Swiss watchmaker Oris, known to the watch world most prominently for their reasonably priced sport watches, have also produced a number of "classic" pieces more suited for a professional environment. Now, Oris have revitalized the somewhat lesser-known Classic Collection with a totally new watch, the redesigned Oris Classic Date, available in both a male-oriented 42mm as well as a ladies' 28.5mm case size. Both watches feature Swiss-made automatic mechanical movements, anti-reflective sapphire crystals, exhibition casebacks, and are available in a variety of color schemes, materials, and strap or bracelet configurations. While not a ground breaking redesign, certain elements are worthy of notice.
Perhaps the biggest difference from previous time and date only Oris models is the dial, available in white or black, which has been thoughtfully redesigned with a guilloché patterned chapter ring at its circumference, which Oris states is "inspired by the glazed canopy of the Great Court at The British Museum, an iconic glass structure designed by Lord Norman Foster, one of the world’s greatest living architects.” While that’s a little bit romantic for me, the pattern does work on a watch with this kind of styling. Double edged hour markers in either a Roman numeral or baton style are applied on top of the guilloché ring and, according to Oris, ensure the watch “catches the light at any angle.” Fairly basic baton hands with a small helping of luminous material round out the dial which also features a visually well-balanced date window at the 6 o’clock position. Complementing the dial is a new, slightly updated case shape.
Though still a relatively traditional round watch case, the new Oris Classic Date series has a more fluid shape which helps to give the watch a low profile on the wrist. The new case also appears to wrap around the wrist more than previous versions, a change which should make the watch more comfortable. Like previous versions, the Oris Classic Date is available in stainless steel and PVD gold plated case and bracelet combinations. A small knurled ring directly under the polished bezel is a new feature and adds some interest to an otherwise plain case design.
It’s interesting to note the change to only two sizes for the Oris Classic Date, compared to the small, medium, and large options in 29mm, 37mm, and 42mm of the former collection. While not new, the anti-reflective sapphire crystal and exhibition caseback are welcome features in a reasonably priced watch like the Classic Date. Actual timekeeping duties are still handled by movements from the major caliber builders ETA and Sellita.
The larger 42mm Classic Date uses the Oris Caliber 733, essentially a custom rotor on a renamed Sellita SW200, which is in turn more or less the same thing as the venerable ETA 2824. Oris elected the ETA 2671 for their 28.5mm Classic Date, a decision owed largely to the diminutive diameter of the case. While neither movement is an inherent head turner, both are capable, proven automatic Swiss-made calibers which should provide years of trustworthy service as well as capable timekeeping.
Oris’ redesign of their Classic Date collection is a less than ground breaking development but does demonstrate the brand’s motivation to modernize their collection over time with regard to changing trends, especially in case size. As they often do, Oris have created a value proposition for a Swiss watch with a tasteful design and high level of attention to detail for a watch in its price range. While not as distinctive as something like the Oris Aquis Date, the Classic Date should make the jump from vacation to the boardroom a little bit more effortlessly than some of Oris' aggressive sport watches. The Oris Classic Date will retail for between 1,130 CHF and 1,450 CHF depending on which of the no fewer than 44 possible variations you select. oris.ch