Hands-On with the Oris Big Crown
Many would be collectors shy away from the watch market due to exorbitant prices. An Omega will run you a few thousand dollars, most Rolex pieces come in at over $10K, and that’s only the beginning. Other brands sell watches for double, triple, and quadruple those sums. Those kinds of number can be very intimidating, but many lesser known brands deliver almost as much quality at a fraction of the price. One of them is Oris, which will be the subject of today’s article. I go over everything you need to know about their famous Big Crown watch in the following passages.
Like many big-name timepiece companies, Oris was founded in Switzerland over 100 years ago. They started out producing only pocket watches, but in 1925, entered the wristwatch market. As a side note, this trend was actually an industry-wide one, as World War I brought upon significant changes to the market.
Oris was one of the primary victims of the ‘quartz crisis’ in the 1970s but found new life after being acquired by the Swatch group. They currently occupy one of my favorite spaces in the watch market, which is entry level Swiss brands. Their watches are exceptional, their prices are somewhat affordable, and they are one of the best companies that produce watches under $2,000.
The History of the Big Crown
Oris and their Big Crown model have been married for almost as long as the company has been around. It came about in 1938 and was manufactured for pilots in World War II. Many of its signature features reflect this devotion. The most significant of them is, as you might predict, the crown. The rationale behind this design element is that pilots should be able to adjust their watches without taking off their gloves. Nearly 100 years later, the Big Crown continues to be one of the most popular collections in the Oris catalog. Some popular choices are the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date and Oris Big Crown Propilot.
The beauty of the Big Crown comes from its synthesis of elegance and utility. Like many aviation watches, it has a few extra features that give the dial some character. Unlike other timepieces in this genre, though, Oris manages to not crowd the design and make the watch look jumbled.
The final result is a gorgeous watch that walks the line well between aesthetics and function. One more thing to note is just how many coloring options you have. I would personally go with the bronze case and green dial, but there are hundreds of different looks for you to choose from. That kind of diversity makes the Big Crown even more appealing.
Most Big Crowns come with a stainless-steel case, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and high-grade leather strap. That being said, there are a variety of other options at your disposal. You can instead go with a bronze case, stainless steel bracelet, nylon strap, and much more. No matter what, though, you’re going to end up with a watch that has impressive materials. Oris definitely doesn’t cut corners when it comes to constructing their timepieces, and when you get your hands on one, it shows.
The exact movement you receive will depend on which model you get, but each of them has in-house machinery built by Oris in Switzerland.
Your power reserve will likely be around 38 hours, and the accuracy on that movement will be quite good. You shouldn’t expect anything exceptional at this price point, but you get a pretty good bang for your buck. The deal is especially favorable when you consider that the Swatch group is behind these movements. That fact provides some more certainty that yours will run well for years to come.
Simply put, these watches are fantastic. You will most likely feel that quality right away, no matter which model you go with. They have just the right weight, the crown is an absolute joy to spin, and everything else about them is very well put together. As a bonus, each of them comes with 100M water resistance, which should save your timepiece in the event of it getting wet.
As we’ve discussed, the Big Crown is an aviation watch. That means that some of these models have chronographs and other useful pilot features.
Largely, though, the primary aviation features that they have are legible dials and big crowns. They are much simpler than many other options on the market, so if you like the minimalist look, the Big Crown is a great pick.
Oris is one of my favorite brands, and the Big Crown might be their most iconic piece. It is well made, good looking, and delivers in every possible way. I completely endorse every watch in this collection and am confident that you would be happy if you bought one for yourself.