A Closer Look at the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer

For the avid traveler and for those who travel a lot for work, a pilots’ watch with a second time-zone indicator is usually their timepiece of choice. A common problem in second time-zone indicators is that they do not function intuitively. This is a problem that Oris overcame when they created the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer in 1997. This is a watch that allows the owner to reset the local hour with two simple push-pieces. Similarly, the date display can switch to the preceding date or the next date automatically.

The reason that this watch works so well at perfecting this age-old problem is that the bezel has taken over the function. Previously, this was performed by the push-pieces that were rather bulky. The bezel is easy to turn and has a non-slip surface that has been made with the addition of spiraling lines that cover the rotatable ring. To trigger the ordinary hour hand to leap one hour ahead in local time, the spring’s resistance is overcome with a simple clockwise twist.

There are some great practical details relating to the time functions, too. First, the date display automatically adjusts as soon as the hour hand has passed midnight. Second, the 3 o’clock subdial displays the time where the owner lives. Third, there is a day-night display. Within this, there is a little window that shows black if your family are asleep at home or orange if it is still OK to telephone in their time zone.

The Oris ProPilot Worldtimer has a rather complex case construction which includes the bezel operating the inner push-piece. However, this is not visible to the wearer from the outside. Despite the complex interior construction, the case is still slim at 13.5 mm and the 44.7 mm diameter doesn’t look overly large. This case could easily be described as solid and tidily crafted.

One of the key aspects to look for in a pilots’ watch is legibility and the Oris ProPilot Worldtimer stands up well in this department. There is a slight reflection of light from the underside, despite the anti-reflective curved sapphire crystal, but this isn’t too much of an issue because of the other features of the dial. There is a bold contrast between the dial face and the hands and this makes it easier to read the time. Although it is a second time-zone watch, it is still designed like a regular 12-hour dial with a minute hand. The watch face has a rather handsome design with its matte black dial and light orange accents. The numerals are large and clear as they are not cropped by any of the subdials displayed on the dial.

The case back has a window of mineral glass. This shows the basic caliber and this looks rather small when compared to the overall size of the case. Wearers can also see the Oris trademark, which is a red rotor that swings to and fro over the movement. This watch has a 38-hour power reserve and has a satisfactory level of precision for a watch of this type.

The wristband on this watch is also stylish. It is created from textile and has a look similar to that of a seatbelt in an airplane and has a clasp that also resembles the buckle of a seatbelt. The word ‘Lift’ is imprinted into the part of the buckle that you need to lift to open the clasp. The wristwatch is comfortable to wear. This partly because it is textile but mostly because it has an adjustable clamp mechanism that allows the wearer to adjust the length of the strap to fit their wrist perfectly. Some buyers of this watch have said it feels a little stiff for the first few days but then begins to soften and feel more comfortable to wear.

The Oris ProPilot Worldtimer is more expensive than simpler models from this watchmaker. This is mainly due to the complexity of the sophisticated adjustment mechanism needed for the time zone functions. However, this is a price worth paying if you travel regularly as the second time-zone is user-friendly and the watch is, overall, a practical option in terms of functionality and the simplicity of its design.


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