate time zones (CST, EST, and CEST), in each of these timezones I had to first adjust the local time, then adjust the GMT back to my home time zone. Whereas with a flyer’s GMT you could simply jump the hour hand forward. Now, as granular as this seems, it makes a difference when you want to adjust your watch on the fly as opposed to needing to sit down and consult a local clock. This is excusable to me if you’re using a drop-in GMT movement like an ETA 2893. However, in Oris’ case, these are entirely in-house movements. I can’t help but question their decision in this area.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 114 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Case

The Big Crown ProPilot family of watches tend to be larger pieces, some models reaching close to 50mm (like the Oris Altimeter). The Caliber 114 sits comfortably at 44mm according to both Oris and my calipers. More importantly, the lug to lug measurement is a hair under 53mm, and the case thickness is around 14.5mm. I would feel comfortable classifying this as a larger watch, but it wears comfortably on my ~7” wrist. When you begin to consider the amount of information being conveyed on the dial it makes sense why Oris has chosen to make these watches as large as they are, they needed the real estate.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 114 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Moving past the case itself you’ll notice the signed 8mm “Big Crown,” a hallmark of the product line. It’s screw down, and tastefully jimped. This crown is also how you’ll wind the watch every week-and-a-half-ish so it’s good that you can get a solid grip on it.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Caliber 114 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Flipping the watch over you’re treated to the remarkable display case back. Inlayed into it is a 33mm sapphire crystal offering you a panoramic view of Oris’ manufacture Caliber 114. On the far extremities of the caseback you’ll see some cross-hatched knurling (almost a coined edge) which is mirrored on the bezel surrounding the dial. This is another trademark of the ProPilot product line.

This robust case paired with the screw down crown affords this pilot watch a healthy 100m water resistance while not looking overly thick or overbuilt in any aspect. During my time with the piece, I found it comfortable and unobtrusive in my day-to-day life. It may have some challenges fitting under a tailored shirt sleeve, but this watch really would prefer to be on an adventure rather than in the boardroom.

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Comments

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  • NaJo

    $6000 hamilton! I mean oris.. sorry NOooooo. 10 day reseeve manufacture; doeant matter

  • Ugo

    i really like Oris aestethics.
    i like fonts on the dial, i like the hands, i like general disposition.
    that said, this watch is a mess.
    the two subdials have different size and they unbalance everything.
    i don’t know who passed the date window in that position but i hope he’s now working in some takeaway pizza chain…
    then there’s the flyer/caller problem Aaron already pointed out, the fact that if you want to go picky on the “half hours’ time zones” then you’d need 15 minutes jumps, and the thing that 44 mm is simply too large now that we’ve sobered from the old “larger-than-life dial” fashion.
    and finally, i expect that sooner or later somebody will finally understand that the only one who got the crown position right is seiko.
    i’ll definitely buy a propilot gmt small second as soon as they’ll do it in 41 mm with jumping hours.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Just a quick note about PR’s. 8 10 15 days, who cares. Who can’t resist twisting that lovely big crown every time you put it on. Who thinks , “I’ll wait till I’m in the red before I wind it?….No one, that’s who. Always been a fan of Oris but not this one. Why has the PR become a big complication on some watches. Stick it on the back. The lack of 3 & 9 ruins the whole look with the afore mentioned PR and seconds hands. The date window is a nonsense. I hear the man responsible for its design is now working in Dominoes.

    • Agnar Sidhu

      I also think the PR complication look better on a well decorated movement!

    • With a screw down crown I dont think youd be winding it all that often.

  • cerberus63

    First let me say I love the looks of this watch, and also the Caliber 111. I already own a Big Crown Pro Pilot. I was going to purchase the Caliber 111 and give the other watch to my son. I like the idea of the in house movement and the 10 day power reserve. I have no manual wind watches in my collection, so that also appeals to me. I also love the size for a watch of this type. However, you made one mistake in your review. The back of the case is not covered with a sapphire crystal. Oris uses a mineral crystal. This watch firmly falls into the luxury watch segment. It retails for $6100.00, although even through authorized retailers, can be found for much less. Now for some the mineral crystal might not matter. Its on the back of the watch and unlikely to get scratched. But for me, once I enter this segment, its the details like that that drive me crazy. Fit, finish, and materials used should be top of the line. There are many watches much less expensive that use a sapphire crystal on both front and back. It makes me wonder where else they cut corners in materials used in this watch.

  • Independent_George

    I understand that legibility is a big thing with big pilot watches, but that handset is fugly. They look like something you’d see in a $500 microbrand. This watch deserves better.

  • Travis Cannata

    Great photography man.

  • Mitch

    A Pin and Collar system for the bracelet on a 6K watch is unacceptable at this price point In my opinion. Every pin and collar system I’ve had to deal with is a pain in the Arse to size and should be reserved for low end time pieces. I can’t believe Oris is using this system on a 6K watch. A watch at this price point should definitely be using screw pins for the links.

    • Mountainous Man

      I find it pretty easy to adjust pin and collar systems. Plus, although I’m not sure it’s applicable in this case, the pin and collar allows for flatter links than the screw, although the trend in bracelets these days seems to be the bigger and heavier the better.

  • Eye Heart Sushi

    Hi, Aaron. Would you say most GMTs are “caller” or “flyer?”

    • Most are ‘caller’ type, because these typically use the ETA GMT movement.
      ‘Flyer’ type is less common and is used by Rolex, Tudor, Grand Seiko, Omega, and very few others

      • Eye Heart Sushi

        Thanks, Phillip!

  • TheChuphta

    There’s a lot to like here, especially when you factor in what the actual street price of this will be. I think the Oris Big Crown line has many understated winners.

  • Swiss_Cheese

    Not sure I’ve seen too many nautilus gears in watch movements, so that’s pretty interesting.

  • Brian Russell

    Pretty at first glance, but then the date window. Too big, too.

    Also, if the movement numbering started at 110, the 114 is the 5th in the line – as noted in the sentence right after calling it the fourth.

  • Han Cnx

    I love it, but I’ll wait until Oris realizes that this is Rolex money, or it’s on Jomashop with the customary 70% off; whichever comes first.

  • Nello Alexandri

    Collar and pin on a 6k sport watch? Really?

  • benjameshodges

    Nice view of Amalfi. Beautiful spot. Interesting review of this watch. Regarding called or flyer GMT, it’s a matter of preference but I always insist on having the time of the location I am in on the central hour and minute hands.

  • Nice lume, arguably my favourite aspect of this watch… Also agree with what others are saying, PR comp is too big and should probably be on the backside.

  • AW

    Christopher Ward C8 Power Reserve has aviation styling and 5-day hand-wound movement. No GMT hand, but you can get one for 2000$.