Very few watch companies can claim that they have a timepiece in production today that they have had in production since it was first introduced, some 80 years back. But that is exactly what the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date is.
Oris first added the watch to its fold back in 1938. It was made with pilots in mind, with its crown such that they would be able to wear it over their flight attire and still be able to make adjustments to the watch using the crown.
Sure, in recent days, the watch has clearly received a plethora of material updates, a modern movement and, of course, doesn’t serve war fighting pilots as a critical tool. So what’s kept the Big Crown Pointer Date relevant to this date?
Oris attributes the timelessness of the Big Crown Pointer Date to it’s design. Oris Joint Executive Officer, Rolf Studer explains, “Beauty drives our decisions. In beauty we find attraction, love even, which drives us to invest. We buy what we love. With a watch, that’s particularly true. Most often, the heart rules the head.”
But you don’t have to take the word of the present man at the helm for what it’s worth. The strength of the Big Crown Pointer Date’s has proven itself under far more imposing scrutiny.
In the deep end of the Quartz Crisis, Oris like many other Swiss watchmakers, had its own set of struggles. In these troubled times, it was the Big Crown Pointer Date that would prove to be beacon of light, in every sense, for the brand. The keeper of that tale, is none other than Oris’ Honorary Chairman, Dr Rolf Portmann, who celebrates his 90th this year.
Dr Portmann started with the Hölstein, Switzerland based brand back in 1956 as a solicitor. Having won a legislative tussle against a protectionist federal resolution, known as the Swiss Watch Statute that was hindering the growth of the entire industry, he was then tasked to become the executive secretary of the company. His concerns now encompassing manufacturing, human resources and property management.
Fast forward to 1971, Dr Portmann was appointed managing director. At the same time the brand was sold to General Watch, which was part of the Allgemeine Schweizerische Uhrenindustrie AG (ASUAG).
In 1983, the political climate in Europe, financial markets and other factors drove the Swiss Banks to force ASUAG to merge with another group called the Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogère (SSIH) to form, Société de Microélectronique et d’Horlogerie (SMH), which is today, the Swatch Group.
In the course of merging with SSIH, ASUAG was planning to close Oris down. But just in the year prior to the SMH merger, Dr Portmann took a chance on Oris and bought the brand over. When asked why he took on such a decision, Dr Portmann simply says, it was because of his “strong belief in Oris.”
No doubt, Dr Portmann’s belief was about to be put to its greatest test in the murk of the Quartz Crisis. It was in this time that Dr Portmann decreed that Oris would only make mechanical watches. Reflecting on that decision, the man leading the brand today, Mr Studer shares, “the role of the Big Crown Pointer Date in Oris’ decision in the mid- to late 1980s to rebuild the company with only mechanical watches was critical.
“It had a story, a purpose and an emotional value that the quartz-powered novelties of the day simply couldn’t compete with. It became an Oris signature and a symbol of the Swiss watch industry’s dramatic revival.”
In celebrating the historic role of the Big Crown Pointer Date, Oris is announcing the Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date. A Big Crown Pointer Date with a bronze case isn’t new, but that dial on the new watch does set it apart. In fact, it even sets every Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date apart from one another. Because, the solid bronze dial of the new watch is chemically treated and coated with a transparent matt lacquer, where every watch ends up with a finish that is unique in each instance.
Furthering Dr Portmann’s belief in the brand, Revolution too believes that Oris continues to be an important and necessary force in the watchmaking landscape, very simply to hold onto this sanity: that great watchmaking does not need to cost a great deal. For this reason, we are honored to be able to offer you the Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date for purchase on Shop.Revolution.Watch as today, its launch day.
Self-winding Oris 754 (based on Sellita SW200); hour, minute, seconds and pointer date; 38-hour power reserve
40mm multi-piece bronze case; water resistant to 50m
Brown chamois deer leather strap with bronze buckle; comes with complimentary Revolution leather strap made by J.P. Menicucci when you purchase the watch on Shop.Revolution.Watch