Seventy-five years ago, Oris made their first pilot’s watch. Since then, they’ve made a bit of a name for themselves with watches like the Oris ProPilot Big Crown, the BC4 and the BC3. I happen to be a big fan of the Oris Royal Flying Doctor Service Limited Edition and the candycane-esque Air Racing Edition III. However, now, the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter has debuted. And, it is probably the coolest Oris pilot watch yet.
Just looking at the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter, you can tell there is something different about the watch. Yeah the ProPilot Altimeter has a pretty common military look about it. But, if you take a close look, you’ll see a watchmaking first… The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter has a functional mechanical altimeter winding its way around the chapter ring.
Here’s how it works. The ProPilot Altimeter has two crowns. The crown at the 2 o’clock position sets the time. The 4 o’clock crown handles the innovative stuff. I’ll let Oris explain how to use this thing…
A second screw-down crown at 4 o’clock operates the altimeter. When screwed down into ‘Position 0’, the altimeter is inactive and the watch is water-resistant to 10 bar. The altimeter is activated by unscrewing the crown into ‘Position 1’, indicated by a red ring. When the crown is pulled out into ‘Position 2’, the altimeter can be calibrated. Once set, the watch shows the current altitude via the yellow indicator, and the corresponding air pressure via the red indicator. The altitude scale is around the outer dial ring; it can measure altitude up to 15,000 feet or 4,500 metres (two models have been produced, one with a scale in feet, one in metres). The air pressure scale is recessed between the altimeter scale and the central dial. Once the altimeter is no longer required, the crown can be returned to Position 0 by screwing it down, resealing the watch case and ensuring it is once again water-resistant to 10 bar.
Powering the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter is the Caliber 733 automatic movement mated to a Swiss mechanical barometric atlimeter and barometer movement module housed inside a huge 47 mm multi-piece stainless steel case. Power reserve is a fair 38-hours.
The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter is a very cool watch. The whole mechanical altimeter thing is rather awesome. The ProPilot Altimeter costs a very reasonable 3,300 Swiss Francs ($3,685) with textile strap and 3,500 Swiss Francs ($3,909) with a stainless steel bracelet. For more info and tech specs, download the press release below. Be sure to check out the photos, too. And, visit Oris here.