Oris has now been celebrating 110 years of success in producing some of the most beautiful Swiss watches of all time. Holstein, known for its picturesque patchwork of hilly forests and lakes, is also home to the brand known as the creators of “real watches for real people”. And now, if you haven’t yet heard, a new innovation for those with a hunger for heights has arrived. The new Big Crown Pro-pilot Altimeter. Equipped with a device new to Oris, this gadget allows the wearer to know exactly how close or distant they are to the earth’s surface – yet another invention that a dedicated watch collector cannot refuse to add to their gadget drawer. Oris have refined their most expert abilities in producing legible and reliable tools for professionals of the skies to make a pilot piece with a little extra special something.
There are a number of pursuits enjoyed in the UK, such as hiking and climbing, which are just calling out for a timepiece with this built-in ability. Similarly, it would appeal to dare-devils like parachutists and sky divers, to not only the amateurs, but for emergency rescue teams and the army too. By the end of the Second World War, the British air force saw a plethora of parachutes headed for the incinerator. It was around this time that expertly trained paratroopers rescued these unused materials and began to skydive again – some to enjoy a new and competitive sport, others for the sheer recreational pleasure of it. Now skydiving has reached new heights of popularity with up to 250,000 participators in the sport annually in the UK. With a total of 35 training groups set up across the UK, the British Parachute Association is the largest, relying on up-to-date and accurate technology to perform safe deliveries from aircrafts reaching 14,000 feet. What’s more, this watch comes with luminous hands/dial markers to increase visibility in low light making it all the more versatile and appealing to those sky diving at night time – another activity that is ever growing in popularity.
Now, the first automatic watch with this device is hitting watch collectors’ radar worldwide. As a result, the big Crown Pro-pilot Altimeter could easily be a strong competitor for “the watch to own” for anyone with a hunger for heights! As easy as it would be to talk solely on how stunning this model is from an aesthetical point of view alone – the velvety black dial owning a beautifully bold set of Super-LumiNova filled Arabic numbers or the striking textile strap with foldable clasp – it would be a grave injustice not to discuss the science behind such a delicate work of art.
The Oris Big Crown Pro-pilot Alitmeter watch is one of a kind. The centre piece of the mechanism works as a traditional watch – a seconds, minutes and hour hand design with date display. The surrounding dial is an atmospheric air pressure gauge determined by a red indicator. The third structure around the watch face consists of a non-linear calibration which represents altitude. The greater the alititude, the lower the pressure. The built-in mechanical Altimeter is used to measure atmospheric air pressure of any object above a fixed level which may sound like a common piece of equipment to have built into a watch, however it is the first ever piece of technology to be introduced to an automatic timepiece. The altimeter holds an air-filled sealed compartment which either expands (as air pressure falls and height increases) or contracts (as air pressure rises and height decreases). These movements are then amplified by a system of intricate gears and levers which operate the altimeter pointers on a dial display making it easily readable for those involved in operating aircrafts or parachuting. Those with an interest in all altitude-related activities can really appreciate the hypothesis that safe actions and effective decision making must rely on accurate and readable information, one quality that Oris will never fail to deliver on.
One may ask how it is possible to get an altimeter hand that is 7 times lighter than that of an average watch hand, yet 10 times stiffer and also small enough to fit into a wristwatch? The answer? Laminating the carbon fibre. The cleverly constructed Sellita movement, together with the location of the altimeter hand developed by the Swiss watch specialist Thommen, allows them to sit happily side by side as the perfect neighbours. This design structure ensures inaccurate readings are consigned to the past. The watch also has two crowns – the 2 o’clock for normal time adjustment and the 4 o’clock for operating the altimeter itself. Position “0” inactivates the watch to become water tight and position “1” stimulates the altimeter to begin reading off the red dial.
Added features are those such as the 38 hour power reserve, the multi piece stainless steel case water resistant up to 100 metres and more importantly, the watch is affordable – another of Oris’ core values that they have never disappointed on. What is all the more special about the brand’s design is that all parts of the watch are covered by Oris’ patents, even down to the minor details such as the co-axial layout of the watch and the skeletonised movement vessel. For those even more technically minded, the venting crown and altimeter adjustment is also patented with a PTFE vapour barrier membrane to prevent any moisture entering the watch. Inspired by Swiss aircraft equipment, the Big Crown Pro-pilot Altimeter comes on a foldable clasp styled on a safety belt, allowing the watch owner a real connection to be experienced similar to that on the wing. To open the strap, the buckle is lifted from its position taking on the feel of an aircraft belt release or parachute release button.
The Big Crown Pro-pilot Altimeter is the perfect addition to the already well established Oris pilot collection stemming back from 1938 when the birth of the first in the big crown line was celebrated, and we expect to see many other revolutionary models to join the skies of the already soaring high Oris pilot range in more successful years ahead.