10 for 10 Episode 8: A fantastic way of celebrating 80 years of such an important watch...
Welcome back to episode 8 of 10 for 10. This is a series from WatchGecko that sets out to inform you, the reader of 10 watches branching over 10 different categories that combined offer an extremely versatile, enjoyable and rounded collection. All together coming in at a value less than £10,000.
Some watches maybe more expensive, some may be extremely affordable but together they will all come in less than £10,000. Stay tuned to the blog for regular new episodes as well as our YouTube channel for extended looks at each watch featured.
The Pilots Watch
Let's take a look at a watch type which has played an immensely large part in the history of horology. The pilots watch origins date back over 100 years and the necessity for a clear, solid and dependable time telling device hasn't gone away. Naturally, they have evolved along with the world and advancements in technology, however, our suggestion remains very true to what the pilots were using decades ago and this specific model itself has a pretty fascinating history.
Realistically, if you're looking for a pilots watch to use while actually piloting an aircraft, there will be many more modern options out there that would fit the brief, however, if you want something that acts as a reminder of the evolution of these popular watches, we have you covered...
The Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary Edition - what it does
Founded in 1904, Oris Watches are one of those names in horology that consistently perform very well.
Whether it's diving, aviation, motor-sports or more dress Oris have (and has for many years) watches for each in abundance. However, one of the most important models in their range sits in aviation. Initially introduced in 1938, the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date has truly seen it all and is definitely one of those watches that's really earnt its place in the current line up.
"No watch tells the historic tale of independent Swiss watchmaker Oris quite like the iconic Big Crown Pointer Date. It’s a potent symbol of Oris’s philosophy, and some say that without it Oris might not enjoy its current status as a leader in Swiss Made mechanical watches."
The Pointer Date has survived everything Oris has since '38, managing to be one model in the line up to still remain in production through the quartz crisis, something which historically wiped out many Swiss mechanical manufactures at the time.
This 40mm wide pilots watch comes in just over 12mm thick and is complete with a lug to lug distance right around 47mm. Of course, eagle-eyed readers will have realised by now that the watch is a bronzed case watch which when compared to the standard Pointer Date in their range, offers a very unique looking watch.
Bronze has been a very popular material to use in watchmaking in recent years with the likes of Oris being one of many brands to make the most of this popular trendy choice. A sunken coin edge bezel wraps around the dial of the watch which is almost padded out by the well-proportioned lugs.
Complimenting the bronze case of the watch is a warm green dial. The dial has an extremely balanced and symmetrical look to it which when combined with the warmth of the bronze case, makes for a smooth elegant combo. Subtle unique differences on the Pointer Date such as the seconds track sitting slightly more central on the dial because of the date hand. Bold printed Arabic numerals along with cathedral styled hands act as a consistent reminder of the watches longevity in the Oris line up.
These hands are filled with Super-LumiNova along with each hour marker being tipped with slightly less strong lume. The Arabic numerals on the dial also feature lume, however, it seems to be once again a little less strong, further adding emphasis to the hands.
The Pointer Date hand is red tipped and sits right at the bottom of the hand stack, effectively adding depth to the watch's dial. All of the hands are finished off in a gilt/bronze colour which naturally is a very complimentary addition with the case on the watch.
Once the Pointer Date is on your wrist you’ll be viewing the old school styled dial detail through a sapphire crystal which domed on both sides, with AR coating inside.
When looking at the watch across the dial at a circle angle you can really see the domed crystal which gives it a great look. The crown on the Pointer Date is signed Oris, complete in bronze and is slightly oversized much like the original models, so glove wearing airmen could easily make adjustments.
Flipping the watch over you’re greeted with a mineral crystal display case back showing off the Oris 754 movement. This movement is a hacking, automatic, 38-hour power reverse machine which has, of course, been fitted with Oris’s instantly recognisable red rotar. The main talking point of this movement is the addition of the pointer date hand.
This is an independent hand which, with the addition of a track running around the edge of the dial keeps track of the date in an unconventionally yet visually appealing way.
