A watch for all time – The Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 lays bare Oris’s historic watchmaking roots. But at the same time, it propels the independent company forward. It’s pure Oris – as nature intended.
How many of us really know how the technology around us works? As in, how the nuts and bolts come together to do what they do? How many can really grasp how a connected device taps into the great invisible network in the sky? It won’t be many. The advances of our age have distanced us from a tangible knowledge of how the things we own work.
In one sense, we’re content to embrace that. Smartphones, a common example, are tools we use for work. They bring us together so we can share stories and ideas. These are good things.
But while they enable us at their best, they enslave us at their worst. And because we don’t understand how they work, it can be hard to trust them; to really know them. Which we’re increasingly uncomfortable with.
This vein of thinking goes a long way to explaining why mechanical watches, dreamed up generations ago, are more relevant today than ever. No electronics. No connectivity. No apps. No smoke and mirrors. Archaic? Or enlightened?
By comparison, a mechanical watch is a hand-crafted object we can connect within the most natural sense. If we don’t move, an automatic runs out of power. If we don’t wind the crown every couple of days, a hand-wound watch will stop. The connection is tangible.
At Oris, we decided to look into the essence of that idea. If you took the honesty and integrity of a mechanical watch and stripped it back to its bare bones, to show its true nature, what form would it take? And what would an Oris watch conceptualised through that prism look like? What would it say? The answer is the Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115, the most Oris watch we’ve ever made – every watch that went before it has led us to this point.
It’s inspired by nature, particularly by the Waldenburg Valley, which surrounds the village of Hölstein, where Oris has been based since it was founded in 1904. It’s a reflection of contemporary culture, too, and of our growing desire for authentic experiences. And it’s a watch that explains Oris’s true personality. The idea started with the movement.
Oris, an independent company, only makes mechanical watches. Everything in the watch stemmed from its mechanical heartbeat. For our 110th anniversary, we introduced Oris Calibre 110, a limited edition watch with an in-house developed a movement that carried a 10-day power reserve, a patented non-linear power reserve indicator and a small seconds.
This innovative, unique combination of complications became the base architecture for a suite of landmark calibres that followed, through to Calibre 114, launched last year. Together, these calibres have become the symbol of Oris the movement creator. Since the company was founded, it has introduced more than 270 in-house calibres, a proud legacy.
“People are longing for the time when they could understand how things work”
For the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115, Oris’s watchmakers took the spirit of Calibre 110 and imagined a fully skeletonised Oris movement. Traditionally, skeletonisation provided a window for a watchmaker’s talents, but this movement had higher ambitions. It had to reconnect people to how things work.
That’s what makes contemporary modernism so interesting. People are longing for the time when they could understand how things work.
The Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 lays bare its inner workings. Nothing is hidden. Even the barrel at 12 o’clock is skeletonised so you can see the extended mainspring. Winding the crown, you watch on as the mainspring coils tighter… and tighter… until it’s fully wound and ready to deliver 10 days of uninterrupted power.
Nothing deflects from this. There is no varnish, no unnecessary decoration. Calibre 115’s skeletonised bridges are matt grey, rather than polished or engraved.
Look at the movement under a loupe and you will see the edges have not been chamfered or bevelled. Instead, they have been left in their natural state. There is nothing obscuring the essence of traditional Swiss watchmaking. It is, if you will, as nature intended.
Not that it’s old-fashioned. Inspired by the striking aesthetic of the movement, Oris’s designers created a bold, dynamic case that captured both the company’s pilot’s watch history – which began in the early 1910s and took off with a pilot’s wristwatch with a ‘big crown’ in 1917 – and the future relevance of mechanical watchmaking. It is not shy to tell its story.
The resulting brushed titanium case is equally honest. Fundamentally, its design is descended from that 1938 original, supplemented by the jet engine turbine blade motif introduced into the Big Crown ProPilot’s bezel only a few years ago. It’s based on a traditional concept, but future-driven. It’s muscular and assured. It shows Oris’s watchmaking competence and its confidence as the Swiss watch industry prepares for a new decade.
It also explains the evolution of luxury. Luxury is no longer showy or indulgent. It’s now about appreciation of quality, time and space. At Oris, we call it casual luxury, which isn’t forced or inconsiderate. It’s measured and informed. It’s authentic. That’s why there are no unnecessary details in the watch. No flashy colour palette. No pointless complications. It’s essential. It’s crafted. It’s alive.
