March 2, 2017
by Ariel Adams
The Oris Williams Valtteri Bottas Limited Edition is currently at the top of the ladder when it comes to Swiss Oris’ “motorsport” watch collection. When checking it out at Baselworld 2016, it struck me that the racing-themed Oris timepieces might not get as much attention as they deserve when compared to their diving or pilot watches. In all three of the major sport watch categories (diving, flying, driving) there are tons of options for consumers to choose from, and few brands are considered for good options in all three areas. With that said, If you like relatively straightforward tool watches with a lot of nice little nods to the world of Formula 1 and other world-class contemporary racing, the Oris Williams collection such as this limited edition Oris Williams Valtteri Bottas is a good place to look.
What separates this limited-edition Oris Williams Valtteri Bottas model from the non-limited Williams Chronograph Carbon Fibre Extreme watch is a carbon fiber dial and a difference of about $200. I think that is pretty fair. Oris made this reference 01 674 7725 8784-Set 4 24 54BT limited edition of 770 pieces in honor of the Finnish driver Mr. Valtteri Bottas who is on the Williams F1 team – that Oris has been working with since 2003. I don’t know a lot about this guy or that particular F1 team, but his name is on the back of it for those who are interested. I’m sure he is an impressive individual, though as someone who appreciates but doesn’t closely follow Formula 1 racing, it’s just a name and a serious-looking face to me. UPDATE: I just learned (ironically) that Valtteri Bottas is actually currently F1 racing not for Williams but for Mercedes this 2017 season…
As I mentioned, this limited-edition version is based on the non-limited Williams Chronograph Carbon Fibre Extreme but adds a carbon fiber dial to match the carbon fiber case. Carbon fiber cases are not as common these days as you might think – and for the most part, if you want a cool and modern one, it’s gonna cost you Hublot Big Bang money – with the exception of something a lot more accessible like an Oris Williams. Carbon fiber cases are challenging to make and less common these days as brands opt for carbon composite materials which are much more flexible in how you can machine them. With that said, for many people, there is no alternative to the high-tech glossy black weave of carbon fiber.
The Oris Williams case is round with substantial lug structures but it wears well in a classic, yet modern form. Case size is 44mm wide (water resistant to 100 meters) with a structure that combines black DLC-coated titanium with several pieces of carbon fiber. I appreciated how it was put together and that Oris really tried to emphasize the attractive look of the carbon fiber weave as much as possible. Valtteri Bottas must be a serious carbon fiber fan because of how much is used on this watch, including the dial. This is the most “carbon fiberiest” of the Oris Williams watches.
If you don’t opt for this limited edition model you can either get a carbon fiber case with a black dial on the reference 01 674 7725 8764-07 4 24 50BT, or a carbon fiber dial with a steel case on the reference 01 774 7717 4164-07 4 24 50 (rubber strap) or reference 01 774 7717 4164-07 8 24 50 (matching steel bracelet). In my opinion, if you are going to get an Oris Williams watch, you should try to have at least some of it be carbon fiber in order to get the most complete experience for the theme.
With that said, if you aren’t someone who has at least some love for auto racing or fast cars, I’m not sure if these Oris Williams models are the right timepieces for you. This is certainly a watch collection for enthusiasts of quick modern machines on wheels. I’m actually not even the biggest fan of carbon fiber as a watch material, but when applied correctly – such as in a timepiece like this – it makes sense. The sporty, yet sober and legible dial helps the Oris Williams F1 watches feel serious and not gimmicky – as is often the case with other racing-world watches that take the theme a bit too far. You get the distinct notion that this is a serious timepiece first, and only second is it a fun nod to the world of modern motorsports. Speaking of “nods to the world of motor sports,” a fun design quirk in the watch is the starting point of the chronograph subdial hands. rather than begin at the typical zero position, they are design to emulate to look of analog speedometer or rev counters on cars and have a zero position at about 8 o’clock on the subsidiary dials. Fun right?
The non-carbon fiber dials in the Oris Williams watches have baton-style hour markers, while these carbon fiber dials instead mix stopwatch-style minute markers and normal hour markers for a fun, sporty look that is nevertheless still very readable. As a chronograph, we have a familiar Swiss Valjoux 7750 subdial layout, with the date complication window neatly integrated into the chronograph hour counter subdial over 6 o’clock. High contrast hour markers and hands pop out nicely against the otherwise dark face and case.
Inside the limited-edition Oris Williams Valtteri Bottas watch is a base Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic movement (that Oris calls their caliber 647, but freely explains that it is an ETA on their site) which operates at 4Hz with 48 hours of power reserve. Some other models might contain a base Swiss Sellita SW500, which is more or less the same thing being a functional clone of the 7750.
While the steel-cased versions of the Oris Williams F1 Chronograph watches have matching bracelet options, the carbon fiber models only come on black rubber straps with matching black DLC-coated deployant clasps. I like bracelets but I have to admit these are comfortable straps that fit really nicely. Oris does a good job of creating a cohesive modern high-end tool watch experience that begins with being a tool first and a lifestyle item second. It’s that reason why they do so well with people just getting into luxury watches seeking to get the most for their money when spending a few thousand bucks, as well as seasoned collectors always looking for prudent choices.
As mentioned above, the two (current) carbon fiber-cased Oris Williams F1 team watches are the Oris Wiliams Chronograph Carbon Fibre Extreme reference 01 674 7725 8764-07 4 24 50BT and this featured Oris Williams Valtteri Bottas Limited Edition of 770 pieces reference 01 674 7725 8784-Set 4 24 54BT. Retail prices are $4,500 and $4,700 USD, respectively. www.oris.ch