Introducing The High-Flying Oris ProPilot Altimeter In A New 47mm Carbon Fiber Case
Let me be clear: this new watch isn’t for everybody. The old version, however, was for way fewer people. Yes, the ProPilot Altimeter was a technical gem, but with its 47mm steel case, it was also a very hefty watch. It took not only a large wrist to wear it but also considerable arm strength. Oris has “solved” part of the problem. What the brand from the Swiss town of Hölstein did was replace the heavy steel case with one in carbon fiber — a very innovative type of carbon fiber. Yes, the oversized diameter stayed the same, but the new ProPilot Altimeter is now 1mm slimmer and way lighter. And the change in case material also resulted in a very technical and stealthy look, which is just what you need, want, and expect from a pilot’s instrument.
Back in 2014, Oris built the world’s first watch that combined an automatic mechanical movement with a mechanical altimeter. It was quite the achievement — and quite the watch. Literally. The 47 × 17mm steel instrument was impressive in every possible way. Evolution and innovation have led to a new version of that pilot’s watch that keeps track of the height you’re flying/living at in a high-tech carbon fiber case. And the new watch also saw some other technical upgrades, including an improved altimeter module.
The Oris ProPilot Altimeter now comes in a 47mm carbon fiber case
Which do you prefer — an altimeter that measures in feet or meters? Doesn’t really matter. Oris will sell you the new ProPilot Altimeter with either an increased altitude scale of 19,700 feet or 6,000 meters (the previous model’s scales topped out at 15,000 feet or 4,500 meters). The ProPilot Altimeter in steel had fans not only among pilots but also hikers and, of course, watch aficionados with a taste for unusual complications. It took Oris three years to develop an updated and improved version of the watch.
Not only is it now better at mechanically displaying air pressure and altitude via a single dial, but it’s also easier to wear. And that latter feature is thanks to the new case made of a carbon fiber composite. But does this case look familiar to you? That could be because the ProPilot Coulson Limited Edition with its flaming orange dial also uses a carbon fiber case that’s made in the same way.
The case is like a tree, only much lighter
The 47mm case of the newest iteration of the ProPilot Altimeter is developed and perfected by 9T Labs, a spin-off of the ETH Zürich university (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). What’s interesting about 9T Labs is the company’s focus on the “climate neutral mobility of the future,” which means introducing new design and manufacturing standards for stronger, lighter parts at lower cost and with zero waste. The carbon of the Altimeter watch is made sustainably and results in a unique design with an artistic, natural pattern. The tree-ring effect comes from an all-in-one manufacturing solution based on “additive manufacturing and molding.” Don’t call it “3D printing” because it’s different. Normal 3D printing is mainly used for prototyping. 9T Labs managed to industrialize its special process so that it can produce end-use parts at high volumes.
It’s PEKK, and it’s light and strong
The material used for the case is a composite of carbon fiber and a polymer called PEKK. This is a material with high mechanical, heat, and chemical resistance. PEKK is light as plastic but stronger and stiffer than most metals. If it works in parts for airplanes, satellites, cars, motorbikes, and instruments used in surgery, it also works in watch cases. Oris is the first watchmaker to use 9T’s carbon fiber, and that material keeps the Oris 793 movement safe, not only on land and in the air but also to a depth of 100 meters underwater. The automatic movement also got an upgrade and now has an improved 56-hour power reserve. Ready to take off with this imposing yet stealthy and lightweight ProPilot Altimeter? Maybe it’s good to know that the “ticket price” is CHF 6,200.
For more information on the high-flying ProPilot Altimeter, please check the official Oris website.
Find and follow me at Lex Stolk • Instagram.