Oris Big Crown 1917: Malaysia Price And Review

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Oris stumbles on a new discovery.

Oris pocket watch
History can sometimes be quite a funny thing. Until recently, Oris had always thought its first pilot watch was the Big Crown of 1938 but a recent discovery proved a different story was to be told. Delving deep into the archives at Oris’ Hölstein headquarters, researchers stumbled upon something unusual—an Oris pocket watch (above) engraved with one of Louis Blériot’s airplanes. Blériot, of course, was the noted French aviator and the first man to fly across the English Channel in 1909.

Original Oris Big Crown 1917
As if that discovery wasn’t shocking enough, the same researchers uncovered what appeared to be Oris’ first pilot’s wristwatch (above). It featured a round brass case with a big crown, an aluminium dial and a pin-lever movement making it essentially a pocket watch with wire loop lugs soldered to its case, a common practice in the time of the First World War. Coincidentally, the researchers found that the watch was made in 1917, making this year its centenary!

Oris Big Crown 1917 with leather cuff
While it is rather odd for a watch company to have to rewrite its history, it’s a remarkable thing to note and with its head held high, Oris unveiled its reissue (above) of the 1917 classic earlier this year in Baselworld 2017 limited to 1,917 pieces.

Many brands (this year especially) have tried to recreate vintages that harken back to classic 1960s and 1970s aesthetics but most of them still retain a somewhat modern feel to it. The Oris Big Crown 1917, however, properly references its historical roots, giving the watch an almost antique-ish feel. If it wasn’t for how clean and flawless the watch is, you’d mistake it for your great-grandfather’s.

Taking a quick glance at the watch, you’ll notice the subtle textured silver finish of the dial is a pristine touch and the old-school Oris signature with recesses in the middle makes for a proper vintage tribute. We also love that classic railway-track chapter ring around the edge and the SuperLuminova-filled Arabic numerals with small, sharp serifs for its hour markers. Along with the blue cathedral styled hands, it’s as if this watch was ripped straight out from the archives!

Oris Big Crown 1917 caseback
On the back we have a stylised OWC “Poinçon de Maître” inscription, which once served as Oris’s stamp of quality usually reserved for its 18k gold watches. Inside the watch is an automatic Oris Calibre 732 movement with 38-hour power reserve, based on the Sellita SW 200-1. A unique and somewhat curious feature of this watch is the little button set into the case just above the onion-shaped crown, which you have to push in order to set the time. While some might find this extra button a rather pointless feature, the original 1917 watch had it and we think its kind of cool for Oris to include it in this reissue.

Overall, the Oris Big Crown 1917 is a proper vintage watch done right. Everything from the dial to the extra button is a respectable effort by Oris to pay tribute to its past despite only having recently rediscovered it. The special cuff-style strap in soft brown leather was a surprising addition and actually makes this 40mm watch much more comfortable on the wrist and way more appealing. If you’re looking for a classic pilot, it really doesn’t get anymore classic than this.

 Case

40mm polished stainless steel

 Dial

Silver, with printed numerals filled with Super-LumiNova

 Movement

Self-winding Oris Calibre 732

 Strap

Brown leather cuff strap with stainless steel pin buckle and additional leather strap

 Functions

Hours, minutes, seconds

 Power  reserve

38 hours

 Price

RM10,800
Published in Oris Articles
Tagged under oris malaysia
Sim Wie Boon

Sim Wie Boon loves classy dress watches from timeless Swiss and Japanese marques. Wrist affections aside, he finds comfort in quiet rainy evenings with a hot cup of coffee and a stable internet connection.