Oris celebrates the great humanitarian and baseball Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron with a limited-edition Big Crown Pointer Date created and named in his honour.
His finest hours
Oris marks the life, legacy and humanitarianism of baseball Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron, one of the sport’s all-time greats, on and off the field
We’re delighted to announce a new collaboration between Oris and The Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation, a US-based non-profit.
Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron was one of the greatest athletes and humanitarians of the past half-century. He never sought the spotlight, but it found him because of his many achievements.
Aaron was also one of the greats in Major League Baseball (MLB) history. Throughout his career, he encountered racism on and off the field, yet rose above it with grace and dignity to become a symbol of perseverance and strength through adversity, and an agent of social change.
Born in Mobile, Alabama, in 1934, Aaron was a natural athlete and entered baseball’s Negro Leagues in 1951, at a time when black players still endured segregation. In 1954, he was recruited to MLB by the Milwaukee Braves, which later became the Atlanta Braves.
By 1974, Aaron was chasing down Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, which had stood for almost 40 years. As he bore down on the record, he received hate mail and threats. But again, he persevered, breaking the record on 8 April of that year. By the time he retired aged 42 in 1976, Aaron had set a number of MLB records, some that still stand today: most career runs batted in (RBI) at 2,297, and total bases (6,856). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986, and in 1999, MLB created the Hank Aaron Award, awarded annually to the best overall offensive performer in each league.
Aaron’s humility on the field would shine through in his retirement. In 1994, he and his wife Billye founded the Chasing the Dream Foundation, awarding millions of dollars in scholarships to youth with limited opportunities. To date, it’s helped over 800 kids into higher education, many going on to become athletes, musicians, doctors, scientists and, most importantly, educators.
Aaron died in 2021, a baseball great, and an even greater humanitarian. As he said: “I am not concerned with how I am perceived as a baseball player. I am concerned with how I am thought of as a human being.”
During the week of 25 July, the Atlanta Braves will begin a special multi-day celebration of Aaron’s life and legacy. The Oris Hank Aaron Limited Edition forms part of that celebration, and all past winners of the award will receive one of the 2,297 pieces.
Life in service of others
Hank Aaron’s many acts of kindness didn’t just leave a lasting impression on those who came into contact with him, they changed countless young lives for the better, forever.
Never forget: you can succeed
On 8 April 1974, Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run (above), breaking the all-time record set by Babe Ruth almost 40 years earlier. He would eventually retire in 1976 with 755 home runs over his 23-year career. Of his achievements, he said: “I hope I have set a pattern in life, not only for my kids, but for all the people in the world: that if you try a little harder, no matter how large an obstacle might be, you can succeed. I don’t want any kid, no matter who they are, to think ‘I can’t do it.’ The fact is, they can do anything they want to.”
The content of his character
Such was the power of Aaron’s character that Muhammad Ali once described him as “the only man I idolize more than myself.” Everywhere he went, Aaron’s dignity and humility left a lasting impression. Not long after he scored his record-breaking 715th home run in 1974, Georgia congressman Andrew Young said of him: “Through his long career, Hank Aaron has been a model of humility, dignity, and quiet competence. He did not seek the adoration that is accorded to other national athletic heroes, yet he has now earned it.”
An enduring legacy of generosity
The initial goal of the Chasing the Dream Foundation was to provide grants to 755 youth, one for each of Aaron’s career home runs, but it quickly surpassed this.
“My wife Billye gives a lot and I give a lot,” Aaron said shortly before his death. “But that’s what we’re here for. I just feel like nothing that we have belongs to us. It was given to me by God and when we leave here, I don’t know of anybody who will go with a casket full of money. Why not let somebody else enjoy whatever I’ve been fortunate enough to accumulate?” The mission continues to this day.
Covering the bases
Oris presents the Hank Aaron Limited Edition, a classic based on the Big Crown that captures the story of a great humanitarian
Just as people give watches to mark special occasions, so we’ve created a watch to remember one of baseball’s most special men. The Hank Aaron Limited Edition is dedicated to the extraordinary life and humanitarian work of Hank Aaron, a baseball Hall-of-Famer who devoted his life to improving the chances of others.
The watch is based on Oris’s signature design, the Big Crown Pointer Date, with touches that point to the great man and his record-breaking career. The colour palette of blue, red and white is inspired by Hank Aaron’s famous baseball uniform. The palette is subtly applied to reflect Aaron’s humble attitude: in the blue-outlined red numerals; in the red-outlined blue minutes ring that runs around the dial; and in the blue leather strap, which is finished with white stitching akin to the stitching on a baseball glove. It comes with an interchangeable blue, red and white NATO fabric strap and a strap change tool.
Beyond, the watch is the familiar Big Crown, with a smooth, ergonomic round case in 40mm of stainless steel; a central pointer date hand with a red tip; a fluted bezel reminiscent of classic pilot’s watches; and an oversized crown, first added to an Oris watch in 1938 as a device for gloved airmen. The case back is engraved with a motif of Hank Aaron and his famous cross-handed batting stance, another thing that set him apart in the world of baseball.
“To be able to collaborate with the Hank Aaron family and the Chasing the Dream Foundation, and to commemorate Hank Aaron, is a true honour,” said Rolf Studer, Oris Co-CEO. “Mr Aaron is an inspiration. He broke down racial barriers, rewrote the record books and devoted his life to the service of others. For Oris, it is a great privilege to be able to support his legacy and the foundation as it continues its mission to bring Change for the Better to the lives of disadvantaged young people.”
Oris Big Crown Hank Aaron Limited Edition Technical Specifications
Reference 01 754 7785 4081-Set
Oris celebrates the life, legacy and community action of baseball Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron with a limited-edition version of the Big Crown inspired by the colours of Hank Aaron’s uniform
- Number Oris 754
- Functions Centre hands for hours, minutes and seconds, date centre hand, instantaneous date, date corrector, fine timing device and stop-second
- Winding Automatic
- Power reserve 38 hours
Case & Dial
- Case: Multi-piece stainless steel case
- Size: 40.00 mm (1.575 inches)
- Dial: White
- Luminous material: Hands, indices and numerals filled with Super-LumiNova®
- Top glass: Sapphire, domed on both sides, anti-reflective coating inside
- Case back: Stainless steel, screwed, special engravings
- Operating devices: Stainless steel screw-in security crown
- Water resistance 5 bar
- Blue leather strap with white stitching and stainless steel buckle.
- Also supplied with alternative blue, red and white NATO fabric strap with stainless steel buckle and strap change tool
Limited edition 2,297 pieces, each watch is delivered in a special presentation box
Swiss retail price CHF 2,300, Available July 2023