HANDS-ON: The Fratello x Oris Big Crown Pointer Date is like a glass of Bordeaux in a golden gobletZach Blass
Who doesn’t love a good limited edition, especially when it’s in the form of an unlikely collaboration? There is something about acquiring a watch that’s not only beautiful but rare that makes it feel all the more special. Not all limited editions are created equal, of course, but when all the details are just right, the resulting watch becomes even more desirable by dint of its exclusivity. Our friends at Fratello Watches have just created such a timepiece. They’ve teamed up with Oris to create some serious awesomeness, rich with the #details we crave, in the form of the Oris x Fratello Watches Oris Big Crown Pointer Date. And yes, it is a limited edition.
The bronze case of this watch is 40mm in diameter, 12mm thick, and 48mm lug to lug – putting it right in the Goldilocks zone in both size and fit for the modern watch wearer. There is something wildly attractive about a satin finish when rendered on a gold tone such as bronze. On that metal, the brushed effect stands out by offering a sense of visible depth. Here we have an almost entirely satin-brushed case with only the thin inner ring behind the coined bezel given a hairline mirror polish. These head-turning aesthetics are backed with functionality. The case offers 50-metre water resistance and the big crown is a screw-down to provide an added layer of security.
In my discussion with Fratello founder Robert-Jan Broer, he expressed a preference for solid casebacks unless the movement has truly high-grade finishing to put on display – a sentiment shared by many watch collectors. The movement here is certainly no slouch, but the solid stainless-steel caseback has definite benefits. It not only keeps the watch a tad thinner, but also provides great real estate for the Fratello Watches Limited Edition engraving and emblem. True to collector form, RJ and his team prefer to have their limited editions actually numbered as opposed to being generalised with the “one of” moniker.
At first glance, the dial may seem familiar from the Oris catalogue, but the oxblood red of this watch delivers some neat new twists to better match it with its bronze case. The railroad track that indicates the minutes, outer date numerals, Swiss-made notation, Oris brand stamp at 12, and “Big Crown anti-shock” text at six are all printed in a gilt tone that matches the shade of the bronze. To keep things more legible for daily wear, the Arabic numerals and corresponding hour markers are white and luminous to ensure the wearer can clearly read the time against the oxblood backdrop.
RJ and his team also made another notable swap to the standard dials found on previous Oris Big Crown models. Instead of keeping the “automatic” text at the 6 o’clock position of the dial, they have instead opted to print “anti-shock”. Fratello Watches explains, “It is something we came across during a visit to the Oris museum in Hölstein last year. It is a nice nod to the Oris watches of old that prominently displayed this information.” Personally, I think this was a really smart move.
Having the “automatic” text printed on a watch is, after all, a bit redundant. It is fair to assume that the overwhelming majority of watch buyers are aware of what they purchased, and know whether a watch is automatic, manual, or even quartz before purchase. Considering the vintage notes of the gilt style introduced to the dial, the “anti-shock” text complements the swap by harking back to Oris models from earlier decades.
The watch comes on a ton-sur-ton taupe leather strap with a bronze buckle. Flip the strap over and you will notice a duo of nice touches. Firstly, the lining of the leather strap is fashioned in oxblood red to match the dial – a fun pop of colour only visible as the strap peeks out from the fastening loop. Secondly, the quick release tabs allow the wearer to quickly click off the strap and put on another of their choice.
This is a convenient feature as well, because this watch also comes with a second grey NATO strap with a bronze keeper and buckle. In the oxblood red Oris box unique to this limited edition, you will also find a handy spring bar tool and a pair of spring bars for the NATO strap.
This ensures whether via the quick-release system of the leather strap, or with the aid of the provided tool and spring bars, buyers have the complete capability to swap the straps at home. For the record, these straps are not standard-production configurations and were actually custom-made for these 300 watches – a testament to Fratello Watches and Oris’ desire to get this watch 100 per cent right.
Inside, the watch is powered by the automatic Oris 754 caliber. It is based on the Sellita 200-1 movement. In fear of having to put a $1 in the Time+Tide cookie jar for using the term “workhorse movement”, what I will say is the Sellita-based caliber is sure to provide a reliable timekeeper. It is a tough and dependable movement worthy of the “anti-shock” tag. The Oris 754 has a power reserve of 38 hours and a sporting beat rate of 28,800 vph.
Oris x Fratello Watches Oris Big Crown Pointer Date Limited Edition pricing and availability:
Out of a total of 300 watches, 250 will be made available via the Fratello Shop at the Fratello Watches website, and another 50 will be sold through the network of official Oris boutiques. For those who order via the Fratello Shop, Fratello Watches will ship worldwide free of charge. Price: €1950 (including VAT)