How does it wear on the wrist?
I’ll hold my hands up, this is one of the first bronze watches I’ve really spent a noticeable amount of time with and, I’m pleased to report although initially, it's quite a change from stainless steel, it gets the thumbs up from me. Bronze has been a popular trend in watchmaking in recent years and for good reason.
The way the Pointer Date blends the green dial with the bronze case almost effortlessly is extremely satisfying. When the light catches all four hands perfectly it quickly reminds you of how important this watch is for the brand. The tones the watch produces make me think about 1940's military equipment. As with most coin edge bezel, this one is happy to play with the light independently and in turn, assisting the watch to keep its modern presence on the wrist.
Talking of wrist presence, it’s fair to say people notice this watch. The distinctive case and bezel attract wondering eyes much more than other luxury watches I’ve worn. But the best thing about the Pointer Date is those small little design details reserved just for the wearer.
The red-tipped pointer date hand, the elegant cathedral hands, the way the coin edge bezel sits apart of the case, the overall softness of the dial and, for some reason, that rounded abstract 4 is something which once seen and appreciated for its quirks, cannot be unseen. I think its time we explored some straps…
Replacement Watch Straps For the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date
As standard, the strap that comes with the Oris is a light brown leather strap. This simple leather strap builds from where the bronze case left off, replicating the warmth from the case just in a slightly different shade. This overall warmth is a huge benefit of the watch and something we just cannot ignore with a few of our strap suggestions...
Geckota Chedworth Suede Handmade in Birch Green
This combo for me is one of the most drastic changes for the Pointer Date but it manages to pull it off extremely well. The soft green from the suede clearly matches the dial on the watch accurately, something which a green leather would have struggled with. The contrasting ivory stitching picks up on the second's track and lume colour very subtly. The strap itself uses Italian pull up leather lining, ensuring maximum comfort and increased durability over other suede straps available.
Geckota Kington Vintage Dress in Brown
The Kington Leather is a newer strap for the Geckota range however for me its instantly one of my favourite. This classically proportioned strap tapers 4mm down to the buckle, comes with consistent, neat stitching down the strap and is finished with a good amount of padding to ensure endless comfort. Combine this with the extremely high quality pull up leather which can age gracefully alongside the bronze on your new Pointer Date.
Think of the Highley but designed for slightly slimmer watches and you get the Kington, its worth having in your strap arsenal!
Geckota Painswick QR in Distressed Brown
Finally the Painswick. Yet again the Painswick makes another appearance on the WG online magazine. This time the brown option with the distressed finish is another strap option that transforms the watch once again. This shade of brown is actually very different from the Kington. A solid option if you want to hark back to the Pointer Date’s history with a slightly more rugged look.
On the Kington, I swapped over the Oris buckle from the original strap as these straps taper the same amount to the buckle. If you’re looking to combine the Kington with your Pointer Date I’d recommend doing the same to be left with a quality complete package.
What we would improve
So what would we change on the Oris? Well, I've thought of changes for some time now and I think Oris has done a good job with the Pointer Date to ensure there is something for everyone. Want the watch in a smaller size? Go for the 36mm version. Not a fan of the bronze? No problem, pick up a stainless steel one. Prefer a tropical style dial? Or a bracelet option? Or even one with more of a gilt look to the dial?
Oris have such a wide range with this model that if you're not sure on this exact one, I'm sure they will have something which suits your style.
Experience the watch for yourself
Check out our video on the channel which further covers the Oris along with live hands-on footage...
Why this watch?
So why the Pointer Date and if you can get your hands on one, why the 80th anniversary. Well to start with its an ideal candidate for the pilots watch in your collection because it a perfect watch to summarise a large genre. Its mix of history, distinctive design, importance and unique wearability make it a real stand out option. The use of bronze really adds some diversity to your collection and this is one of the best executions of bronze available today.
If you only had to own one Oris, you might as well make it arguably their most important model...
The Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary is currently available starting from £1,500 to find out more and explore whole Pointer Date line up, check out their site here.