January 27, 2016
by James Stacey
There is a certain balancing act that must be respected when designing a successful “automotive-themed” watch, with many examples simply falling prey to the uncanny valley of making the watch look much like a car, wheel, or gauge. With the new Oris Williams Engine Date, the brand has found an equilibrium with a legible steel sport watch that won’t look out of place in a pit lane. Oris has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with Willams F1 and the new Williams Engine Date is far from their first automotive themed watch (they also work with Audi). Using the same distinctive case design established by the previous Oris Williams models, the Oris Engine Date adds some dial skeletonization and detailing to further establish a connection with automotive designs.
Much like the Oris Williams Day Date, the Williams Engine Date uses a 42 mm steel case with a mix of brushed and polished finishing. With an anti-reflective sapphire crystal up front and a mineral crystal display case back, the Engine Date is water resistant to 100m. Despite being automotive-themed, the dial design is legible, with large numerals at three and nine and wide luminous hands.
The skeletonization is limited to the center of the dial and the minute numerals are printed horizontally, rather than following the curve of the dial. The movement is finished with an anthracite coloring and I rather like how it integrates with the main dial. With a long minute hand and minute track on the rehaut, the proportions are strong and the design is eye catching, especially for a watch at this price point. The seconds hand and the marker beneath the date window at six are blue, a match for Williams F1’s team colors.
For the Williams Engine Date, the titular “engine” is Oris’ calibre 733, a modified Sellita SW200-1. With 38 hours power reserve and a beats at a 4 hz rate, this automatic movement is finished with Oris’ instantly recognizable red oscillating weight. While the SW200, which is essentially direct competition for the ETA 2824, is not a fancy movement, it is perfectly acceptable at this price point and offers excellent reliability, performance and serviceability for its cost.
Available on either a steel bracelet or a race-ready rubber strap with folding push-button clasp, the Oris Williams Engine Date will have a price of 1,400 CHF. With a sporty race-derived design that doesn’t get in the way of its ability to be watch, the Oris Williams Engine Date offers a nicely sized interpretation of the modern automotive-themed watch. oris.ch