Vintage reissues are all the rage and Oris is no stranger to the concept. Their Divers Sixty-Five line has been wildly successful, and they hope to accomplish the same with the ChronOris. The Oris ChronOris was first released in 1970 and was the brand’s first chronograph. With consumers looking to get that vintage aesthetic without the risks of unknown service history, redials, and polishing, vintage reissues have given watch brands a way to find new buyers.
While the rerelease of the ChronOris Date no longer features a chronograph, it has evolved into a contemporary 3-hander with an internal rotating bezel. Oris does offer a traditional chronograph version as a limited edition.
On the Wrist
The Oris ChronOris reminds me of a small, inexpensive, well-built sports car like a Nissan 350 Z or Honda S2000. It is compact, unobtrusive, and unassuming on the wrist. The tonneau case is relatively flat, and its small size makes it sit comfortably. Even with the sharp angular edges of the lugs, nothing digs into your wrist or feels awkward.
At 39mm wide, the size of the ChronOris is sure to make fans of vintage reissues happy as the model has not passed 40mm. The almost circular case shape of the ChronOris gives it a lug-to-lug distance of only 43mm, allowing it fit easily on almost any wrist. Because the watch is vintage-inspired, the small size doesn’t seem out of place and fits perfectly with the overall aesthetic of the watch.
The ChronOris looks superb on the wrist; the combination of finishing, dial design, and size make this one of the best-looking watches I’ve worn. The entire watch appears to radiate light as you move your wrist. The domed crystal with the sunburst brushing on the top of the case is stunning. I found myself constantly twisting my wrist while checking the time just to see the blue tint of the AR reflecting off the sides of the dome.
If you’re familiar with how vintage watches feel, the ChronOris will feel right at home. The proportions and size all help the ChronOris to achieve this. However, if you’re uninitiated, you are in for a treat with this watch. Despite its small size, it commands plenty of wrist presence. The tonneau case and orange accents help this smaller watch pop off the wrist a little. It’s eye-catching without being flashy.
There is no doubt that the dial of the ChronOris is racing-inspired. Everything from the splashes of orange to the hash mark pattern is reminiscent of Heuer and Omega chronographs from the 1970s. The dial packs plenty of detail into a small package that comes together and looks great.
The dial is made up of a few elements. Starting with the inner part of the dial which contains the branding text for the ChronOris, it steps up slightly to the outer part of the main dial containing the markers. The applied markers are made up of 3 pieces: An applied silver marker, a lumed middle portion, and an orange outer marker. This 3-piece construction is well-executed as the applied and lumed parts stop on the outer edge of the ring right before the hash marks.
Each section of hash marks has an elongated mark for each second. In between those segments are 4 subsecond hash marks. This adds some detail to the dial that completes the racing vibe of the watch. The date window at 3 is perfectly placed, but I would have liked to see the date wheel match the dial. The white date wheel breaks up the cohesiveness of the dial.
I love the tapered orange seconds hand. It adds a great splash of color that complements the outer portion of the markers and it downright looks cool rotating around the dial. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the rest of the handset. I wouldn’t have a problem with the hour and minute hand if they were a bit longer. They don’t extend quite to the edge of their respective dial rings and it makes them look a little stubby and awkward. It also affects readability and if Oris had extended them another millimeter or two, the dial would have been complete in my book.
The inner rotating bezel is the best part of the ChronOris. It is thin enough to be unobtrusive when not needed but remains perfectly readable when used as a timer. A screw-down crown at 4 o’clock operates the inner bezel. The reason this bezel is so good is because of how it rotates. It does not freely spin but instead has one of the most satisfying clicks as it rotates. This tactile feedback made me want to constantly spin it around just to feel it. Even if you have no intention of buying this watch, go find one and rotate the bezel. It’s worth it.
Case & Strap
I’ve always been a fan of Oris’ finishing. The brand has their QC department in tip-top shape as every watch I’ve handled looks great. The ChronOris is no exception. The mixture of finishing techniques on this watch creates a dynamic look that looks great from any angle.
I mentioned previously that the top of the case is brushed in a sunburst pattern. It helps complete the retro vibes of the watch and works extremely well with the tonneau case shape. A large polished bevel runs down the sides of the watch that transitions into the polished sides. These surfaces all catch the light in different ways and look fantastic.
A curious choice on the ChronOris is the different crown knurling patterns. The push/pull crown at 2 o’clock (which changes the time and date) has vertical knurling. The crown at 4 o’clock (the bezel crown) has horizontal knurling. This does help differentiate the crowns, but I don’t feel that is needed. I prefer the knurling pattern on the crown at 4 o’clock and wish Oris had used that on both crowns.
I don’t normally discuss crystals but the crystal on the ChronOris deserve a small shout-out. The domed crystal is nothing special at first glance, but when you rotate the watch, it reveals its party trick. It curves down dramatically as it meets the case, creating a small amount of distortion on the edges. The blue AR also comes through at an angle, creating a blue ring that coordinates well with the orange accents.
Oris is sure to upset a few people with the lug width on the ChronOris. At 19mm, the odd size will ensure you stick with Oris’ strap on the ChronOris unless you happen to have some flexible 20mm straps lying around. With that said, the strap included with the ChronOris is comfortable and wearable right out of the box.
The Oris ChronOris occupies an interesting space in the watch market. It’s a vintage reissue (without any fauxtina by the way), that has a dive time bezel but isn’t a dive watch and is derived from a racing chronograph but isn’t a chronograph. With all of that, it’s still a great tool watch and the bezel action alone makes me want to get one for myself.
There is a small bit of hyperbole there, but the ChronOris is a great watch. If nothing else, it is unique, and with the constant flood of military-inspired field watches and Submariner homages, a watch like the ChronOris serves a necessary purpose. The ChronOris has a lot of charm to it; it’s a fun watch that’s fun to look at, and isn’t that why we all like watches in the first place?
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|Lug-to-lug Height||43mm||Lug Width||19mm|
|Crystal||Domed Sapphire||Strap||Leather Strap|
|Water Resistance||100 meters||Lume||Super-LumiNova®|
|Movement||Sellita SW200 / Oris 733||Price||$1,750|