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Hands-On: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch

Hands-On: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Hands-On

I’ve always appreciated Oris, having handled or worn most of its offerings at some point or another in my nearly five years of being in watch media. However, none of its watches captured my attention enough to compel me to do a review or hands-on. That’s been for no reason beyond the fact that there are so many quality watch journalists at aBlogtoWatch and peer outlets that are such big fans of the brand and have a lot more to say about it. The brand that’s been an increasingly dominant player in the ~$2,000 vintage-inspired tool watch space releasing a quasi-futuristic looking $7,200 titanium watch named ProPilot that isn’t really a pilot’s watch at all? The concept itself would be ridiculous if the Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 wasn’t executed so damn well.

Hands-On: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Hands-On

Last week the aBlogtoWatch editorial team did a roundup of our favorite steel sports watches without a waitlist. I really did have a few longstanding choices in mind that deserved the spot as much as any other, but I don’t think anyone was more surprised than I was when I submitted a titanium open-worked watch. Here’s what I had to say in that context:

“Beyond being a truly original new sports watch, the Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 is a case study in how a modern watch brand should move upmarket. Rather than following trends and creating a luxurified version of what’s already in their wheelhouse or a vintage reissue, Oris created something clearly well thought out that’s drastically different from their current lineup. The ProPilot X doesn’t look or feel like anything else on the market, since its angular and architectural design isn’t referencing or reimagining anything. I love the rough finishes that forego typical brushing or polishing, and the deliberate construction around the 10-day power reserve Calibre 115 movement defies the mediocrity most ‘skeletonized’ watches exhibit.”

Hands-On: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Hands-On Hands-On: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Hands-On

The ProPilot X and the in-house Calibre 115 work hand-in-glove as the case of the watch was designed and built around the movement itself. The manual-wind Calibre 115 is left mostly galvanized and in varying shades of gray with gears breaking it up here and there. Really, the entire point of having this open-worked movement is to show off that barrel and mainspring at 12 o’clock. As the mainspring unwinds, the non-linear power-reserve indicator gradually moves downward past the unevenly spaced days. The lower the power reserve gets, the more space those days get on the indicator. It’s neat to consider that the rate of speed of the power reserve hand changes. Though the Calibre 115 has a 10-day power reserve, it can run for up to a couple of days beyond that number, albeit with notably compromised accuracy.

Hands-On: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Hands-On Hands-On: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Hands-On

How a watch looks always informs my subconscious mind of how much it should weigh, even if I know that it’s done in something as lightweight as titanium. This was, once again, the jarring case with the Oris Big Crown ProPilot X when I put it on my wrist. The watch looks like a solid, angularly carved piece of metal that feels like a well-balanced assortment of feathers on the wrist. The ProPilot X measures 44m-wide, just around 12.6mm-thick, and has a 50mm lug-to-lug measurement. I know people are lamenting that it’s not 42mm-wide, but the lug-to-lug is pretty reasonable and keeps things tasteful with size.

Hands-On: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Hands-On

The bezel does some work in reminding us that this watch is in the Big Crown ProPilot family and is inspired by aviation, at least in theory. The turbine inspired pattern on the bezel is nice enough with the chapter ring and crown echoing similar designs, though differently done. That’s really as far as the watch goes in any case embellishments or decor, which is fine for me because the bracelet ties with the movement as a selling point.

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Hands-On: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Hands-On

Hands-On: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Hands-On

To be honest, I was surprised when I saw that the ProPilot X is also available on a leather strap, considering how instrumental the bracelet seems to its identity. That said, Oris might have done well to avail itself of being pigeonholed into the “another integrated bracelet” club. Still, the way lugs and endlinks angle downwards and then plummet down sharply frames the case nicely but also increases the wearing comfort. The bracelet is really comfortable on the wrist and it also makes the watch sit on the wrist in a way that’s noticeably secure. Does the clasp really need to say “lift?” No, not really. Is it easy to use and does it feel highly secure on the wrist? Yes.

Overall, the bracelet is more impressive than the sum of its parts because it’s clear that it was designed for this particular watch in mind. A business that has to answer to a board with shareholders may not feel inclined to invest the time and energy in a product that is so different from its bread and butter offerings, but that holistic approach to the design of the ProPilot X is why it succeeds.

Hands-On: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Hands-On Hands-On: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 Watch Hands-On

In a world where it can seem like watch brands operate like movie studios and release the same IP over and over ad nauseam, it’s so refreshing to see something new and out of one’s comfort zone (even if it somewhat quizzically shares a name with an existing collection). The Oris Big Crown ProPilot X is priced at $7,200 on leather strap and $7,600 on titanium bracelet. You can learn more at oris.ch.

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Comments

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  • bc_from_aus

    I really want to like this more than I do.
    Is the movement functionally any different to the 110?

    • Independent_George

      It’s a full skeleton, not open-worked (sans dial) like a TAG, so there are no plates keeping it all together, just bridges, and, specifically, bridges that are laid out in a certain way to give it a more cohesive look. So it’s a brand new movement. But it tells the time and has a PR indicator, so, functionally, it’s no different than the 111, if that’s your question. Biggest difference, other than a lack of date, is going to be performance. It will not be as accurate as the 111, not that the 11x calibre is known for tight chronometric performance to begin with. Skeletonized watches are generally not as accurate as watches with plates holding it all together.

