Editor’s note: Too often watchmaking is perceived (even by people inside the tent) as a Very Serious Business. And, yes, timekeeping is important, but you know what’s more important? Having a fun, fulfilling life. And while it’s a stretch to say that your watch can make your life better, I suspect that the pure hit of unadulterated joy I’d get every time I checked the time on this funk-tastic watch wouldn’t hurt. Cameron explores the pint-sized packet of fun that is the Oris Chronoris …
The story in a second: Disco might be dead, but the ’70s live on in Oris’ latest re-edition.
A decade for experimentation, the ’70s was an era of bold shapes and brightly coloured designs (men’s turtleneck ponchos, anyone?). While many of these experiments should never be repeated (men’s turtleneck ponchos), there are a few special exceptions. One of which is the Oris Chronoris. Released in 1970, it was the brand’s first foray into the world of motorsport and their very first chronograph. Since then, Oris has built a strong stable of auto-themed watches, maintaining connections to the sport of motor-racing with partnerships including Audi Sport and Williams’ F1 teams. Oris first paid tribute to the Chronoris in 2005, in the shape of a retro-themed chronograph, and once again have honoured the one that started it all, with the release of the Oris Chronoris Date.
The case of the Chronoris Date takes most of its design cues from its retro predecessor. Barrel-shaped with cut-out 19mm lugs, its rounded curves are fully polished, except for on top where a radially brushed finish creates a dazzling sunburst effect. This effect also draws the eyes towards the wonderfully double-domed AR-coated sapphire crystal, which not only takes care of any reflections but also plays with some very nice distortions at extreme angles. Continuing the vintage theme, Oris have scaled down the stainless steel case to 39mm and opted for a dual crown design, with each crown not only serving a different function, but also differing in their finishes. The crown at 2 o’clock is finely grooved and sets the time and date, while the screw-down crown at 4 is knurled, making it a cinch to grip and manoeuvre the 120-click ratcheting inner timing bezel. With a water resistance of 100m, it’s not going to win any dive contests, but it more than adds to the sporty appeal.
Keeping with the ’70s theme, Oris has used a subtle yet bold mix of colours to set apart the dial and hands. Pops of orange are met with the unmistakable monochromatic tones of silver, matt grey, black, and white. Which, when combined, create a distinct contrast that isn’t in your face, and makes for an incredibly easy-to-read dial — even at night, with the hands and hour markers given the SuperLuminova treatment. A silver elapsed-time inner bezel surrounds the outside, and at 3 o’clock a white date window cuts into the black ring circling the centre, but rather than disturbing the flow, it’s visually balanced by the white hour markers. It’s not just the colour that adds to the throwback fun either, the minute track steers in and out from the centre of the dial revealing its racing personality. Especially when paired with the orange Speedo-inspired tapering seconds hand.
The most contentious issue – at least among collectors – is the fact that the Chronoris Date is not, in fact, a chronograph. Where the original used a stop seconds chronograph movement, this latest version has been stripped of the added complication. Instead, inside driving the Chronoris Date is the dependable Sellita SW 200-1. Displaying only the time and date, it has a power reserve of 38 hours, and as well as being a solid and reliable movement, it allows for the very fair price tag.
No matter what your flavour, the Chronoris Date has a strap to match. It’s available with a choice of either a black or brown leather strap, a black rubber strap, a grey Nato-style strap, or an impressive stainless steel bracelet. Reminiscent of the original bracelet, it has no less than 15 links interconnected across, and while slim and limber it’s still decidedly solid. Oris have a great track record when it comes to strap options, but pictures don’t quite do the bracelet justice, and in the metal it’s really something.
On the wrist
The rounded barrel-shaped case of the Chronoris has a surprisingly low profile that hugs the wrist. It looks and wears with all the charm of a vintage watch. Cushioned curves, sunburst finishes, and super-compressor style, the Chronoris Date is all about the ’70s. But on the wrist it delivers it in a very modern and noticeably motorsport kind of way.
The Oris Chronoris breathes new life into a world where new vintage is becoming the norm. With releases like the ever-popular Divers Sixty-Five, Oris have shown that they know their way around a back catalogue, and it’s great to see a changing of gears from the usual dive watch re-creation. All said and done, the Chronoris Date is a unique and value-packed little package.
Have a look at my ratcheting inner bezel …
Who’s it for?
Those of you who love the vintage vibe but want something a little more unique and fun.
What would we change
Why couldn’t we have matching crowns?
Oris Chronoris Date Australian pricing
Oris Chronoris Date on leather, rubber or fabric strap, $2300, on bracelet, $2500
Images by Jason Reekie