47 years ago, there was a pretty cool watch – not round, not exactly tonneau, but barrel shaped. It was a chronograph so full of 70s swagger and it was made by Oris. The Oris Chronoris was a stop-seconds chronograph and more importantly, it was not only the brand’s first but also an aesthetically unique timer in a market of many similar looking bi and tri-compax chronographs.
A portmanteau of chronograph and Oris, the watch soon went out of production and the last time we saw a Chronoris was in a contemporary interpretation released in 2005. This Baselworld 2017, watches from almost every key period in the last five decades have made a return and Oris has dipped its toes into their own deep heritage to release a new expression of a pivotal and sought after timepiece from a beloved period of its history.
Review: Oris Chronoris Date – A 70s Icon Returns
In terms of aesthetics, the Baselworld 2017’s new Oris Chronoris Date captures the old-school swag and eye-popping colour scheme (albeit a little toned down) of the swinging 70s.
Case, Dial, Hands
Key visual details of the original Oris Chronoris remains – pops of deep orange, interspersed with white minute rails and white lume baton indices with orange tips; all elements enjoying high contrast on a slate grey dial with black ring emphasising the lumed hour baton indices. The 39mm barrel case is brushed with polished case-mid, playing up the colourful details, it’s almost a tone or two lighter than the grey dial itself. To it’s right twin crowns rather than twin pushers; yes, it’s not a start-stop chronograph the way you would be familiar with but instead, you can take timing measurements via inner rotating bezel operated by turning the crown at 4 o’clock.
The “picket” hands (my term not theirs because they look like slats from a white picket fence) are period authentic and I particularly enjoy the orange arrow pointer reminiscent of a rally car’s speedometer indicator. A high contrast date window sits at three o’clock, it interrupts the dial-scape visually due to the white date disc but it’s not something out of the ordinary.
Within the Oris Chronoris Date beats the Oris automatic caliber 733. It’s not a manufacture calibre which helps in keeping the pricing down but it is based on the robust Selita SW 200-1. A covered case back with heritage Oris shield motif engraved keeps the movement hidden and thus, while you won’t be looking under the metal for a highly finished modified movement, you can expect the standard industrial-level finishing which keeps things efficiently ticking and friction-reduced. It’s not a stop-seconds chronograph either, so it wouldn’t exactly make sense to expose a movement which is mostly mainplate and a silver of balance wheel on a balance cock on a 70s style wristwatch.
The original Chronoris was Oris first foray into chronographs and the world of motor racing. While the Oris Chronoris Date is fairly attractive it feels historically out of place for a collection whose raison d’etre is literally “chronographs for motor racing” – the rotating inner bezel timing concept isn’t exactly the most useful of timing devices for a rally timer, much less for something named for chronographs and Oris. That said, with 100 metres water resistance, this Chronoris Date can probably work well as a dive timer of sorts. Additionally, one can appreciate the level of authenticity given to period details of the timepiece.
The Oris Chronoris Date is offered in a variety of straps and bracelets – from grey fabric to leather (in both black and brown options) but the original 15-link bracelet is where Oris excels – a cool 70s metal bracelet which enhances the retro-appeal of what is essentially a heritage interpretation.
The Oris Chronoris Date retails for SG$2,300 on the leather and fabric straps and SG$2,600 on the steel bracelet