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Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Debut

Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Debut Watch Releases

Swiss Oris does something really different for 2019 with the brand new Oris Big Crown ProPilot X collection that includes the new exclusive Calibre 15 movement. The first part of this news piece will talk about the watch industry context within which a watch like this is born, and then I’ll proceed to discuss the watch itself. While this article does not include hands-on images of the ProPilot X (“PPX,” as I believe it will be called), I was able to personally check out the watch with Oris at Baselworld 2019.

The watch industry is finally coming off of its vintage watch re-issue kick — because consumers (and brand managers) have had enough. Vintage re-issue watches were popular for a number of reasons, but mainly because they were a safe bet and consumers seemed to favor them, for a while. Oris has been a company that, for the most part, was into modern timepieces, but really embraced the vintage watch re-issue trend with gusto — and it earned the brand a good degree of success with consumers. Eventually, mechanical watch brands started to realize that there really isn’t a future in just regurgitating the past. Plus, innovation and fresh designs are needed to keep customers interested.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Debut Watch Releases

At the same time, the “bracelet watch,” such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, has been experiencing a relative surge in popularity with consumers. There are a number of reasons for this, but these watches are different from tool watches (which is the traditional forte of Oris) in a number of key ways. Gerald Genta is being so widely celebrated for his work these days because he saw past the appeal of the tool watch and understood that functional jewelry was one important future for mechanical watches. Thus, a “bracelet watch” is really functional men’s jewelry… and that is what Oris has produced with the ProPilot X (they just find it so difficult to say that).

The Oris PPX press release comes with an interview in which Oris executives do a pretty good job explaining where the Oris ProPilot X came from, but they never really get around to explaining why it was made, and for whom. That is what I am trying to fill in by explaining that this is really the first dedicated jewelry watch (for men) that I’ve seen from Oris — and something that the “tool watch” company isn’t really accustomed to talking about yet.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Debut Watch Releases

A case in point is the name of the product. Oris actually quotes the designer of the ProPilot X as saying that the PPX is “not a conventional pilot’s watch.” The implication is that is wasn’t designed to serve any particular purpose or be on any particular aviation professional’s wrist. Yes, the watch is inspired by some aviation watch aesthetic elements, but I really see this as being an Oris-inspired new watch. The skeletonization and overall aesthetic are really about trying to look cool, have good legibility, and be something that is distinctively Oris. Their job was, first and foremost, to make something pretty. They succeeded. But they didn’t get around to naming it properly.

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In my estimation, the “Big Crown ProPilot” part of the name is a total distraction. Oris will be wise to carve out an entirely new product category. If they can’t find a better name, then they can just call this watch the “PPX Calibre 115” or somesuch. Being part of the Big Crown ProPilot collection just confuses people into thinking the X is a tool watch when it ain’t.

An attractive, legible, technically interesting, and comfortable watch the PPX is. The all-titanium case and available bracelet (there is a strap version, as well) are sharply designed in grade 5 titanium; the case is 44mm-wide and water-resistant to 100 meters. The turbine-style bezel is borrowed from the Oris ProPilot collection, and you see nods to other Oris aesthetics all over the PPX. It does, however, have a brand new case and bracelet (along with the movement), so it is entirely distinct.

What I really found nice is that the dial is legible, albeit skeletonized. Oris made sure that the PPX’s hands are large enough and that the dial still has a traditional hour and minute track. No hand-finishing goes into the movement bridges, so everything has an industrial feel to it. That actually isn’t uncommon these days in watchmaking, and the ProPilot X’s Calibre 115’s movement uses these industrial surface finishes as part of the overall design statement the watch is trying to make.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Debut Watch Releases

The Calibre 115 is another of Oris’ exclusive movements that the brand doesn’t produce but that is designed by them and exclusively made for them. The manually wound movement has a “non-linear” power-reserve indicator (which just means that the power-reserve indicator hand moves at a different rate — your eye won’t notice it moving) and a total power reserve of a very long 240 hours. That is a total of 10 days. In addition to the large power-reserve hand, the dial also has the time and subsidiary seconds dial at 8 o’clock. Oris did not include the frequency of the Calibre 115 watch in its press release, for some reason, but I believe that, if it is like the rest of the Calibre 110 family, it operates at 3Hz.

Oris’ design team did a really nice job with the overall movement bridge skeletonization in order to make the Caliber 110 family into the 115. The overall composition mixes symmetrical elements with asymmetry that I feel nicely plays with the naturally eccentric layout of the dial indicators. In medical photography, the contrast between the elements is always high, but recall that most of the dial colors here are gray — with the brass and ruby tones from the movement being more subtle. In a lot of ways, this is a very “gray” watch, but I do like how, with ample lume and hand contrast, you can still read the time easily.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Debut Watch Releases

While you can get a black leather strap (with Oris’ great “seatbelt buckle” in titanium) on the Oris ProPilot X Calibre 115 watch (reference 115 7759 7153 5 22 04 TLC), I think the wisest route is to go with the intentionally designed matching titanium bracelet. The bracelet on the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 (reference 115 7759 7153 7 22 01 TLC) watch is designed to match the case and is a play on the traditional three-link bracelet, which includes thick facets on the edges for a more modern and three-dimensional look. The price is to be expected for a product this novel and distinctive for Oris, but I wouldn’t call it overpriced. The Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 watch in titanium is $7,200 USD on the leather strap and $7,600 USD on the titanium bracelet. See more at the Oris website here.

