HANDS-ON: Oris debuts highly versatile Wings of Hope limited editions in steel and goldZach Blass
Last year at Dubai Watch Week, one of the debuts that stuck with me was the blue-dialled Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 5 Days powered by the in-house calibre 403. With its pleasantly dimensioned case, five-day power reserve movement with a 10-year warranty and straight-forward, smart-casual aesthetic, I felt it was a sure winner for any collection in need of a handsome and timeless daily wearer. Today, Oris leverages a more distilled version of this rock-solid design framework to support the Wings of Hope organisation with two new in-house calibre 401-powered limited editions in steel and 18K yellow gold.
What is Wings of Hope? Oris explains: “Wings of Hope is a US-based aeronautical humanitarian organization founded 60 years ago. Twice nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Wings of Hope has used the power of aviation to bring medical support to remote and vulnerable communities in more than 50 countries. In 2021, more than 65,000 people used the organisation’s programs and services.” This is not the first time we have seen Oris support an aeronautical humanitarian organisation, as last year we saw the debut of the Oris Okavango Air Rescue limited edition that marked the 10th anniversary of Botswana’s aeromedical rescue organisation Okavango Air Rescue.
At a first glance, you would assume the cases are exactly the same aside from their metal makeup. But, while both cases have the same shape, and are each 50 metres water-resistant, Oris is presenting the 100 yellow gold pieces in a 38mm case while the 1000 stainless steel pieces are presented in a slightly larger 40mm case.
Dimensions aside, the cases each feature mirror-polished case flanks and sloped conical bezels, with the lug hoods richly brushed – leading to a satin-dominated aesthetic facing forward. As its name suggests, a large and easy-to-grip screw-down crown is present at the 3′ side of the case to better ensure its depth rating.
Resting beneath slightly domed sapphire crystals for vintage effect, each of the dials have a stone white tone and a red sub-seconds hand. Where they differ is in the colour of their central hours and minutes hands, as well as the colour of the printed arabic hour numerals. Each of the central handsets match the tone of the case they are situated in, as well as the hour arabics – printed in a glittery textured gold tone within the yellow gold model and a more smooth textured pale greenish grey for the stainless-steel model.
The hour arabics, as well as the central hours and minutes hands, on each model are coated with SuperLuminova® for visibility in darkness. The dials also each feature black-printed outer minute track numerals and hashes. The last common thread between the dials is the colour of the railroad-styled sub-seconds register, both executed in blue. This blue accent, along with the red accent of the sub-seconds hand, liven up the plainness of a white dial. But they are also not too distracting and fail to diminish the versatility of its aesthetic and the countless wardrobe options it could be paired with.
Both Oris Wings of Hope limited editions are outfitted on honey brown Cervo Volante sustainable deer leather straps that feature quick-release tabs on their underside should you want to explore the countless strap options ripe for pairing with this strap monster. If Kevin O’Leary, a.k.a Mr. Wonderful, got his hands on either edition, he would inevitably find a signature red strap to match the red accent of the dial – and I wouldn’t fault him.
A real star of the show here is the in-house automatic calibre 401, viewable on each model beneath an exhibition sapphire caseback. You won’t find any striping or perlage on the movement, it has a very clean industrial finish. But there is still a point of aesthetic intrigue. The calibre 401 has two barrels to provide 5 days, or 120 hours, of power reserve. If you position the rotor right above the escapement, you will notice an Oris bear motif – each of the barrel wheels ears and the openworked winding rotor the mouth. As I mentioned earlier, Oris strongly backs this impressive calibre with a 10-year warranty. So, not only does it pledge high performance across its five days of power reserve but 10 years of performance as well.
Oris is known for value-driven offerings, and I suspect many will see high value in the stainless-steel model priced at $3,700 USD. The yellow gold, on the other hand, may be a hard sell for some. With a price tag of $17,000 USD, the Oris Wings of Hope Limited Edition in yellow gold is stacked against a very competitive set at its higher price point. It is a handsome watch, but at $17K brands like Cartier, Piaget, and even Vacheron Constantin enter the conversation. Ultimately, gold is sparsely used within Oris’ catalogue. So, for die-hards of the brand it is a rare collectable that will offer high performance and support a great cause. The steel variant, however, will definitely have strong universal appeal. So, if you are looking to make the jump into above $3,000 USD watchmaking for your collection, or to round out your watch box with an objectively solid timepiece, you better jump on it quick.
Oris Wings of Hope Limited Editions pricing and availability:
The Wings of Hope Limited Edition in Stainless Steel is available now and limited to 1,000 pieces. Price: $3,700 USD
The Wings of Hope Gold Limited Edition is available now and limited to 100 pieces. Price: $17,000 USD
Both pieces come in a special presentation box with numbered certificate.