It’s funny how, as collectors, we so often make plans for our collections. Some people might collect specific brands; others may stick to specific models within a brand’s collections. For the non-hardcore brand aficionados, many collections center around having watches fit specific style categories. There’s the rough and ready dive watch, the classy dress watch, and the traveler’s friend with the GMT. You can’t forget the chronograph, or the everyday field watch too. The final one on this list is the pilot’s watch. Today I am looking at one of my favorite pilot’s watches, the Oris Oris Big Crown ProPilot Bronze.

In the modern-day, when I hear the brand name Oris I think of dive watches first and foremost. Two of Oris’s top-selling models are the Aquis and the Divers Sixty-Five, and they’re also the models I most regularly see on social media. Despite this, the Big Crown family of aviation-inspired watches have long been a favorite of the Oris’s collectors and enthusiasts alike. The Big Crown sets the Holstein brand apart from the competition, especially given its accessible price point and availability.

Big Crown ProPilot Big Date Bronze wristshot

An expansive and versatile collection

The Big Crown collection includes a wide range of references in many different styles. For example, there’s the Big Crown Pointer Date, which was the model that we chose for our Sold Out “Fratelloris”. Having celebrated its 80th birthday in 2018 and still going strong in 2021, the Big Crown Pointer Date has proven a solid competitor in the €1500 – €2000 price bracket. The watch offers excellent value for money. There’s a reason why people are still buying this watch today.

Then we get to the ProPilot collection, which Oris launched back in 2014. This versatile collection includes various complications, meaning there’s pretty much a ProPilor model for everyone. After a GMT? Don’t worry; the ProPilot GMT has you covered. Are you looking for a chronograph? There’s the ProPilot Chronograph for that. Hell, if there’s even a GMT Chronograph so you can combine the two. If you’re after something a little out of the ordinary, then you might like the ProPilotX with its skeletonized dial. You truly are spoiled for choice.

Big Crown ProPilot Big Date Bronze

The Big Crown ProPilot Big Date

However, there is one model in the ProPilot collection which is just so infinitely versatile. It covers the essential bases I look for in a watch while still absolutely looking the part. I am, of course, talking about the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date. Its large, clean, and legible dial offers the classic core assets of traditional pilot’s watches mixed with the modern stylings I like in a watch. The watch effortlessly transcends beyond limiting itself as purely a pilot’s watch. Here we have a watch that could easily be dressed up to go with a suit, despite being quite far from your traditional dress watch per se.

Possibly my favorite feature of the watch is its bezel. The excellently machined, fluted design harmonizes modern dial stylings with the classic pilot’s watch vibe. Along with the iconic oversized crown, this watch does it all.

Display case back showing the movement

Bringing bronze to the collection

The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date Bronze marks the first time Oris has used bronze in the ProPilot collection. That may turn a few heads, and not all for the right reasons. Some people are pretty opposed to bronze in watchmaking, and I’ll admit I used to be one of those people. Until I got my Fratelloris, I had no intention of owning a bronze watch. I’d seen the many horror shows of forced aging on social media. Some of those “projects” looked like a mutated disease. The kind of watch that Venom might wear. However, when I got to try on the bronze Pointer Date, I immediately loved it. By all accounts, the bronze complements the ProPilot too. Its rich, warm hues work beautifully with the watch’s subtly industrial finishing.

Lift deployant clasp

An affordable and well-specced watch

The movement is an Oris 751, based on Selitta’s SW220-1. This provides 38 hours of power reserve, and you can peek at it through the display case back. In this day and age, 38 hours is not particularly impressive, but given the very wallet-friendly price, I think it’s something I can let slide. A gorgeous olive-colored nylon canvas strap completes the watch, complete with the fantastic seatbelt-style “Lift” deployant clasp. I’m a big fan of these straps. For me, it’s a much preferable option to leather.

The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date Bronze is available with a bold, black dial. The bronze-color printed minute track and Oris logo offer some contrast and tie-in to the case. I’d love to see Oris offer some other dial options in the near future. I reckon the silvery-grey dial could look superb cased in bronze too, with the same bronze markings. Oris, if you’re listening…

Big Crown ProPilot Big Date Bronze wristshot

Passing the wrist test!

The best people to comment on watches are always the ones who get to experience the watches for an extended period of time. Fratello Editor and Oris Social Club London president, Ben Hodges, had the Big Crown ProPilot Big Date Bronze on his wrist for a few days and said, “The size is great at 41mm, and it wears very comfortably. The jet engine blade bezel works well with the polished bronze case, and the oversized date also works well for the dial’s diameter and appears proportional to the lumed numerals.” The strap particularly appealed to Ben, and he said he’s planning to get one to team up with his Fratelloris. Top tip for any owners reading this!

Priced at just €1,850, it’s hard to argue with the value on offer. Oris has made great strides to produce excellent watches at accessible price points. With the Big Crown ProPilot Big Date Bronze, it has done just that, all while further proving that bronze watches are here to stay. Visit the Oris website to find out more.

Follow me on Instagram: @davesergeant
Photography by Ben Hodges: @benjameshodges