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Comments

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  • Jared

    really liking that bracelet

  • david x. droog

    I like it but I fail to see why this is such a departure from the earlier caliber 112 etc ProPilots.
    Also, slow down on the ‘functional jewelry’ conspiracy man. We’ve read your column. There’s really no need to bring it up in every other article.

  • cluedog12

    A bracelet watch? You mean a Genta watch. There’s obviously going to be a glut of these on the market in the next two years, so let’s get our slang straight.

    A Genta watch is a business casual sports watch, usually paired with a matching bracelet, that is stylistically inspired by Gerald Genta’s 1970s hits.

    This is a rocking Genta watch, if a bit big for many of us to actually rock. Those who can rock it, rock on!

    Like the neo retro trend, I am going to enjoy the Genta trend for at least the next six months. Already two awesome watches revealed in the last two days. After six months (i.e. following the Baselworld deluge), the hot trend will slowly become tired. After five years, the industry will be ready to move on.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Hell no.

  • Tommy

    Case height?

  • Jason Mirabello

    Sorry but this has Invicta or Nixon vibes all over it

  • Jon Heinz

    This would look great on a custom strap, padded and curved to fit the curve of the case. Matte black skins with grey stitching, perhaps. I like the way they’re going here though.

  • John

    Why would someone buy this watch, if they can buy a Zenith Defy for less? Do you really need a 10 day PR?
    The Zenith Defy looks better, is sized at 41mm too, and is a much higher end brand.
    Also, a Pilots watch is supposed to be very legible, which this watch certainly isn’t.

    • SuperStrapper

      Do you really need a watch?

      • Swiss_Cheese

        Do we really need?

        • SuperStrapper

          Do?

  • funNactive

    I like the design. Shrink it down to 40mm & I’ll get it.

  • SuperStrapper

    It’s not a pilots watch with subsidiary seconds, full stop. So lauding it as “not a conventional pilots watch” is odd hyperbole.
    That said, it’s super cool. RoboCop’s weekend watch. Shame they chose to give it such a lifeless colour in the titanium, but today’s watch wearing soy boy can’t be expected to lug around something so brutal as steel all day, so it’s understandable.
    Personally, I’d love to see to see it with a dial and and centralised seconds, So i could call it a nouveau pilot watch. I bet it would look brilliant. The bezel/rehaut/crown dynamic here is awesome.
    All comments are based on the watch on the bracelet. It looks horrible on the strap.

  • I was excited and considering getting one until I saw the price (sigh). Very cool watch, but a 42 mm case would be even better. At 3K (instead of 7.6K) these things would fly off the shelves.

    • Jared

      why $3,000? why not $20? Just imagine how many they’d sell!

      it always amuses me just how cheap the watch community is when we talk about something that is supposed to be a luxury good. How DARE these companies want to make a profit.

    • Lemme guess Mr Carson .It’s the Zenith Defy Classic that’s actually on your radar? ? Don’t be fooled by the 44 casing, my BFF in Singapore who tried on the PPX today said it wears like a 42 but she was actually blown away by its weight on the bracelet, it felt like nothing, just like wearing a G Shock Gravitymaster Carbon Core Guard maybe even lighter.To put it another way, it means this watch weighs less than the total of 15 sheets of standard A4 paper placed on your wrist!

  • John

    I don’t believe they will sell much of these. I wonder what was Oris’s strategy with this MSRP…
    You got to have rocks in your head to buy this watch for $7,600.

  • NaJo

    Impressive PR and design but 44mm is big and who would buy an oris at $7k! Def not me…

  • Swiss_Cheese

    $7,600 is a pretty jarring leap from the usual $1,500 – $4,500 range that Oris usually sits in. Like the B&R and what’s happening with Seiko prices lately I suppose there is a bit lot of brand profile raising going on lately. As long as they can match the blanket price increases with an actual increase in quality, then good for them say I.

  • John

    When i saw the MSRP on this, i was shocked… Who at Oris thought someone would buy this over a Zenith Defy??

    • paysdoufs

      That‘s indeed the competition Oris has decided to pitch themselves against. Why? – I have no idea…

      • John

        We all know how this competition is gonna end 🙂

        I think this is one of the stupidest moves a watch company has ever made.

    • BNABOD

      yup Zenith for me I am strangely attracted to the blue skeletonized Defy version plus it is smaller….and cheaper

  • Which pilot would ever wear a watch with such an unreadable dial? Believe me, when you’re driving a plane you want to read the time as soon as possibile and all those silly gears, springs, barrels and so on are completely useless

  • paysdoufs

    Don’t ask me where. But I believe I have read 51.5mm. Also, beware – it looks like the end links are fixed and protrude beyond the lugs.

  • paysdoufs

    😉
    [IMG]https://b34959663f5a3997bd0d-2668915a1d3a077262c88fab6aa0aa02.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/18780001_1_640.jpg[/IMG]

  • Norman

    Oris had one of the most successful roll-outs I’ve seen in a while. Seemed like every watch sites’ lead on the same day. Stellar marketing.

  • bc_from_aus

    Have been waiting for the Calibre 115 but was really hoping Oris would do something with the Artelier line.

    • ???

      Initially they have tried to put the concept version of this movement in the Artelier case but no one liked it.

  • Oris El Primero Carrera Skeleton Hublot.

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