Who is the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 for? The wearer of this watch is on an adventure of discovery. They want to learn more about the world and themselves. They want access to a new level of understanding. That’s what it means to go your own way.
And that’s why we say that the Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 is as nature intended. It is pure Oris.
The Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 is available now. For more information, visit oris.ch
In detail – Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115
The Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 is a pure expression of Swiss mechanical watchmaking
The movement was conceived by Oris’s in-house watchmakers and designed to reveal how a mechanical watch works.
Skeletonisation is the process of removing the dial and hollowing out movement parts so you can see a watch’s inner workings.
Calibre 115 is hand-wound. It has a 10-day power reserve, a non-linear power reserve indicator and a small seconds.
How it works
The Oris-patented non-linear power reserve indicator shows the power remaining with ever greater accuracy as it runs down.
The watch’s 44.00 mm case is made of titanium. The high-tech material is lightweight, durable and hypoallergenic.
The concept behind Calibre 115 was born a long time ago. The watch then took two years to develop and deliver.
The design team were inspired by culture, architecture, aviation and nature in the Waldenburg Valley that surrounds Oris.
A modern watch
It’s a pilot’s watch, and the first Oris has made without numerals on the dial. But it’s first a modern take on luxury.
At the appointed hour
Oris has had the watchmaking expertise to create Calibre 115 for years, says the company’s Chief Operating Officer Beat Fischli. But it’s only now the timing is right
When did you get the idea for the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 115?
The truth is it’s been in my head for years. Skeletonisation is such an exciting form. You really get to see all the details. And you get to show what you can do. But until now, it just wasn’t the right time.
We’ve been building towards this moment. We’ve known for a long time that we had the know-how in-house. Calibres 110 to 114, each unique, gave us confidence, because they were so well received. Each time, we learned new things, and each time people started to understand more about Oris as a watchmaker. We have the freedom to create watches our customers want and that we like, because we’re independent. After these developments, we felt ready to produce and release a high-concept piece that would show the world on another level who Oris really is.
How did you go about developing it?
The process was more complex than usual, because when you skeletonise a movement, you have so many more questions. We knew the base calibre worked, because there are five versions of it already out there. But when you start taking out material you have to ask whether the construction is stable. It might look nice, but will it actually work?
How did the relationship between the technical and design teams work?
It was a collaboration. One hundred percent. But someone has to start. The first step was technical – to work on functionality, to lay out the movement and
to make sure it was feasible. The second was to send all our findings to the design team. They shaped the idea into something truly beautiful. After that, we verified it would have the integrity it needs to work reliably. Of course, there was some back and forth during this process, but essentially, those were the three steps.
How long did it take?
In total, around two years. Like I said, we knew we had the ability in-house to realise something this technical, so while it might be nice to say we faced lots of challenges, we really didn’t. The biggest challenge was simply finding the right time to launch a product like this. We’re confident that’s now.
What makes Calibre 115 special?
It’s a major achievement. The watch is a masterpiece, a perfect synergy of design and technology. Previously, we had this incredible movement, but no one could really see how it worked. Now you can. You know a palace is beautiful inside, but until you actually walk through the door, you can’t be sure exactly how beautiful.
Is there something in the watch you’re most proud of?
If I had to boil it down to one element, I’d say the mainspring. It gives the watch so much of its character, which changes depending on how much power is stored in it. Normally, the mainspring is hidden, even in many skeletonised watches, but we felt we had to show it because so much of the story of the watch is in its 10-day power reserve. Normally, a mechanical watch has around 40 hours of power reserve – this one has 240! What does the Big Crown ProPilot X
Calibre 115 say about Oris?
In all the details, you see Oris’s expertise, our experience and what we’re able to do. And you see this in a very honest, pure, luxurious way. For Oris, watchmaking is about going your own way, doing something because you want to. We have the freedom to do this, and we believe it’s the right moment to do it. So we did it.
When everything comes together
Oris’s Senior Product Design Engineer Lukas Bühlmann on the process behind the Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115
What was the design brief behind the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115?
Ultimately, the brief was to propel Oris Aviation watches into the next generation. We made pilot’s watches for American servicemen in the Second World War. But what does a contemporary, luxury Oris pilot’s watch look like?
What were the biggest obstacles to delivering that brief?
One of the hardest things was figuring out how to maintain the balance between the formal language of the case and the movement. In other words, how do you design a modern watch that is not a fashion watch? We wanted to create something contemporary that would retain its relevance as fashions change.
Where did you look for inspiration?
