Oris reissued the Chronoris Date this year in an effort to revive the classic motorsport two-crown automatic from its 1970s archives. It’s a modest sized watch with vintage cues that should have Oris fans racing to the stores.
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I dare you to find a sharp edge on this 39 mm case that is smooth to touch and easy to read. The steel bracelet easily snaps on my wrist and holds the watch to such a low profile. It is way more comfortable than I imagined. Some might call the case a cushion-shaped case, but DeCarle defines it a squat tonneau shape in his Watch & Clock Encyclopedia. Squat tonneau sounds more like a yoga position and not an uncommon case-shape for a modern watch.
The curved sapphire crystal starts the gentle slope of lines to the brushed-steel finished case. There is a beveled line that separates the two finishes of brushed and polished steel. The two crowns look like chronograph pushers or a super compressor dive watch at first glance.
The crown at 2 o’clock is the winding crown, and it sets the time and controls the movement’s hand winding, hack setting and quick-set-date features. The crown at 4 o’clock unscrews to set the internal rotating bezel.
Each crown is uniquely shaped and serve as a visual and physical indicator of the functions they control. It takes just a second to figure it out. The crown at 4 o’clock is much easier to grab and unscrew since the cut rows in the crown run horizontally and not vertically like the crown at 2, which is designed to be comfortable as it’s manually wound.
The internal, bidirectional 60-minute register is a silver ring floating above the dial base with black Arabic numerals spaced out in 10-minute increments. Each minute is marked between the numerals and there is an orange triangle at zero that can be aligned to the minute hand to track elapsed time. This register is attractive and proportional to the dial design, but I wonder if the numerals could be larger or bolder.
Each turn of the 4 o’clock crown gives 120 of the most satisfying mechanical clicks in the watch wearing world. This tactile and audible tango is one reason I wear mechanical watches. Is it functional? Sure, it can be my meeting timer, but it’s also a meeting distractor because I enjoy rotating it.
The basic stick hour and minute hands offer enough luminescence to guide you in low light while the orange sweeping seconds hand demands all the attention on the dial. The minute hand is not quite long enough to touch the edge of the rotating bezel. If it were a little longer, it could add an element of precision to the timing function.
The dial’s design uses gray and black to add depth and contrast to the smaller than normal case. The flat black circle inside the chapter ring is the perfect spot for the hour indices covered in Super LumiNova luminescence. Each index is topped with an orange square and offers the ideal block of color on the gray, dial edge. The contrast and color make it exceptionally easy to read and the seconds hand is even easier to track.
I thought the luminescence was appropriate for this watch, but wanted a little more from the second hand and thought they missed an opportunity to put the same luminescence on the bezel’s orange triangle.
The internal gray circle frames the modestly-sized Oris name at 12 o’clock and the words, ChronOris and 25 jewels, are equally unassuming above the 6 o’clock marker. Even the date window at 3 o’clock is respectfully balanced in the black ring.
The white date wheel base does offer contrast for the date numeral, but it doesn’t seem to fit. I wish they used a black date wheel and a white numeral instead. Oris did this with its Big Crown ProPilot Date among other watches.
Maybe that date-wheel color is more of a negotiation with Sellita. They make the base mechanical movement that Oris calls their Caliber 733. Sellita calls it their SW 200-1.
The case back is nothing to look at but offers the basic Oris engraving. Since water resistance isn’t a priority in this watch, I would expect to see a display case back so the signature red rotor could be seen. Then again, that might clash with the orange accents on the front.
The Chronoris Date comes in a bracelet and several strap options. I tested the articulated stainless-steel bracelet with 13 small polished links that are bordered by two large brushed links on each side. I found that bracelet to be very easy to size and even easier to get off and on. The polished buckle did tend to scratch easily but I thought the comfort made up for it. You can also get straps in brown leather, black rubber or a grey NATO textile.
My focus group of friends thought the watch was either a winner or loser. I think this is a winner. This watch is clearly in its own race lane and it either attracts fans or repels them based on the case size and shape. This watch speaks to the vintage watch collector in me, and its design suggests a motorsport heritage that also shows up in vintage watches like Omega’s Memomatic or Chronostop from the same period.
The subtle use of color, dial contrast and modest size make it a unique looking, very easy-to-read watch. Sure, many brands are offering reeditions, but this one is different. Oris just didn’t make the case larger and put a new logo on it. Instead, Oris has successfully reissued a possibly forgotten race watch and maintained the classic look with the new-watch reliability we all expect. Consider the brand’s innovation and their aspiration to offer real watches for real people. Try to find a comparable watch, and it might take you some time. The Swiss retail price CHF 1,600 on a strap, CHF 1,800 on metal bracelet. You can see it here.
- Brand & Model: Oris Chronoris Date Ref. No. 01 733 7737 4053 LS
- Price: CHF 1,800 on metal bracelet
- Who we think it might be for: This watch is for the casual, vintage enthusiasts who don’t want the maintenance worries that come with an old watch.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yep. I just did.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Make the date window disappear or fade into the black dial ring.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: I think the size, shape and crowns make it stand out.
- Brand Model: Oris Chronoris Date Ref. No. 01 733 7737 4053 LS
- Movement: Automatic Oris Cal. 733, based on Sellita SW 200-1, with date
- Case diameter: 39mm
- Case diameter lug to lug: 43mm
- Case height: 13mm
- Weight: 135g
- Case material: Stainless steel
- Case Back: · Screwed stainless steel case back
- Crown and pushers: Revolving inner bezel timer function operated by screw-down crown at 4 o’clock
- Crystal material: Sapphire crystal domed on both sides with anti-reflective coating inside
- Water resistance: 100 m.
- Strap/Bracelet material: Available with brown or black leather strap, black rubber strap, grey NATO textile strap or a stainless-steel bracelet with 15 links across
- Illumination: Super-LumiNova®
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