In the last few years, it’s become impossible to ignore the compelling value found in the vintage-inspired offerings of Oris, an independently owned Swiss watchmaker whose history and designs are intertwined in three special edition models that are new to the HODINKEE Shop. Late ’30s aviation, classic ’60s diving, and the golden age of ’70s motorsport are all on display in these evocative homages to 20th century watch design. Each is either a special or limited edition, and we don’t expect them to last long.
Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary Edition
The Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary Edition has the tell-tale signs of a vintage military watch, from its antique-style “cathedral” hour and minute hands to its domed crystal and coin-edge bezel. This classic watch, seen here in a stunning bronze case, is a special edition homage to the original 1938 Oris pilot’s watch that ushered in the company’s pointer date mechanism. The date hand, which points to the ring of dates arrayed on the periphery of the watch’s dial, may have an antique look about it, but it’s impossible to ignore the simplicity and legibility of this design. At a glance, this 80-year-old configuration lets the wearer glean the time and date before turning their attention back to the demanding job of flying a plane.
The bright metal of the bronze case looks crisp and clean today, but it will begin to take on a wonderful patina from the moment it finds its home on its owner’s wrist. The exact depth and color of that patina will rely heavily on the natural skin chemistry of its owner and on the environment in which he or she wears it. A bronze-cased watch like the Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary Edition might just be the ultimate expression of a vintage homage watch: unlike most other modern watches, this is one whose appearance will evolve and change over time.
Oris Chronoris Limited Edition
The 1970s may just have witnessed the apotheosis of motorsport culture. With drivers like Andretti and Siffert competing on the track, films like Le Mans gracing the silver screen, and watch designs like those seen in this C-shaped Oris Chronoris on the rise, there was an undeniably cool aesthetic at play that subsequent decades of racing haven’t quite managed to overtake.