Strap Check — The Fratello × Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date “Fratelloris” On The Oris Pointer Date Bronze Bracelet
When it comes to watches, I am a self-professed bracelet lover. I always encourage fellow enthusiasts to get the bracelet version for a number of reasons. Sometimes, however, a watch isn’t offered on a bracelet. Usually, that means the watch has less appeal to me, but that was definitely not the case with the limited-edition Fratello × Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date. Now, after sourcing a newly released bronze bracelet for this watch, does my advice still hold?
As I admitted already, I tend to prefer my watches on their bracelets. In fact, I hardly ever buy a watch that doesn’t have a stock bracelet option. Having the “Fratelloris” on the bronze bracelet for a few weeks now has really driven this point home for me. There is something about the warm tone of a full-bronze bracelet that complements the overall wearing experience. It might be my predisposition to bracelets or the fact that nothing else in my watch box has a similar look and feel.
A bronze bracelet for the “Fratelloris”?
This might seem like a passing fad, but since bringing out a full-bronze bracelet on the 2020 Holstein Edition Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph, Oris and others have continued this trend of offering full-bronze bracelets on bronze watches. This came as a bit of a surprise to many as bronze is known for oxidizing and developing a patina. This not only changes the color of the metal but also can rub off on the wearer’s skin, leaving behind a green residue. While the patina attracts many to bronze watches, on a bracelet, it could potentially be a step too far.
Oris continued this trend in 2021 with the release of the Cotton Candy Divers Sixty-Five watches. After these watches hit the market, I was lucky enough to speak with V.J Geronimo from Oris North America. I inquired if the bracelet from these watches might fit my recently acquired Fratello × Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date. Unfortunately, the lug width was different on these watches. Finally, at Oris’s January 2022 preview in Vail, Colorado, my dream to put a bracelet on my Fratello Oris came true. Oris was now offering a newly developed bracelet for the expanded Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date lineup. My first question was, of course, “Can I order one of these for my Fratello edition?”
A familiar design
The bracelet design that Oris chose for the bronze Big Crown Pointer Date mirrors the design for the stainless steel version. It is a seven-link, almost Jubilee-style bracelet with solid, female end links. There is a nice taper from the 20mm end links to the 16mm clasp. The bracelet uses a single stainless steel screw per link, allowing for easy sizing. Some might complain that bronze screws should have been used to match the rest of the bracelet, but the potential for the patina to freeze a screw in place is probably high, which would result in a stripped screw head.
The bracelet gives the watch a sportier vibe than the leather strap, but a dressier look than the included nylon strap. The bracelet drapes comfortably over my wrist due to the design of the end links and drops immediately downward from the lug. The five micro-adjust positions ensure that finding a comfortable size should not be a problem. Unfortunately, there is no easy-adjust system, just a no-nonsense series of holes with a spring bar that can be easily adjusted with any small, pointed object. It is important to remember that this is an OEM bracelet produced for a new version of this watch. As such, it has the heft and build quality that one would expect from a brand like Oris.
On the wrist
The “Fratelloris” came with two straps — a beautifully colored pewter/gray leather with red leather backing and a light gray NATO-style nylon strap. Both of these straps work very nicely with the bronze metal case. They also offer options for cooler weather (leather) and the humid summer weather I am currently experiencing in Cincinnati, OH. That said, the nylon strap is a double pass, which is the style I prefer my NATO straps to be, but it does raise the profile of this watch a bit. This is a shame because the slim mid-case with the domed sapphire makes for an excellent low profile on the wrist. Could I cut the second pass from the strap? Yes, but I hesitate to do this for this strap specifically because it is so well executed. I am not one to modify, and this strap is no exception.
Changing from the nylon strap to the bracelet when it arrived presented me with a quandary: do I take some lemon juice to the lovely patina that my watch has developed in the last year and a half? I decided against that, allowing the bracelet to catch up to its new mate. An interesting thing happened, though. In handling the watch to get the bracelet attached, I must have rubbed some of the patina off (though my hands did not show signs of this). In my initial shots of the watch, it was almost like the watch head was shining more than it had the day before on the nylon strap. It was something I was definitely not expecting.
Green with envy
The bracelet is quickly becoming my default option for the warmer months with this watch, and I will say, it is already seeing an uptick in wrist time. It keeps the profile low on the wrist, which highlights the slimness of the case. The bracelet has excellent articulation, which, combined with five micro-adjust positions, creates a very comfortable wearing experience. The patina is developing nicely, and the watch and bracelet already have a similar coloration to them. It also does not seem to be having much of an effect on the articulation of the links, despite the tight tolerances.
The least pleasant experience about the bracelet was waiting to order one! Seeing the new, non-limited bronze Big Crowns show up on Instagram only increased my desire for one. Some were even starting to show signs of patina!
This brings me to the elephant in the room. Yes, the bracelet does leave behind a green residue on my wrist. The climate here in southern Ohio means hot, humid days for much of the summer. The coloration does not bother me one bit. It washes off easily and, most of the time, without soap. The patina left behind on my skin doesn’t even enter my mind until I take the watch off at the end of the day. It gives me a quick chuckle, and it is gone with a shower the following morning.
I think what excites me most about acquiring the bronze bracelet is the array of options I now have for the Fratello Oris. I would not have thought that a bronze watch with an oxblood dial would have such versatility, but it really does! In my time owning the watch, I have worn it on the leather and nylon straps, an anthracite Tropic strap (a quick buckle change made this option one of my favorites last summer), and now the bronze bracelet. The watch, despite its classic/dressy aesthetic, has looked great on all of these. The bracelet is quickly becoming my favorite, which is not a surprise to me at all.
If you are considering one of the new Big Crown Pointer Date models in bronze, I would encourage you to spend the extra US$400 or so to get it on the bracelet. If, like me, you want this look on your existing bronze watch (either the Fratello edition or another version) the cost to add it to the collection is $785, and it can be acquired through your local Oris authorized dealer. I think that math alone helps drive home my original premise: when available, buy the watch on the bracelet. Your pocketbook will appreciate it!
I would love to hear your take on a full-bronze bracelet. Is it something that makes you green with envy? Or would the residue left behind make you resemble the green-face emoji? Are you a bracelet wearer or a strap enthusiast? Let us know in the comments below.