Oris updates the pilot’s watch

A manifesto of Oris’s mechanical preferences and a modern vision of its flagship calibre, the new Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 offers a pure reinterpretation of the pilot’s watch.

By Olivier Müller

If Oris had to be summed up in five words, these could be: mechanical watches at affordable prices. But this image would be too restrictive in relation to the diversity that Oris currently displays: it is an authentic and independent watchmaking house that is refocusing on the world of aviation. In fact, pilot’s watches have embraced every watchmaking trend. Worn in the pocket, on the wrist and even at the thigh, initially simple before featuring complications (chronograph, GMT, etc.), mechanical or quartz, and equipped with more or less comprehensible rotating bezels, they were destined for a fraternity of professional users (military and later civil), before becoming more widely worn in the 1950s and 1960s as commercial flights really took off.

A mechanism revealed

‘Go your own way’ is the motto of this house founded in 1904. Today, with the new Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115, they have rendered this maxim more tangible than ever. A modern interpretation of the pilot’s watch, the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 is unlike any other. It is inspired by nature – in particular, the Waldenburg valley around the village of Hölstein from where the brand originated – and reflects both contemporary culture and authenticity. It is probably the most quintessential Oris watch ever made. The Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 is authentic. It hides nothing and exhibits the brand’s true nature: honest, upstanding and independent. Oris has chosen its flagship movement, the Calibre 110, to reconnect the user with pure mechanics, allowing each of its components to be seen and almost touched. By skeletonising its manufacture calibre, Oris offers tangible and visible understanding of how this movement with a 10-day power reserve works.

Company status
Société anonyme (public limited company)
Senior Management
Ulrich W. Herzog, President of the Oris group
Claudine Gertiser-Herzog and Rolf Studer, Co-Directors
Number of employees
Flagship collections
Oris Calibres 110-115, Oris Big Crown, Oris Aquis, Oris Divers Sixty-Five
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 111
Retail prices
From CHF 1,500 to upwards of 7,000
Annual production


Unique in its genre

Impressive and dynamic, the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 reflects the history of the pilot’s watch as much as its future. The brushed titanium case is inspired by the original 1938 design of the first Oris Big Crown timepiece, while the bezel is engraved with a recently created pattern by Oris recalling the turbine of a jet engine. This creation cuts straight to the chase, shedding the superfluous to bring the new, manually wound Calibre 115 to life. The choice of a manually wound movement is both a historic nod to the first pilot’s watches and a tangible way of strengthening the bond between the wearer and their watch, which they must wind up regularly. As they do so, the process is fully visible through the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115’s immense openworked barrel at 12 o’clock, the signature of this movement.

More than a watch : a manifesto

The Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 expresses Oris’s personality and embodies its vision of ‘casual’ luxury: an appreciation and recognition of quality, authentic experiences, space, time and modern culture. Oris propels the pilot’s watch towards new, ever more mechanical horizons. The challenge is modernity, and Oris has risen to it with a wide 44 mm diameter, titanium case and bracelet, and anti-reflective double sapphire crystal through which the tiniest details of the Calibre 115 can be seen. The ridges of the bracelet are pronounced, the crown guard is highly responsive: everything about the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 indicates a preference for authenticity and mechanics. With the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115, Oris has freed itself from convention and pushed back the technical boundaries of traditional movements. This design is a natural continuation for an entirely independent brand that has no credo but to write its own.

The Calibre 115 is skeletonised to showcase the inner workings of the watch.

A design, a challenge

Skeletonising a movement does not consist of simply hollowing out components, for not all of them can withstand the process without compromising on strength. Resistance calculations are made when they are ‘full’, so hollowing them out drastically changes the situation. This is particularly true for the Calibre 115, whose immense barrel exerts high torque on the movement’s entire kinematic chain. The design of the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 is a response to these constraints. The piece is supported by a bridge crossing from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock. Its perfect symmetry gives the piece a well-balanced design. The other structuring element of the design is the circle: there is one for the small seconds, one for the power reserve and one for the barrel. The first two elements are part of the exterior, the third is a component. Combining them within the same composition demonstrates Oris’s firm intention to associate form and function, and aesthetics and functionality, within a single coherent design.