Thursday, May 4, 2017

ORIS – Big Crown 1917 Edition

ORISBig Crown 1917 Steel 40mm Limited Edition

A lifetime in flight

Oris celebrates the discovery of its first pilot’s wristwatch with a special limited edition piece made in homage to the original

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Events of the past don’t change, but our understanding of them can. Until recently, Oris believed that its first pilot’s watch was the Big Crown of 1938, an iconic piece of design named after its oversized crown that still informs the company’s aviation-inspired watches today. But a recent discovery made it clear history had a different story to tell.

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Recent research in the company’s Hölstein archives (Oris has been on the same site since it was founded in 1904) revealed that Oris first made watches for pilots in the early 1910s. One catalogue featured a pocket watch with a Blériot airplane engraved on its case. Louis Blériot, the French pioneer aviator, successfully completed the first flight across the English Channel on July 25, 1909.

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Recent research uncovered an Oris pocket watch engraved with a Blériot airplane, thought to have been made in the early 1910s

The same research uncovered what appears to be Oris’s first pilot’s wristwatch, and also one of its first wristwatches. The round, brass-cased watch had a big crown, an aluminium dial and a pin-lever movement, and was essentially a pocket watch with wire loop lugs soldered to its case. This was common practice during the First World War as officers looked for practical ways of wearing watches and as aerial warfare developed.

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The first Oris pilot’s wristwatch, was made around 1917. It was a pocket watch with a big crown and wire loop lugs soldered to its case

Today, Oris is remembering that landmark wristwatch with the Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition. In design terms, the new watch is faithful to the original. It has the same onion-shaped big crown, the same early 20th century Arabic numerals, the same blued steel hands, and the same domed glass. Even the vintage Oris logo has been revived.

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Most memorably, Oris is introducing a new calibre into the watch, Calibre 732, which the company’s watchmakers have engineered so that the time can only be adjusted when the button at 2 o’clock is pushed down, in keeping with a quirk of the original.

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While the aesthetic is lifted from the early days of wristwatches, the Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition is every bit a 21st century watch, manufactured according to Oris’s exacting standards. The case is polished stainless steel and water-resistant to 5 bar, and set on a beautifully crafted brown leather cuff strap with a stainless steel pin buckle. The bubble-curved glass is made of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and the Arabic numerals and hands are finished with luminescent Super-LumiNova®.

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The Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition has a number of additional special touches. The case back is embossed with the original ‘OWC’ trademark, which stood for ‘Oris Watch Company’ and was used as a ‘Poinçon de Maître’ quality stampon Oris’s 18-carat gold watches. The case back also carries the limited edition number – only 1,917 examples will be made. The final flourish is a travel pouch, which contains an additional leather strap with twin rivets, as per the original, and a stainless steel pin buckle.

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The Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition is an historic watch and a charming reminder of Oris’s rich watchmaking heritage.

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It will be available in August, price CHF 2,400.

Product Features

Model: Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition

Reference 01 732 7736 4081-Set LS

Oris Big Crown, Stainless steel 40.00 mm, 1.575 inches
    Material Multi-piece stainless steel case
    Size 40.00 mm, 1.575 inches
    Interhorn Width 18 mm
    Top Glass Sapphire, domed on both sides, anti-reflective coating inside
    Case Back Stainless steel, screwed, special engravings
    Operating Devices Stainless steel screw-in security crown
    Water Resistance 5 bar
Automatic winding
    Number Oris 732, base SW 200-1
    Dimensions Ø 25.60 mm, 11 1/2’’’
    Centre hands for hours and minutes, fine timing device
    Winding Automatic winding, bi-directionally rotating red rotor
    Power-Reserve 38 hrs
    Vibrations 28’800 A/h, 4 Hz
    Jewels 26
    Material Silver dial
    Luminous Material Numerals and hands Light Old Radium
Strap/Bracelet Leather
    Material Dark brown leather strap, stainless steel buckle

Special box, certificate, additional leather strap, limited to 1917 piece

Price  Swiss retail price CHF 2,400

Press Release - 2017
---------------------------------------------- - ORIS