Review | Oris Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter
The dial is protected by domed (on both sides) sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating, also to both sides. This adds a superb clarity to a design which one might expect to appear busy, because of the amount of information displayed, but is actually extremely legible and clear, due to the way in which certain elements have been highlighted or absorbed. The size of the dial helps too of course, in providing all the information required to multitask in performing watch, barometer and altimeter duties whilst remaining at its forefront, a luxurious and covetable Swiss Made pilots watch.
The different levels within the case and the colours used to highlight certain elements - white, red, yellow - against the black dial, work very well in providing a distinction between each component of the watch and altimeter.
Taking centre stage is the main dial, finished in black and using Arabic numerals, traditional in pilot watches, with numbers at 12 through alternating hours with a baton marker between and a clear date aperture at 3. The Swiss Made insignia sits at 6 and above this, Big Crown ProPilot in white and Altimeter in yellow. All uppercase letters and legible given their diminutive size. Below 12 o'clock we find ORIS Automatic, which is as clear as the text located further down the dial.
The hour and minute hands are white and straightforward; legibility for a pilot or professional adventurer is the at the top of the agenda here and in keeping with this, the sweeping second hand is designed to be the polar opposite to the brightness of the white, black and fading into the inkiness of the dial, save for a red tip to prevent it falling into complete obscurity as it glides effortlessly around the dial. The numerals and hands are coated with Superluminova BG W9 to aid visibility in low-light and darkness.
What we haven't mentioned yet is how well this dial integrates into the depth of the case. It's at the forefront of the design and doesn't get lost within the other elements, as they are designed to work around it. Indeed, it appears to almost float above the rest of the deeply dished design, with four harness points at 2, 4, 8 and 10 providing it's firm anchor above the recessed channel below.
At the outer edge of this channel, chamfered around the inner circumference of the turbine bezel of the case is the altitude scale showing height above sea level in feet (or meters, depending on which model you chose at the time of purchase). This is indicated by a thick yellow indicator which sits neatly in the recess below, moving only when the altimeter is in use.
This recessed channel provides barometric (or air) pressure, also powered by the mechanical altimeter and indicated by a red marker.
The individual components of the mechanical complications of both watch and altimeter, the clarity of the domed sapphire crystal, the big crowns and the size of the case required to house these individual components; they all integrate so well.