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Slide rule precision: Oris Big Crown X1 Calculator

by Michael Weare
22 February, 2011
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About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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The Oris Big Crown X1 Calculator completes our line-up of aeronautically inspired watches at a price that won’t leave you high and dry. The Oris Big Crown X1 Calculator pays tribute to the Bell X-1 aircraft, which was the first plane to break the sound barrier.

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The Bell X-1, originally designated XS-1, was a joint NACA-U.S. Army Air Forces/US Air Force supersonic aircraft built by Bell Aircraft. It was the first aircraft to exceed the speed of sound in controlled, level flight, and was the first of the so-called X-planes, an American series of experimental aircraft designated for testing of new technologies and usually kept highly secret. On 14th October 1947, the Bell X-1 undertook the first manned supersonic flight to break the sound barrier.

Oris is a solid mid-range brand following the same design cues as several more aspirational Swiss watch marques. They have a range for motor-racing (traditional Tag Heuer territory), diving (Rolex, Omega) and Aviation (Breitling). The difference is, you get a quality Swiss watch without the extra 0’s attached to the price tag.

The new Oris Big Crown X1 Calculator actually features a calculator – assuming you know how to use a slide rule. It’s an historically accurate ‘slide rule’ in the form of an adjustable rotating bezel. Bell X-1 pilots reached supersonic speeds in an age before computers and pocket calculators, and had to rely on the specially designed ‘slide rule’ for all engineering calculations. This feature can also be used for the calculation of fuel consumption for a given flight time in case you really do get to pilot your own plane.

Caseback

The bezel forms part of a fashionably large PVD-treated gunmetal grey 46mm stainless steel case. The ‘Big Crown’ of the title is at 3 o’clock and is teamed with two chronograph push-pieces, marked ‘X’ and ‘1’ located at 2 and 4-o-clock.

The case-back features a metric/imperial conversion table for those times when your Bell X-1 lands in places where the metric system is in use, which of course nowadays is pretty much anywhere other than the USA.

The hour-markers and hands are treated with Superluminova as is the minute track for easy visibility at night. 12-hour, 30-minute and small seconds counters are placed at 6, 12 and 9-o-clock respectively. The date aperture is at 9-o-clock and it’s all driven by the faithful workhorse, the self-winding ETA Valjoux 7750 movement. Like the Aerowatch Hommage 1910 Chrono-Auto, the new Oris Big Crown X1 Calculator watch is on a black calfskin leather strap with white stitching.

The watch is expected to retail somewhere between US$3,000.00 to US$4,000.00 and will be landing at Baselworld 2011 next month.

Specifications

  • Automatic mechanical movement with chronograph function
  • 3-piece stainless steel case, PVD plated in gun metal colour
  • Outside and inside domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides
  • Screwed case back with mineral crystal and meter/feet scale
  • Revolving outer top ring and inner dial ring with slide rule
  • Screw-down stainless steel crown and pushers, PVD plated in gun metal colour
  • 3 bar water resistant
  • Figures and indices printed with luminous Superluminova
  • Dark brown calf skin leather strap with contrast stitching, PVD plated stainless steel buckle

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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