Swiss watchmaker Oris is going for simplicity with the latest variation of its Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer that hides its dual time zone function behind a buttonless design. A 20th anniversary update of the company's 1997 Worldtimer, its bezel-operated complication allows the mechanical wristwatch to adjust the local time backwards and forwards in hour increments without the need to stop the mechanism or independently adjust the minutes or date.

One of the aggravating things about travel is adjusting one's watch to the new time zone. Even with digital watches it's often a frustrating exercise, but for watches with mechanical movements it's even worse. Changing the hour means pulling out the crown and stopping the mechanism, adjusting the time, syncing the minutes, and then starting it up again. If it has a date indicator, there's the added problem of making the adjustment at the wrong time of day and running the risk of jamming the date wheel.

Watches with dual time indicators are a help, but they only delay the inevitable until you travel somewhere new or daylight savings time arrives. But in 1997, Oris came up with its own solution by including an adjustment complication in its ProPilot Worldtimer that used a pair of pusher buttons to make the central hour hand jump clockwise or anticlockwise in one hour intervals without the need to stop the mechanism or fiddle with the minute hand. In addition, the watch took into account the time of day and adjusted the date if it meant shifting one side or the other of midnight.

In its 2017 iteration, Oris has done away with the pushers and replaced them with a functional coin-edged bezel inspired by jet engine turbines. Simply turning it clockwise or anticlockwise adjusts the local hour hand.

The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer uses the Oris calibre 690 movement based on the ETA 2836-2. It comes with a choice of black or anthracite dial with a sunray pattern and Super-LumiNova printed numerals, and polished nickel hour and minute hands also filled with Super-LumiNova. In the three o'clock position there's a subsidiary second time zone dial with hour and minute hands to show home time, date window, and day and night indicator, At nine o'clock is the seconds dial.

This is all set in a multi-piece stainless steel case water resistant to 100 m (10 bar), with screw-in security crown, coin-edge rotating bezel, sapphire domed crystal on both front and reverse, and a screwed stainless steel case back with transparent mineral glass

The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer comes with a choice of dark brown Louisiana crocodile leather, or dark brown or gray calf leather strap with an Oris-patented stageless length adjustment system based on the airplane safety-belt principle, or a stainless steel metal bracelet with stainless steel folding clasp.

"This is a significant moment in the history of the Oris Worldtimer," says Oris Chairman Ulrich W. Herzog, who oversaw the launch of the 1997 version. "In the year of its 20th anniversary, we're delighted to be introducing another innovative timepiece that has real-world value to pilots and international travelers. At heart, this is still a pure pilot's watch – we enjoy great support from the aviation community and we're very proud to have produced a design tailored to its needs."

The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer is available starting at CHF3,400 (US$3,500).

Oris via
View gallery - 11 images