A few days ago, Oris introduced a new watch which is the world’s first automatic mechanical wristwatch with an altimeter. The Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter has been developed entirely in-house in the Hölstein factory to serve as a high-performance tool for pilots, mountaineers, adventurers, research scientists and other explorers, who work at altitude.
Many of you may think that the phrase “the world’s first automatic mechanical altimeter watch” is something that you have been heard before. It is because Breva Genie 02 Watch is actually the first mechanical wristwatch with an altimeter, but it is hand-wound, not automatic watch.
The timekeeping part of the watch is Oris automatic mechanical movement caliber 733, based on Swiss Sellita SW200 which sits in the middle of the case on the top of a module. The movement has a beating rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz) and provides no less than 38 hours of power reserve.
The movement is situated in a bowl, surrounded by the altimeter and barometer scale, and resting on the top of the space for the aneroid capsule system. It is actually an integrated Swiss mechanical barometric altimeter and barometer movement which is developed with the specialist Thommen. A stem from the mechanism prolongs to the crown at the 2 o’clock position, which allows the wearer to wind or set the timekeeping part of the ProPilot Altimeter (time and date functions).
There is also a second screw-down crown at the 4 o’clock position which adjusts the altimeter whose scale is displayed around the outer dial ring. The altimeter measures angles in horizontal and vertical planes above a fixed level, but before it can indicate the correct height, the wearer will need to calibrate and set the system.
First of all, it is necessary to unscrew the crown at the 4 o’clock position to allow the air to enter the case. As you might guess, the case is not water proofed when it is unscrewed. Around the crown at the 4 o’clock there is a red ring which is visible only when the crown is unscrewed to warn the wearer that the watch is not water resistant at that moment. Although the venting crown will allow water to enter the case, at the same time it prevents moisture from entering the watch by using a PTFE membrane that creates a vapor barrier.
To set the altimeter, the crown has to be pulled to the second position. The altitude scale can measure altitude up to 15,000 feet or 4,500 meters. Oris has produced two models, one with a scale in feet (ref. 733 7705 4134 TS), and the other one with a meter scale (ref. 733 7705 4164 TS).
An air pressure scale is recessed between the altimeter scale at the outer dial ring and the central dial, while the altimeter indicator, with a double yellow stripe, hovers over it, between the central dial and the altimeter scale. The watch displays the current altitude via the yellow indicator, while the red indicator shows the corresponding air pressure.
When the correct height is set, the crown can be put back to position 1 in which the watch is still not water proof. When the wearer starts ascending or descending, the altimeter will move accordingly to indicate the new height. Once the altimeter is no longer required, the crown can be returned to position 0 by screwing it down and ensuring that it is again water-resistant up to 100 meters (330 feet).
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter Watch is housed in a 47mm stainless steel case shielded with a sapphire crystal which is domed with anti-reflective coating on both sides. Underneath the front sapphire glass lies a black dial with printed Arabic numerals and hour and minute hands which are both filled with Superluminova. The altimeter hand is made from laminated carbon fiber.
The world’s first automatic mechanical watch with a mechanical altimeter is teamed either with a green, gray or black textile strap with a stainless steel folding clasp or with a metal bracelet.
The retail price for the model attached to a textile strap is CHF3,300 (about $3,720), while the version with the bracelet is priced at CHF3,500 (approximately $3,950). The new contemporary aviator watch from Oris will be available from September 2014.
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter Watch is a part of the existing Big Crown collection. This vintage-themed line of watches debuted earlier this year.