The Oris Big Crown Pointer Date is a consumer favorite and it shows in the numerous options and colorways of this model that Oris maintains in its current catalog. Most of these are in steel, though there are some cased in bronze and matched with leather straps. Then there are those with just the fluted bezel in bronze atop a stainless steel case. In the latest addition to the family, Oris is releasing a new Big Crown Pointer Date in full bronze: for the case, crown and bracelet.
The rest of the watch is what consumers are familiar with: Arabic numerals for the hours and railroad minute track with the date ring on the outer perimeter, indicated by a red-tipped central hand. The overall effect of the dial display is clear and easy on the eyes, a most pragmatic layout that has worked for decades without looking dated.
The bronze Big Crown Pointer Date sports a 40mm case with 20mm lug width, and is fitted with the Oris 754 self-winding movement, based off the Sellita SW200-1. Four dial colors are available: green, brown, Bordeaux and blue. If a full bronze bracelet is too much, the watch is also available with a leather strap, taking CHF 400 off the price.
The elephant in the room is the bronze. In production since 1938, the Big Crown Pointer Date is a perfectly fine watch, an attractive addition to any collection. It’s the bronze that is the variable in this equation, and it warrants added consideration since there is so much of it here, being an all-bronze model as opposed to bronze with leather strap.
Like gold, bronze has a beautiful warm hue that for some, just touches the heart in more places that cold steel cannot. It even has just a bit more heft (10 per cent denser than steel) than a steel watch, for wearers who like being able to feel the watch on their wrist. But unlike gold which is largely inert, and doesn’t react with much in the air or under water, bronze is a livelier alloy, and patinates over time. The degree and nature of the patina depends on exposure, what it is exposed to, and the particular recipe used to mix the bronze. This makes every watch unique, and is indeed the unifying banner under which all bronze watches are sold.
But is patina for everyone? Even that is hard to answer since there is no way to know what kind of patina a particular watch will develop over how long – remember, every watch is unique. We have seen anything from darkening, graining, to wild green moss. But beyond the difference in price, bronze and gold are not interchangeable. As watch collectors will be too familiar, ‘mint’ is not the last word on desirability, as we can see in the added digits that vintage watches in weathered condition consistently fetch. A watch that bears the marks of use has a charm of its own, and in an evocative material like bronze, no less.
Moreover, this is not the first all-bronze watch that Oris has released. Its first bronze case watch was the Carl Brashear Limited Edition in 2016. This was followed by the bronze cased Carl Brashear Chronograph in 2018, and two years later, the Holstein 2020 Limited Edition in bronze case and bracelet. This gathering momentum alone shows that Oris knows what it’s doing. Those who love bronze watches will find much to like in the Big Crown Pointer Date; those who are considering bronze for their collection can always look up images of bronze watches in used condition. Every one tells a story.
Movement: Self-winding Oris 754, 4Hz, power reserve of 38 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: 40mm bronze, domed sapphire crystal, mineral glass display caseback, screw-down crown, water resistant to 50 meters
Strap: Bronze metal bracelet or leather strap
Price: CHF 2,400; CHF 2,000 with leather strap