When it comes down to high quality affordable timepieces there are only a few brands that I can think of and Oris is definitely one of them. The brand has a deep rooted connect with the field of aviation which clearly showcased through the Oris’s Big Crown collection. The Oris Big Crown collection came into existence in the year 1938 and comprises of some nicely styled pilots watches such as the Oris Big Crown 1917 limited edition watch released in Basel World 2017 and the more recently released PA Charles De Gaulle Oris limited edition watch. And just when we would have thought that this would be it from the brand this year, Oris has surprised us with yet an interesting release called the Oris Big Crown D.26 286 HB-RAG limited edition watch. With this watch Oris pays a tribute to the historic Dewoitine D.26 aircraft.
Before we talk about the watch, let us have a brief look at the history of the aircraft which inspires the Oris Big Crown D.26. The Dewiotine D.26 was a military trainer aircraft which was put into service by the Swiss government in the year 1931 and was principally used for training in gunnery and formation flying. There were a total of 11 aircrafts which were built and remained in service till 1948, after which they were decommissioned and were transferred to Aero-club der Schweiz where they were used as glider tugs until 1970. After serving the Aero-club the last example in use was restored and exhibited in a museum in Dübendorf, near Zurich to never fly again. But in 2015 things changed and the Dewoitine D.26 286 HB-RAG was passed into the care of Hangar 31, who maintain it and fly it on a regular basis, and the watch we are looking at today is a result of Oris’s association with the folks at Hangar 31.
Now that we are done with all the history and stuff, let us look into the watch itself. As the Oris Big Crown D.26 286 HB-RAG limited edition watch belongs to the Big Crown family it shares certain attributes such as the fluted bezel and the pointer date with its elder cousins from the same family. But, the real beauty of this watch lies in its matt green dial. Not only is the color refreshing to look at amidst a market otherwise flooded with black and blue watches, it also seems to provide a great backdrop against the printed white Arabic numerals aiding the overall legibility of the dial. The lumed cathedral style handset is well proportioned and should make reading time a breeze. Now coming down to one of my favorite details on this dial, the date mechanism. The date on this time piece has been presented in the form of numerals printed on the outer periphery of the dial and can be read using red tipped hand pointing towards the date. What I really like in this mechanism is how neatly it has been executed without disturbing the coherence of the dial or adding any unnecessary clutter.
The case on this watch has a diameter of 40mm which should make it wear comfortably wear on varied wrist sizes. On the top is a fluted bezel which fits well with the overall aesthetic of the watch giving it a distinctive appeal. The crystal on the front is a highly domed sapphire crystal which is domed on both sides and has been coated with anti-reflective material on the inside to provide a clear of the dial. T
he case back is of screw down variety and has a nicely stamped motif of the Dewoitine D.26 aircraft, along with the relevant text and the serial number information. Another nice attention to detail is the fluting which has been done on the outer edge of the case back giving the watch a cohesive look. The case is water resistant to only 50 metres, which I feel is little less considering that this watch does not have an exhibition case back.
Powering this watch is the Oris Automatic caliber 754, which is based on the Sellita SW200-1 and has been modified by Oris to show the date via the pointer date mechanism. The movement beats at a frequency of 4Hz and provides a power reserve of around 38 hours. It can be hacked and can also be hand wound using the oversized crown at 3.
All in all the Oris Big Crown D.26 286 HB-RAG is another great limited edition offering by the brand and in case you are on the look-out for a solidly built and reliable aviation inspired timepiece, you might want to consider this watch as an option. The watch is limited to a production run of 1931 pieces and would come fitted with a brown leather strap. The watch would be presented in a special presentation box along with an additional leather strap and would retail at a price of 1850 CHF. For more info, please visit oris.ch