  • SuperStrapper

    One of the best uses of full titanium I’ve seen in a while, and I can only assume this is due largely to all of the case features and how well they are done. That said as some angles, especially those showing more open plains of metal i still get that dingy and lifeless feel from the material.
    I’d love to see it with a dial, this openworked look isn’t so great. A big portion of this is due to the exposed mainstream ng, a look that has never looked good in any watch regardless of price or pedigree. The mainspring is am important, just unattractive component, and closed/capped mainspring barrels always look better. many will defend thier view as pseudo power reserve indicators and that’s true, but they’re inaccurate and unattractive ones, and this watch actually has a real PR indicator. Seeing the uneven spaces shift about as it unwinds does nothing positive for me.

  • Mikita

    I generally criticize skeletonization in watches < $10k since they usually expose so so finished details and call it a charm, but here Oris made it a feature, not a bug. Well, obviously, the movement finishing is spartan, but they made the whole watch around it. There are some rough edges here and there, but they don't attract the attention and merge with the case, bracelet, etc. 44 mm diameter and 50 mm lug to lug is a bit more than I like for an everyday watch, but this obviously isn't an everyday watch, so why not. Must be satisfying to wind it and see how that huge barrel moves.

  • Guys, you need to watch this video because I totally agree with him

    https://youtu.be/ILlYCD0Wjbo

    • Independent_George

      A couple of points.

      1. No one needs to view any Federico video, ever, unless they decide they want to hate watches.
      2. Do not take advice from Federico. It would be like listening to the used-car guy who sells salvage-title AMGs through Craigslist on how to sell Ferrari’s in Beverly Hills.
      3. My own unscientific survey of calling four ADs in the L.A./Vegas area who received them (not all ADs are carrying them) shows that dealers are selling the bracelet version as soon as they get them.
      4. There are always early-adapter collectors and speculators. The question is how these sell in the next two or three years, after the collector/flipper market becomes saturated and they start popping up for sale on the forums.
      5. This is a halo watch for Oris. From talking to an AD, he believes that Oris doesn’t intend to make that many or make it available to all ADs.

      My own speculative guess, which is every bit as valid as Federico’s and, in my experience, more likely to be correct, is that Oris will sell what they make, especially the bracelet version, and they won’t sit long in display cases. I also guess that this watch will sell better in Europe and North America than in Asia, where the average consumer has larger wrists and where brand positioning is not as consuming.

      • Mikita

        Completely agree, except that I still enjoyed some of his videos. He was damn right about “Filippo Loreti” “luxury” watches.

        • Independent_George

          But did watch enthusiasts really need Fed to point out that Filippo Loreti watches are junk?

          Some people are gonna buy sparkly, cheap Chinese watches and throw them out when they stop running and if the watch lasts two years or longer, they will think it’s money well spent.

          But those people also aren’t watching Fed’s videos. So what’s the point, other than to burnish his credentials as some kind of expert horologist by picking on some very low hanging fruit. But Fed isn’t a horologist. He’s a used watch trader. He and his partner may know what will sell at this time, but they really don’t know that much about watches. And they really don’t care. All they seem to want to know is enough in order to make informed trading decisions. Which is fine, but I am not going down to the Mercantile Exchange and ask a futures trader in veal how to make Osso Buco. Maybe he knows! But it’s much more likely he’ll say “who cares. Veal is down. I’d sell.”

    • Duke Silver

      Does he think it’s a Future Massive or a Classic Bust?

  • DanW94

    I like this watch. The dial skeletonization is nicely done resulting in a cohesive design. Much better than say, the Zenith Defy skeleton which looks like a spaghetti inspired design (IMO). The real star is the 10 day power reserve movement. It may not be bevelled or polished but it does offering a visually pleasing architecture. My only niggle is the size. 42mm would have been nice but perhaps they needed the extra room to fit that impressive mainspring barrel in there.

  • Henrik

    I’m sure it’s for somebody, just not me.

  • funkright

    I tried this watch on at the branded Oris dealer in Amsterdam the other week, light as a feather (on bracelet) and extremely tempting. Much more compelling than Omega’s new Ti sport watch designed with Rory McIlroy.

  • ray h.

    It’s a cool detail, why don’t you like it ??

    • seoulseeker

      Because it’s a tacky detail

  • ray h.

    Missing snob appeal is the bottom line of all these reviews of this piece. If it said Rolex people would be lined up to the moon and back to buy them for resale.The watch market is about reselling watches on ebay etc To the few (must be very few) who really want a nice watch.

  • cluedog12

    Really like this watch. The handset seems wrong for this watch. The hands are roundish and traditional, while the rest of the case is angular and edgy.

  • funkright

    When it starts to move into Omega’s other products they’ll still be twice the price of this piece. And this comment comes from a guy who only owns Omega right now. I may try to pick pick this Oris up in the future! Until then this stays firmly on my wrist…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7fe8d2d4c3a7d4d56263671d214e0a9a6de248f6f2b28c314519118ba896b2af.jpg

  • JosephWelke

    I prefer Siemens. Smoother ride.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Lift ! Well thanks for that, I might have been at it all day trying to figure it out. That aside it’s all rather , well, grey. They are a little cheeky on the pricing but i would definatly be gratefully to recieve one as a gift.
    Haven’t done one for a while, here’s a wee loom shot.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ef80cdafcab0423989db6d6e34d4a72f069826d3aca4e13dcea4bf62cb07b642.jpg

  • Marius

    Arse biscuits. Missed that; not sure if it was a typo or autocorrect!

  • Yanko

    I never liked skeletons. Albrecht Dürer liked them a lot.

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