INTRODUCING: The new Oris Hölstein Edition is a cool grey vision of a Big Crown futureThor Svaboe
The Oristas out there eagerly anticipate the annual Oris Hölstein Edition, and the Big Crown is a beloved staple of the range. Recent additions have been strong with the new Caliber 400 making its Aquis debut, and the Big Crown cherry-candy delight of Fratello’s bronze-cased limited edition here.
Despite the distinctive looks of the short-lugged case, this time Oris shows just how versatile the Big Crown is by presenting it in a different size and ice-cool aesthetic. We’re looking at the first Big Crown this century to be released with a studiously vintage 38mm case. But rather than harnessing fauxtina and fumè, instead it emanates a modern graphic style.
In a delicate twist of Swiss design panache, this edition of the Big Crown, is completely different to the expectations I had when I first saw the email subject for this release. Completely. The Big Crown is arguably the most important Oris model in terms of heritage, and the fact that Oris does not equate the smaller size with a vintage look speaks volumes of their confidence. It also says a lot about how much the market is turning in favour of smaller wristwear, running the gamut from field watches to colourful divers.
With a simple, tough brushed case and a new, contemporary sloped bezel, the stage is set for what is the cleanest Big Crown dial yet, with a Bauhaus feel that transcends its mid-20th century roots. By eschewing cathedral hands and keeping the outer railway date track, it feels chilly fresh, especially for a new younger demographic missing my watch geek history file. The smooth leather strap only accentuates the clean tool vibe, and instantly incites hope for a wider application of this new case within the range.
Strong sword hands give the Big Crown a balanced visual, and puts it firmly in a quirky sweet spot between formal elegance and tough field watch, with three very important details that matter. The delicious contrast of bright red that ties together the design with a big arrow for the date, and a razor-sharp small pointer within the small seconds register at 6 o’clock.
Frankly this would be enough for me as a dial fetishist and firm fan of this rather elegant jack of all trades. But the main draw for many lies behind the engraved caseback sporting the Oris Bear. Did you notice an extra line of crisp white text while staring at the candy red arrow tip with its lickable gloss? Yes, it says FIVE DAYS.
So, while the engraved caseback makes you appreciate that this is one of 250 pieces of graphic joy, this is actually the debut for the standard-setting Oris Calibre 403, a small seconds and pointer date version of the Calibre 400. The calibre that proved a game-changer for independent Oris, knocking us out with its five day – 120 hour power reserve and extended 10-year warranty. The cheeky cheer of the Oris Bear was the star of Oris’ Local Heroes campaign during the pandemic, bringing their message of empathy and cheerfulness across in a grim year. Today it shows that what Oris does comes from the heart, taking watchmaking seriously, but not necessarily themselves, an applaudable injection of humour in a very serious business.
With the pointer date function, the caliber 403 movement is a modern automatic with a five day power reserve, elevated anti-magnetism, better than chronometer accuracy, and a 10-year warranty. Top trumps for an in-house movement from an independent. So while being a very restrained and svelte watch on the wrist, the cool grey with small pops of red makes it a visual delight. When combined with the punch of the Calibre 403 movement, we are looking at what could prove the most significant model from Oris in Hölstein this year.
- Case Size: 38.00 mm (1.496 inches)
- Dial: Grey matte, with indices, numbers and hands printed with Super-LumiNova®
- Crystal: Sapphire, domed on both sides, anti-reflective coating inside
- Strap: Grey leather with quick strap change system
- Water resistance: 5 bar
- Movement: Oris Calibre 403
- Functions: Centre hands for hours, minutes and date, small seconds at 6 o’clock
- Accuracy: -3/+5 seconds a day (within COSC tolerances)
- Features: Highly anti-magnetic Winding Automatic Power reserve 120 hours
- Warranty: Extended to 10 years with MyOris sign-up. Applies to watch and movement. 10-year recommended service intervals, five year recommended water-resistance check
Oris Hölstein Edition 2021, price and availability:
The Oris Hölstein Edition 2021 is CHF 3,600, available in a limited edition of 250, through Oris boutiques, the Oris eShop and retailers with access to the Oris eShop.