We take a look at a curious riff on the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary in bronze.
I needed a new watch like a hole in the head, but there I was at Baselworld 2019 making a decision on what novelty I’d procure. I’m not really what you’d call an altruist, but I like to support the industry by purchasing a watch every year that’s actually in production instead of always defaulting to vintage. That’s really not such a chore these days as I think we’re living during the time of some really great watches. In fact, there’s hardly a brand that doesn’t offer something that I wouldn’t mind calling my own. But it was our annual meeting with the still-independent brand from Hölstein that virtually caused me to lay my money down on the table. I chose an Oris Big Crown Pointer Date, but with a twist. And guess what? I’m in love…
To be more specific, I chose the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary, which only comes in bronze, only in 40mm, and only with a dark green dial unique to this watch (you can see a press photo above). If you’re a fan of the brand, you’d immediately jump at me and state that this watch was actually released during late 2018 and you’d be right. So, was I really ordering a new release? Let’s address what you might consider as the color-blind elephant in the room; this watch has a maroon (I prefer calling it oxblood as it reminds me of the pair of Doc Marten’s I had in college) dial.
At Baselworld 2019, Oris released a steel Pointer Date in 40mm with the oxblood dial (seen above) and it is one gorgeous watch, but for some reason I wanted a bronze version. Blame it on the faux vintage incandescent light bulbs, dark wood tables, and/or the brown bottles of beer within the Oris booth, but these things drove me to desiring warm, Autumnal colors, and ultimately, a bronze Pointer Date with this new oxblood dial. So, I did what most humans strangely don’t do when they want something different: I asked. And then Oris said yes – kind of.
Our Dutch contact Gijs was clearly willing to help find an Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary, although he mentioned that demand was and is so hot for these (truth) that it would take two months to get one. Regarding the dial, a loose one could be sent, but that the brand was unwilling to offer a true one-off piece for a host of different, and understandable, reasons. So, I had the watch shipped to our favorite watchmaker Paul, who now inexplicably fills his days by recreating the iconic Gucci loafer using the tired old seating skins from junkyard Jaguars. In the case of his hobby, belief is only achieved via observance. And so Paul took time away from his cobbling in order to perform the transplant and in my humble opinion, the watch looks epic. As an aside, the handsets on the steel 40mm and bronze Pointer Date variants differ (i.e. the hands have white metal surrounds on the steel version), but the dials contain no trace of metal on them. Therefore, this was purely a dial swap.
There’s less than nothing to complain about with the standard dark green dial found on the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary. Oris, from my vantage point, qualifies as one of the most gifted in the industry when it comes to choosing color hues for its watches. Whether it’s that light blue and yellow Divers Sixty-Five, the chalkboard green dial found on 36mm Pointer Dates, or the vivid hues found on the sunburst-dialed Aquis diver, Oris has a real knack for being “on point” with its palette. I simply wanted something different and as the bronze watch case has developed a patina in just a few short weeks, I’ve only become more smitten. But let’s look into what else makes this watch so attractive because, after all, a dial modification can enhance a watch, but it’s unlikely to transform a mediocre platform.
In reality, I’d posit that the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary should be considered a field watch. With its lumed hands, big screw-down crown, screw-down (albeit display) stainless steel case back, 50 meters of water resistance, and domed sapphire crystal, it qualifies as a relatively tough, go anywhere watch. Yes, “field watch” is probably a term that’s been bastardized beyond recognition, but I’d take this watch just about anywhere.
And if you’re asking, the lumed hands on the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary just might rank as the brightest this side of Seiko, which was a real surprise.
With the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary, the dial styling is the same as other models within the lineup, whether they’re steel or bronze. That means that there’s a real blend of retro intertwined with modern materials and sizing (either 36 or 40mm). And, of course, there’s a long fourth hand with a red-tipped crescent that ensconces the lower edge of the date. This can be found on the edge of the dial and it’s a masterful way to add a bit of complication to a dial without having to go the route of the near-universally detested date window. Yes, it’s a bit sneaky because it’s merely a date, but it’s a difference maker in a sea of look alike watches. Naturally, it’s easy to set as well via the crown as Oris has designed its own modification (called the Oris cal.754) and paired it with the Sellita SW200-1.
Additionally, Picky Paul was pretty impressed with his handiwork which included the delicate removal of specs of odd dust that came along with the loose dial, but he mentioned his disdain for the stodgy cathedral hands. I respect his opinion because they’re actually not very sporty looking, but in the end we’re on opposite sides of the table. I think those antiquarian hands blend well with the overall design of the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary and I struggle to envision something more successful.
With my infantile wrists, you might ask why I chose the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary in 40mm instead of another model in 36mm. Trust me, I didn’t do it because of the dial change opportunity. No, I did it because the 40mm model wears beautifully. It’s slim at nearly 12mm in thickness and the lugs are suitably short (48mm lug to lug) so as not to overhang my wrist. Notably, the warm colors actually deescalate the sizing.
I did try the 36mm and due to the reasons mentioned above, it actually came off as too diminutive in my eyes. I’d recommend trying both before buying, though, as either size works wonderfully with the design. The other detail that works well is the ridged bezel. Without it, we’d have an anonymous three-hand watch that would present itself as just another nice watch. Oris nailed the sizing on this coin-edged surface in terms of finishing, width and height. It really enhances the watch instead of overpowering it.
I alluded to the fact that the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary fits my wrist well, but what’s a nice watch without a decent strap? On that end, I’m happy to report that the standard vegetable-tanned brown leather 20mm strap doesn’t disappoint. It’s extremely simple with some white stitching at the ends, but it’s plain up by the lugs. Kudos to Oris for resisting what must have been the temptation to add something like a two-stitch pattern as this strap is left to do exactly what it should design-wise and that’s to act as an accomplice to the case and dial. The strap is thick up top (both in actual thickness and width), but tapers perfectly towards the signed bronze buckle. I’d also call your attention to the dark brown edge sealant employed here as it also adds to the classy look. Regarding the wearing experience, the strap seemed a bit stiff out of the box, but one wear was all it took to mold to my wrist. Despite the inclusion of quick-release spring bars, I’m in no rush to experiment with other straps at the moment.
At 1,800 Euros, the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary strikes me as one of the best all-around watches out there. And frankly, it’s been awhile since a new everyday watch has struck such a chord with me. Yes, I’m still firmly within the honeymoon period with my creation, but I just don’t see myself tiring of its timeless looks. Whether one opts for 36mm, 40mm, steel or bronze, it’s really hard to go wrong with any of these Oris models. I simply took a slightly different path.
For more information on the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th Anniversary, head to the official Oris site.
Michael was born in South Florida in the USA. As a full-time role, he works in the Automotive Industry. He's lived and worked in many locations and when he's not cruising at 30,000 feet, he calls Germany home. Michael became... read more