On June 1, 1904, Paul Cattin and Georges Christian formed their company in Holstein, Switzerland, and named it Oris after a nearby stream. This Swiss watch company quickly expanded and joined other timepiece pioneers in fitting bracelet buckles to pocket watches, transforming them into full-fledged wristwatches.
When the Swiss government implemented the "Watch Statute" in 1934, it monitored the watch-making industry and forced Oris to adopt the new movement mechanisms that their rivals already have in manufacturing. The company has made famous watches, all of which fall into one of four 'Oris Worlds: Aviation, Divers, Motorsports, and Culture.
For their classic, understated styles and well-documented history of superior Swiss performance, vintage Oris watches can appeal to nearly every watch wearer. Here is a selection of the top Oris vintage watches.
1. Oris Big Crown Pointer Date
One of the top vintage Oris watches is Oris Big Crown Pointer Date. From the domed crystal covering the dial to the transparent sapphire case back, this is a vintage-inspired reinterpretation of a classic Oris aviation watch. From the chocolatey black dial to the slate blues, there's something for everyone. Several watches evoke memories of long and blissful trips down memory lane to a time when art deco was the new trend, roadside diners still played bebop music, and new cars were what we would consider classic cars today.
The Oris Big Crown Pointer Date is one such timepiece. The tones used in the dial designs on the various models are the most distinctive feature of this series. Several models feature a soft calfskin leather strap, and many of these straps come in a variety of warm nostalgic tones that complement the dials' soft slightly desaturated hues brilliantly. Among the most popular Oris Big Crown Pointer Date models is model # 01 754 7741 4065-07 5 20 63, which has a 40mm case and a distinctive slate blue dial. The color was found on popular classic cars from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s. It has a decadently designed luminous hour and minute hand, as well as a thin polished second's hand. The date feature on this watch is what attracts many people to it. Instead of an aperture for displaying the date, this watch employs another thin polished hand with a red pointer that points to the day of the month stamped around the edge of the dial.
2. Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition
Oris pays tribute to their first pilot's watch with a special limited edition that dates back over a century. It was named after the year they created their first pilot's wristwatch. It's a modern-day, vintage-inspired nod to the past while remaining contemporary. The watch is limited to 1917 pieces worldwide and has the reference number 01 732 7736 4081-Set LS. The polished finish extends to the side of the round pebble-shaped case as well as the fixed bezel ring. An oversized "onion" style crown is on the right side. A pusher with an engraved number sign sits just above the winding crown.
The fine-grain textured silver dial is covered and protected by a domed sapphire crystal. Its numerals have a hard drop-shadow printed in black, giving them a three-dimensional appearance. A railroad-style seconds track is printed in black along the dial flange, and there is a step-down level in the middle of the dial where the blued steel cathedral-style hands are loaded with luminescent material. The Oris Caliber 732, which powers the Big Crown 1917, is housed inside the 40mm polished stainless-steel case. It is an ébauche movement with a Sellita caliber SW-200-1 as its foundation.
The watch is attached to the brown leather strap by slender curved lugs with a polished finish. The case is water-resistant to 50m/165ft. Much like the original, the watch comes with a light brown soft calfskin strap with dark brown sides and a matching leather cuff behind it. The reverse side of the strap is lined with dark calfskin leather and stitched with brown thread to match the front side of the strap.
3. Oris Divers Sixty-Five
The Divers Sixty-Five emulates the great vintage divers of the 1960s, but unlike a vintage specimen, this one is ready for action, imploring its wearer to break the water's surface. The Divers Sixty-Five has been a favorite of critics and collectors since its debut at Baselworld. Oris has meticulously evolved the design of this winning classic over the last few years, offering multiple sizes, a variety of materials and dial configurations, and a selection of great bracelets and straps.
4. Oris Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter
Oris makes several pilot watches, but the mechanical altimeter function sets the Big Crown ProPilot apart from other aviator wristwatches. Oris also recognized the various types of pilots who require various types of altimeters. The altimeter watches used by American pilots are in feet rather than the metric system that is used everywhere else. The thick luminous-filled hands provide excellent visibility in low light conditions, such as at night. It has large, easy-to-read numerals that stand out against the dark dial which is another boost to visibility. The bezel has a nice coined edge, which was inspired by the shape and pattern of the turbines in a jet engine.
The Oris Big Crown watches are distinguished by their oversized crowns. This model features two screw-down crowns. One at 2 PM to set the time and date, and one at 4 PM to calibrate the altimeter, this measures changes in barometric pressure. It has a heavy-duty 47mm case that measures 47mm wide and 55mm lug to lug, and it is 18mm thick to house the altimeter inside. It contains the Oris caliber 733, a self-winding Sellita SW200-01 movement with a power reserve of approximately 38 hours. The 26-jewel Oris 733 automatic movement has three hands and a date function. The watch comes with a fabric strap or a steel bracelet.
Purchasing a vintage timepiece is an investment in something that will continue to appreciate over time. Vintage watches are an example of how beautiful vintage watches can be if properly cared for and maintained or restored. Vintage watches have a timeless beauty that is uncommon in modern watches. Look into Oris Vintage watches and be amazed. Oris timepieces are the most affordable in the Swiss-made watch industry.