So far this year Oris has given us plenty of watchmaking goodies to smile about from the unique texture of the Whale Shark to the bright bubble-gum colours of the Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy collection. But what’s been missing is a more serious, technical timepiece that shows that Oris is still at the cutting edge of watchmaking after 117 years. Enter the Hölstein Edition 2021.
The limited-edition piece is based on Oris’ flagship pilot’s watch the Big Crown, which they have been producing since 1938. The Big Crown has adapted and changed over the years but in homage to the brand’s latest anniversary the Hölstein Edition 2021 has foregone all those developments and is based squarely on the original, pre-war version of the watch.
This means the fluted bezel and domed crystal, which have become signature features, are gone, replaced by a flat bezel and sharper lined crystal. It makes for an immediately less flashy watch, one that feels fresh despite its heritage inspiration.
Part of that might be the numerals, which have been designed especially for the new edition. They’re bold and easy to read on the grey dial (with matching grey leather strap) and are nicely accented by the flash of red on the small seconds hand and pointer date. Coincidentally, it’s the first time those two complications have been combined on a Big Crown. It’s overdue if you ask me.
The stainless steel case has a retro diameter of 38mm, the first Big Crown of that size this century with the majority trending far larger. In fact, the only aspect of the piece that is wholly modern is the brand-new calibre housed inside, the Calibre 403.
Based on the cutting edge 400 series, the new movement has a phenomenal 120-hour power reserve, which is ridiculous for a watch that isn’t a mile wide and three miles thick. However, if the power reserve is well above expectation then the water resistance of the Hölstein Edition 2021 is well below at only 50m. Then again, it’s a pilot not a diver. If it gets that wet you’re probably in trouble.
I like this watch a lot. Sure, that might be because I tend to like simple designs and I’ve yet to embrace a wardrobe that isn’t monochrome, however, the Hölstein Edition 2021 encapsulates what I think a modern reimagining of a heritage design should be. It has all the features that have made the Big Crown a solid pilot’s watch for decades and at the same time feels fresh, introducing some new technology to the collection.
Limited to 250 pieces, the chances of picking one up are slim but at a very reasonable £2,950 it’s by no means out of the question. Especially if you act quickly.
Price & Specs:
Model: Oris Hölstein Edition 2021
Reference: 01 403 7776 4083-Set
Case/Dial: 38mm diameter, stainless steel, grey dial
Movement: In-house Oris Calibre 403, automatic, 24 jewels
Water Resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 120h
Functions: Hours, minutes, date, small seconds at 6 o’clock
Strap: Grey leather
Price/Availability: £2,950, limited to 250 pieces
More details at Oris.