Two years ago, Oris released the Big Crown Pointer Date 403. It was the popular model’s first in house movement in modern history (also used in the Limited Edition Hölstein)—an upgrade from the ETA and Sellita calibres powering previous iterations. The 403 was automatic and, like other calibres in the 400 series, anti-magnetic with a five-day power reserve and a 10-year warranty. It was also accurate to within -3/+5 seconds a day.
The Big Crown Calibre 473 is very much a lateral evolution of this watch with an in house movement of its own, only this time it is hand wound as evidenced through the sapphire display back. Winding the 473 is unlike any other experience I have had with such a calibre. It is almost noiseless and completely smooth. Not all calibres react the same to winding. Some click, some ratchet, other make a whip-like whirr. But the only way you can be sure to have energised the mainspring in the 473 is by flipping it over and checking out the delicate power reserve indicator on the rotor-less movement itself.
Aesthetically, the Big Crown Calibre 473 also shares the same DNA as Pointer Date 403. Gone are the traditional fluted bezel and cathedral handset that epitomize earlier references. The numeral font, too, has been modernized. And yet there is a quaint small seconds index that allows the 473 to forego the fourth hand, simplifying the dial somewhat visually. The use of a pencil handset reinforces the clean, austere appearance. And here, the pointer date is a red-tipped arrow, rather than the scalloped, inverted triangle we are used to.
Nonetheless, its membership in the Big Crown family is never doubt. Its printed second track with triangular markers—and, of course the telltale date index—are still a defining characteristic of the outer dial.
The 38 mm stainless steel case is brushed along the top of the lugs, separating the polished sides and bezel. The crown—true to its name—is large and screwed down. When unthreaded, it releases from the case with a satisfying pop and is a pleasure to manipulate. However, the watch is only rated to 50m of water resistance.
Despite its simple, straightforward design—or perhaps because of it?—the 473 cannot be mistaken for anything other than a sports watch, even with its lovely, lacquered powder blue dial. With a case thickness of 12.5mm and chunky lugs, the timepiece has a sturdy, stalwart presence on wrist. And in the dark, its laudable application of Super-LumiNova will remind you that it is still very much a pilot’s watch.
The Big Crown Calibre 473 is equipped with a supple deerskin leather strap that is soft and very comfortable to wear. New to the line is also the deployant butterfly clasp that Oris has developed. It is milled stainless steel with a with an infinite friction adjustment system that does not require the use of tang holes. While some butterfly clasps can add unwanted bulk, this one lies relatively flat and is an excellent addition to the watch.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
45.7mm Lug to Lug
19mm Lug Width
Screw Down Crown
Display Case Back
50m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Domed Sapphire Crystal|
28 800 bph
120-Hour Power Reserve
|Strap||Deer Leather /w Stainless Steel|
Oris Big Crown Calibre 473
In 2014, Oris celebrated 110 years of watchmaking with the introduction of its first in house movement in over 35 years. The Calibre 110—like the 473—was hand wound with an incredible 5-day (120-hour) power reserve. This marked the beginning of a 10-year plan to return the brand to its status as a manufacture. The Oris 473 is now the tenth such movement in nine years, and it powers a timepiece first launched in 1938, during the brand’s golden era.
The Big Crown (alongside the Diver’s Sixty-Five) is my favourite watch in the Oris stable, so I am certainly biased in this regard. As such, I find it difficult to find fault—other than to say that at first blush, one might look past this unpretentious design. But having held one up close, or worn one for even a few days, not many would question its quality, comfort, or attractiveness. When wearing the Big Crown Calibre 473, I find myself constantly checking my wrist with no intention of discovering the time.
As with all brands in the luxury watch world, pricing are creeping upward. Oris is not impervious to this. The research and development required to produce inventives like the Calibre 473, comes a cost. If in house movements are of no interest to you, there are equally attractive Big Crown Pointer Dates powered by third-party movements available at almost half the price.
Oris has been quietly producing watches in the North West of Switzerland since 1904. Unlike most brands, it has remained independent throughout. In many ways, the Big Crown Calibre 473 is quintessential Oris—unassuming, steadfast, and fiercely competent. Despite aesthetic evolutions–changes to the dial, hands, and numerals–the watch is pure Oris. A forward-thinking Oris. An Oris that is proud of its past, but not stuck in it. I cannot help but think that in this watch, Oris has made all the right moves–and that’s a reflection of the watchmaker’s habit of late.
The Oris Big Crown Calibre 473 retails for $4400USD. For more information, please visit the brand website.
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