While Oris is well known for their oceanic conservation efforts and aquatic themed luxury pieces, they’re perhaps even more famous for their pilot’s watches.
The brand’s relationship with the world of flight began right around the same time as aviation itself, in the 1910s. However, it was in 1938 that Oris dropped the legendary Big Crown, a true king amongst luxury pilot’s watches.
The name refers to the watch’s standout feature – a singular big crown that proudly protrudes from the right side of the case. It’s the incredible quality and craftsmanship, though, that established the watch as a true standout hit ever since.
To show our appreciation for this venerable Oris masterpiece, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorites. Better yet, all of these pieces are in stock and available to ship at a moment’s notice.
We like Big Crowns, and we cannot lie.
As you can see, the classic Big Crown has an almost vintage look. That’s because the design was so initially perfect that Oris didn’t really need to change much throughout the decades. It’s a timeless hit, in other words.
We particularly enjoy the pointer date Big Crowns. The extra hand is used to, well, point to the date. It’s an interesting and innovative way to show more information on the dial without complicating things with a window.
The classy dial is large and easily readable, probably great qualities for a pilot who doesn’t have a lot of time to be staring at their watch. The black leather strap is slick and professional looking.
All in all, this is a great representation of what makes the Big Crowns so beloved in the luxury watch collector community. It’s simple, elegant, classy, and highly functional.
Big Crown ProPilots are sort of a modernized take on the classic Oris pilot’s watch.
While they still feature the titular “big crown,” you’ll notice that they’ve done away with the ornate minute and hour hands and replaced them with more streamlined luminous hands. The markings on the dial also have a more contemporary feel. That, along with the sharp looking sub dial, really gives the ProPilot a 21st century aesthetic.
The bezel on this ProPilot includes stopwatch functionality, and that’s always a nice bonus.
The strap on this particular model is a dark green fabric, giving it an almost military look. We could definitely see this being worn by a Top Gun pilot, rather than a civilian prop plane operator.
Of course, not all ProPilots need to have that ultramodern chic. This model does a spectacular job of straddling the line between vintage and modern.
The beautiful grey dial retains some of the modernized details, such as the streamlined hands, but it still utilizes minimalism to make it feel extra large and readable.
There isn’t a sub dial on this one, but instead there’s a day/date window off at 3 o’clock. The bezel is also the classic styled version, with just a tad of texture and no wasted space.
We love the brown leather strap, a very classic throwback that somehow doesn’t clash with any of the modern trappings.
And now let’s wind the clock all the way back. This Big Crown is one of our favorite vintage looks in all of Luxury Watch Land.
The bronze dial and case present us with an astoundingly authentic classic look that calls back to the 1930s when the series was introduced. This is the kind of watch you’d see grandpa wearing in his WW2-era photos, standing side by side with his fellow heroes.
That doesn’t mean the watch is outdated in its aesthetic, though. Quite the opposite. This is a head turner that will draw compliments from onlookers no matter where you bring it. Coffee shops, formal affairs, punk rock shows, it’s bound to be a hit for all occasions.
If you’re like us and find yourself particularly drawn to chronographs, well you’re in luck.
That’s right, here is a Big Crown chronograph. We know we said earlier that the standout feature of the Big Crown watches was the large crown, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have a little company.
On this chronograph you’ll see the large crown flanked by chronograph controls that fit in perfectly with the look. The grey dial is packed with features, including three sub dials and a date window.
Since it’s a ProPilot, the aesthetic is certainly leaning more towards the modern side, but the bezel is still thin and unobtrusive.
You can get these with a bracelet as well, but we’re partial to the brown leather strap because it has that “bomber jacket” look.
If you’re planning to take off on an airborne expedition anytime soon, this is probably the tool you’ll want for the job.