Oris' Big Crown ProPilot collection combines the Swiss watch manufacturer's long history of producing pilot's watches with elegant, functional designs and innovative technology – all while maintaining an exceptional value for money.
Pilot's watches have been part of the Oris repertoire for a good 80 years. Today, you can find multiple collections of pilot's watches in the Swiss company's catalog, one of which is the Big Crown ProPilot collection.
Like their ancestors, the ProPilots have a large crown that is easy to use even when wearing gloves. This same crown also lent the Big Crown series its name. The robust yet elegant stainless steel case, the bezel reminiscent of blades on an aircraft turbine, and the hands, numerals, and indices covered in luminous material leave no doubt that the ProPilot is a proper pilot's watch.
This collection has something for every taste, including simple three-hand watches with a date display, chronographs, watches with in-house movements, models with a second time zone, and watches with unique mechanical altimeters. Regardless of the style, every watch is water resistant to 100 m (10 bar). In addition, Oris also has a few limited edition models that appeal to more than just collectors.
|Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter||2,590 euros||Mechanical altimeter|
|Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 111||3,790 euros||In-house caliber 111 with a 10-day power reserve|
|Big Crown ProPilot Chronograph||2,300 euros||Chronograph|
|Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer||2,750 euros||Second time zone that can be set using the bezel|
|Big Crown ProPilot Day Date||1,190 euros||Display for outsize date and day of week|
|Big Crown ProPilot Date||1,100 euros||Outsize date display|
|Big Crown ProPilot GMT Small Second||1,700 euros||Second time zone|
The top dog of the ProPilot collection is the Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter. It's not just the 47-mm case that sets it apart. This watch is equipped with a mechanical altimeter that's never been seen before in a watch with an automatic caliber.
The altimeter is a so-called aneroid barometer that reacts to changes in air pressure. When you turn the crown marked with "Alt Set" located at 4 o'clock, air enters the watch and the altimeter can get to work. Any change in pressure is transferred to the hand, which then displays both the air pressure in hectopascals and the current elevation using a scale around the edge of the dial. The elevation is shown in either feet or meters, depending on the model. A special membrane behind the altimeter crown protects the inside of the watch from dirt and moisture.
For the movement, Oris decided on the in-house caliber 733 based on the Sellita SW 200-1. It has a 38-hour power reserve, a date display at 3 o'clock, and a stop-seconds mechanism.
In terms of price, be ready to pay just under 2,600 euros for a Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter with a textile band. The version with a stainless steel bracelet costs almost 2,800 euros.
Oris also offers the ProPilot Altimeter in two limited editions. The first is the GIGN Edition Limitée dedicated to the police tactical unit of the French National Gendarmerie, or the Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale. The GIGN logo on the dial and case back and the blue, white, and red tip of the second hand set this edition apart from the standard version. You can purchase one of these watches for just under 3,300 euros.
The other limited edition is the Altimeter Rega Limited Edition, which Oris dedicated to the Swiss air rescue service Rega. Its case is coated with a dark gray PVD layer, and its gray textile band has a red inner lining. Additionally, the Rega logo is on both the dial and case back. In keeping with their emergency number, this watch had a limited run of 1,414 pieces. This limited edition watch costs around 3,300 euros.
The Big Crown ProPilot collection also includes a 44-mm chronograph. Inside, the Oris caliber 774, which is based on the SW 500, ticks away with its characteristic red rotor. It powers not only the hour and minute hands, the small seconds dial at 9 o'clock, and the date at 5 o'clock, but also the stopwatch function with an additional 30-minute counter at 12 o'clock and a 12-hour counter at 6 o'clock. Distances can also be measured using the telemeter scale around the edge of the dial.
Oris offers two designs for the dial. The first version is dark grey with a sunburst. The second has a black dial and second hand with a yellow tip. The hands on the 30-minute and 12-hour counters also come in the same yellow tone.
Regardless of which dial you prefer, be ready to pay approximately 2,300 euros for a Big Crown ProPilot Chronograph with a textile or leather band. Prices for models with a stainless steel bracelet start around 2,500 euros.
The manual winding in-house caliber 111 powers the Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 111. This caliber has an impressive 10-day power reserve, a date display and small seconds dial at 9 o'clock, and a power reserve indicator at 3 o'clock that shows how much energy remains. Since it's presented on a nonlinear scale, the power reserve indicator gets more and more accurate the closer it gets to running out of power.
This 44-mm watch comes with either a blue or anthracite-colored sunburst dial and a stainless steel, leather, or textile band. You can purchase a Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 111 with a textile or leather band for just under 3,800 euros. Models with a stainless steel bracelet cost a bit more at around 3,900 euros.
The Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer is a watch with GMT functionality. It keeps track of a second time zone on a subdial at 3 o'clock, where you will also find the date and day/night displays. The small seconds dial is found on the opposite side at 9 o'clock.
The time zones are set using the bezel. When turned clockwise, the time moves forward in intervals of an hour. The opposite is true when the bezel is turned in a counterclockwise fashion. If the hands pass midnight, the date automatically adjusts itself. This is all thanks to the Oris caliber 690, based on the ETA 2836-2, that ticks away inside the 44.7-mm case.
Oris also offers this watch with two dial options: One features a dark gray sunburst, while the other is black. The latter is broken up by a yellow second hand and a yellow day/night display.
Prices for a Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer sit between 2,750 euros for a watch with a textile or leather band and about 3,400 euros for a model with a stainless steel bracelet.
The Big Crown ProPilot GMT Small Second is the second watch in the ProPilot collection that includes a display for a second time zone. This 45-mm stainless steel watch utilizes the Oris caliber 748 based on the SW 220-1. It shows a second time zone via a central 24-hour hand and has an outsize date display at 3 o'clock. A small seconds dial at 9 o'clock completes the whole package.
With this watch, you once again have a choice between a textile, leather, or stainless steel band. Likewise, the same dial options are available: either a dark gray sunburst or a black dial. Similar to previous models, the latter version also has a black second hand with a yellow tip for displaying the second time zone.
Regardless of which dial you choose, plan to spend around 1,700 euros for a Big Crown ProPilot GMT Small Second with a textile or leather band. A watch with a stainless steel bracelet will cost about 1,800 euros.
The most elegant models in this collection are probably the 41-mm Big Crown ProPilot Date and the 45-mm Big Crown ProPilot Day Date. While it's clear at first glance that we are dealing with two pilot's watches, these timepieces can also function as dress watches.
The Oris caliber 751, which is based on the SW 220-1, runs inside the ProPilot Date and provides it with a 38-hour power reserve and an outsize date at 3 o'clock. Versions with textile, leather, or stainless steel bands and black or shimmering gray sunburst dials are available. Prices for a Big Crown ProPilot Date hover around 1,000 euros for a watch with a textile band, 1,100 euros with a leather band, and 1,200 euros with a stainless steel bracelet.
The ProPilot Day Date is equipped with large displays for both the day and date. Its SW 220-1-based Oris caliber 752 also gives it a 38-hour power reserve. In terms of design options, you will find the same variations as seen with the ProPilot Date. Be sure to set aside around 1,200 euros for the versions with a textile or leather band. The version with a stainless steel bracelet costs 1,250 euros.