Aviation and architecture. The idea behind the watch started with the movement, and we gave this a strong architectural look. The skeletonised barrel draws your eye first and then the bridges, and then you start seeing the detail in the wheels. The case is more like a stealth plane. There’s an exciting interplay between the movement and the static elements.
There’s a futuristic quality to the design – is that deliberate?
I wouldn’t call it futuristic, but it is a future-driven design. Oris has a long pilot’s watch history and you can see that in the design, which is important. It also shows Oris’s competence, and the long-term value of a beautifully designed and manufactured mechanical object.
Do you think of this as a pilot’s watch?
It’s certainly not a conventional pilot’s watch. For example, this is the first Oris pilot’s watch without any numerals on the dial. But the aviation DNA is still there in the details. We used titanium for the case, for example, because it’s very light. What really makes this a pilot’s watch is its technical look. Technology is the driving force behind aviation today.
What design considerations are there with a skeletonised watch?
First and foremost is technical feasibility. This is a designer’s constant companion during the design process. The design and the functionality have to work together. Furthermore, you have to think on several levels at the same time, so that when all the components come together, you get the design you set out to create. Overall, because of these considerations, the job takes longer, too.
Sometimes, those considerations must create problems?
Yes, of course. Sometimes you want to design something one way, but you quickly realise that it’s not technically feasible. It’s about adapting. The better you understand the design philosophy, the quicker you’ll find solutions.
What does this watch say about Oris’s take on luxury?
The truth is that for Oris, luxury is about being able to go your own way. That’s why it’s our strapline. In practice, that means we design watches for people who ask questions and want to experience life and cultures. Our watches become faithful companions for life’s adventures. Wherever you go, your Oris watch will go with you.
What makes this a good design?
The small details – every case facet, the way the bracelet integrates into the case, the decision to drop the numerals, the crown protection, the bridges, the turbine blade bezel, and so on. It’s the way these come together so that you don’t see them as small details, you see them as part of a whole that makes this design unique.
Do you work to the design mantra that ‘form follows function’?
A watch should be meaningful and feature useful complications, and the appearance of the watch should reflect what it does. But form follows function is too rigid. Again, if ‘Go your own way’ is he philosophy, you can’t be bound by one set of rules…
What does the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 say about Oris design?
I think it says two things. It says we’re not afraid to push boundaries. And also that we’re good at combining talents. A team of 10 people were involved in the design of the movement, case and bracelet. Like the watch, many small parts came together to create something heroic. We’re all really proud of the result.
Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115
Oris’s latest watch powered by an in-house developed calibre is a landmark design. The skeletonised Calibre 115 movement opens up the 10-day power reserve and non-linear power reserve indicator to reveal how they work. It’s a contemporary take on luxury that highlights the eternal value of a beautifully crafted Swiss Made mechanical watch.
- Multi-piece titanium case
- Size 44.00 mm (1.732 inches)
- Dial Skeletonised
- Luminous material Hands and indices filled with Super-LumiNova®
- Top glass Sapphire, domed on both sides, double-sided anti-reflective coating
- Case back Titanium, screwed, see-through sapphire glass
- Operating devices Titanium screw-in security crown
- Strap/bracelet Multi-piece titanium bracelet with ‘lift’ clasp; black leather strap with titanium ‘lift’ clasp
- Water-resistance 10 bar (100 m)
- Number Calibre 115 (skeletonised)
- Functions Centre hands for hours and minutes, small seconds between 7 and 8 o’clock, non-linear power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock, fine timing and stop-second devices
- Winding Hand-wound
- Power reserve 240 hours
Price CHF 6,800/7,200 (strap/bracelet)
Presented in a special luxury wooden box (see above)
How it works
Oris’s Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 is fuelled by a highly complicated in-house developed movement that showcases the watch’s complications.
Power play Calibre 115 is a hand-wound movement operated through the watch’s single crown.
When fully wound, the movement will deliver 10 days of power – most mechanical watches run for around two days. This exceptional, 240-hour power reserve is fuelled by a mainspring coiled in a single oversized barrel, visible at 12 o’clock. The power reserve is displayed through an Oris-developed and patented non-linear power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock that shows the power remaining with ever greater accuracy as the time to wind the watch approaches.
The secret’s out
This unique, Oris-patented non-linear power reserve indicator is managed by a ‘worm-gear’, an exclusive Oris innovation found in Oris’s series of in-house developed calibres. This clever mechanical device controls the speed at which the power reserve indicator moves around the subdial at 3 o’clock.