At its heart, Oris is a tool watch company. Their catalog is filled with dive watches, chronographs, and pilot watches. Although a few dressier models dot the catalog there is no doubt Oris pays the bills with their tool watches. The Big Crown ProPilot GMT Timer (take a breath) is one of the purest tool watches the Swiss watch brand produces.
Taking some of the complications and features tool watch buyers want from an entire collection of watches, the GMT Timer smashes them all together in one watch. A dive time bezel, screw-down crown, 24-hour GMT hand, and 100 meters of water resistance are all present in the GMT Timer. It’s easy to put all these things into a watch but another thing to execute them correctly. Let’s see how Oris did.
On the Wrist
The GMT Timer is billed as a pilot watch in Oris’ catalog. Because of this, it didn’t surprise me to see the 44mm case diameter. This watch is designed to be read quickly at a glance with no confusion as to what time it is. The wide dial and long handset help accomplish this. I never had an issue reading the main time or the GMT hand.
Because of the 44mm case diameter, the GMT Timer is sure to scare off a buyer or two. There is no denying that this watch commands a certain wrist presence, but I didn’t find that it wore true to its 44mm. The turndown of the lugs and thin case profile (13mm) make the GMT Timer wear truer to 42mm. While this helps mitigate the lug-to-lug distance of 51mm, the watch still might be too large for wrist sizes under 6.5”.
There are few watches I wear that make me feel like a professional in the market they are designed for. I have never felt like I could strap on a scuba tank and dive to great depths while wearing the Tudor Pelagos. With that said, the look of the GMT Timer made me feel like a pilot would wear this watch. It is undeniably aviation-inspired and various elements around the watch help it play that role. The stainless steel bezel with Oris’ unique knurling pattern and clear applied Arabic numerals made me feel like a pilot might compliment my watch as I got on a plane (I realize this would never happen…ever).
With that said, part of the reason some watch enthusiasts buy the watches they do is because of the feelings they evoke when worn. The point of a tool watch in one’s mind is that it can be worn, beat up, dunked underwater, and keep functioning as if it were new. That’s how I felt when I wore the GMT Timer. It feels like a proper tool watch; it has all the functionally one would want.
Oris GMT Timer In Motion
If you were to give the GMT Timer a quick look, you would probably say the dial is simple and easy to read. While that is true, there is more detail under the surface. The dial has quite a bit going on, but Oris has managed to make it all fall into place and feel uncluttered.
Oris has employed the same large Arabic numerals as some of the other ProPilot models. These large lumed numerals make the time easy to read. A small seconds sub-dial is present at 9 o’clock, keeping the center stack of the hands free for the main time-keeping elements. A large date window is located at 3 o’clock and the wheel has been color-matched to the dial. It is unobtrusive yet functional.
When I reviewed the Big Crown ProPilot 41mm (review here) I discussed the hands and how they were one of my favorite handsets. I was happy to see them carried over to this model. The long hands are simple yet modern. The GMT hand has a touch of aviation flair. It has a red tip shaped like a fighter jet. The chapter ring consists of the 24-hour markings for the GMT complication and with the long red-tipped hand, there is no question as to what time the GMT is set to.
The second half of GMT Timer gives this watch its other timing function. Equipped with a bi-directional timing bezel, the wearer can time something up to an hour. Timing bezels are not often affixed onto GMT watches, but I love when they are. It adds an additional functionality that most wearers enjoy having. This isn’t billed as a dive watch, so the bi-directional bezel doesn’t bother me. It gives the wearer the option to go either way to quickly set the timing bezel.
Case & Strap
Aside from a little bit of almost-hidden polishing on the bezel knurling, the case is entirely brushed. Staying true to its tool watch roots, the GMT Timer doesn’t need a lot of flash to get its job done. However, Oris has added touches to keep it from feeling too utilitarian.
As I mentioned before, the bezel has aviation-style knurling. This knurling pattern is carried over to the caseback as well as the crown. As the name of the watch suggests, the crown is big but not huge. It is easy to grip and operate and this style of crown is something I think Oris has excelled at in recent releases.
While there isn’t any other ornamentation to speak of, the case is finished well and I found no inconsistencies in the brushing. This is a watch that will fly under the radar in most situations but certainly makes a statement due to its size.
The canvas strap is backed with leather and was a little stiff out of the box. It broke in rather quickly so I can’t complain too much. Oris has employed their new LIFT style deployant with the GMT Timer. The deployant is fantastic as it allows the wearer to adjust the strap to perfectly fit his wrist. Slide the strap through the clasp until it fits properly, and a friction closure locks it in place. No fiddling with finding the right hole like on other straps.
Oris makes great tool watches; there is no doubt about it. There are very few things I would want to change about this watch. The size doesn’t bother me as I’m aware it is meant to be legible and a larger dial aids that. With that said, I wouldn’t mind seeing what Oris is doing with many other watches in their catalog and having them release different sizes. A 41mm model to fall in line with the rest of the ProPilots would be fantastic and please many prospective buyers with smaller wrists.
When I reviewed the 41mm ProPilot, I found that it was almost the perfect modern tool watch. It added contemporary touches and finishing while keeping true to what a pilot watch should be. Oris has been able to carry that same ethos over to the GMT Timer. The watch has the right complications in the right places in a package that feels solid and built to last.
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|Lug-to-lug Height||51mm||Lug Width||22mm|
|Crystal||Domed Sapphire||Strap||Textile Strap|
|Water Resistance||100 meters||Lume||Super-LumiNova®|
|Movement||Oris 748, base SW 220-1||Price||$2,600|