In 1997, Oris shook up the somewhat staid world-time watch category with the launch of its first Worldtimer, which featured an innovative new system, developed by the brand, for changing time zones with ease. Twenty years later, Oris gives its invention a new twist (quite literally), in this week’s Watch to Watch, the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer.
The first Oris Worldtimer introduced a mechanism that used plus and minus pushers on the side of the case that adjusted the local time forward or backward, in one-hour jumps, when pressed — without the wearer ever needing to pull out the crown and stop the running of the watch. The watch included displays for small seconds, home time, and day/night indication, and featured another Oris in-house innovation, a patented mechanism that ensured that the date would keep track of the time adjustment, even if it meant going backward over midnight. Oris has used this world-time system in many of its watches since, and, for its 20th anniversary year, updates it with even more user-friendly functionality. Gone are the plus and minus pushers; a simple turn of the bezel now suffices to adjust the local time.
Making its debut in this new model from Oris’s popular Big Crown ProPilot collection, the revamped world-time function enables the user to move the central hour hand forwards in one-hour jumps by turning the bezel clockwise, and backward in one-hour jumps with a counterclockwise twist. As with other Big Crown ProPilot watches, the bezel has a coin-edged motif (inspired, the brand says, by jet engine turbines) that makes it easy to grasp and turn. On the dial, along with the hallmark big, legible Arabic numerals, a subdial at 3 o’clock displays the home time zone on a 12-hour scale, a day-night indicator linked to the home time, and the date, which boasts the aforementioned, patented, backward-adjustment function. Directly across from that rather busy subdial, at 9 o’clock, another subdial hosts the running seconds.
Inside the 44.7 -mm stainless steel case beats a self-winding movement, Oris Caliber 690 (a modified ETA 2836-2). On display beneath a transparent mineral glass caseback, it features the telltale red-center rotor that identifies the watch as an Oris, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a power reserve of 40 hours. The screwed-down crown (which has a knurled edge similar to that of the bezel) secures for the case a water resistance of 100 meters. Over the dial is a domed sapphire crystal with nonreflective coating on the underside.
The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer is available in two versions. One— which Oris describes as “aimed at Stylish business travelers” — has an anthracite dial and a polished finish on the bezel’s top ring. The other, presumably designed more with an actual pilot in mind, has a matte-black dial and a brushed finish on the bezel ring to reduce glare in the cockpit. The former is available on a Louisiana crocodile leather strap, a calfskin strap, or a steel bracelet, while the latter is offered on a bracelet or a croc leather or textile strap. Prices are $3,600 for the textile strap and calf strap versions, and $3,850 for the croc leather and bracelet models.
Interested in other world-time watches that retail for under $5,000? Click here.