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Big crown ProPilot Rega fleet limited edition

Oris’s partnership with the iconic Swiss Air-Rescue Rega continues with a third limited-edition watch that flies even higher than before. If it wasn’t for aviation, it’s possible that the Swiss watch industry would never have taken off. Early pilots discovered a watch was a vital tool and turned to makers of Swiss pocket watches for tools they could refer to while helming their makeshift contraptions.

Big crown ProPilot Rega fleet limited edition

Oris, for its part, was making watches for those pioneer aviators as early as 1910. We have catalogues from the time in our archives showing pocket watches with cases decorated with Blériot-style aircraft. It was aviation that pushed Oris to develop our first wristwatches in 1917, and then in 1938, the Big Crown, a watch with an oversized crown created for gloved airmen. The model has been in constant production ever since and has become our signature design, fueling Oris’s reputation as the creator of ultra-reliable, ultra-precise tool watches for adventurous people.

Through the decades, Oris has partnered with many leading organizations, military units and display teams linked to the world of aviation. These have made us one of the first names in high-functioning pilot’s watches. 

Innovations such as the World-timer (with its push buttons that move the hour hand forwards and backwards in one hour jumps) and the Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter have brought useful functions to the wrists of pilots (and plenty who aspire to be pilots) all over the world.

In 2016, we entered into one of our proudest partnerships with Swiss Air-Rescue Rega. Rega, which you can read more about over the following pages, has been offering an aeromedical service for almost seven decades and is recognized worldwide for its excellence and professionalism.

We created a watch for Rega that year and again in 2018. Now, we’re delighted to announce a third piece. But this one’s different. Built to Rega’s specifications and in 21 iterations, it’s a landmark collection in line with Oris’s reputation for creating ultra-reliable, ultra-precise tool watches for adventurous people.

With its red helicopters, Rega is one of the most recognized and respected air rescue services in the world. Oris celebrates it with 21 limited-edition watches, one for each of its aircraft. Rega, one of Switzerland’s proudest and most trusted organizations, was founded in 1952. It is now patronized by almost half the Swiss population, and is among the world’s most recognizable air rescue services, symbolized by its iconic red helicopters and crew members in their red uniforms.

Today, it serves as an integral part of the Swiss healthcare system, with 13 helicopter bases and a fleet of state-of-the-art aircraft. From these bases, Rega operates 18 rescue helicopters and can reach anywhere in the area it covers within 15 minutes of an emergency call.

During the pandemic, the organization’s role has become even more significant. In 2020, it organized more than 16,000 missions and brought medical assistance by air to 11,000 people in distress. Thanks to previous investments made in patient isolation units, it also repatriated 140 COVID-19 patients on board its ambulance jets.

To this day, Rega remains a privately run, non-profit organization funded by a patronage system, whereby private individuals make regular contributions to the running of the service. At last count, it had more than 3.6 million patrons.

Oris is extremely proud to partner Rega and to have worked with its teams to produce 21 limited-edition watches, each a series of 100 pieces carrying a case back engraved with one of the service’s 21 aircraft. Before designing the Big Crown ProPilot Rega Fleet L.E., we turned to Rega’s staff and invited them to take part in a series of workshops where we asked them a simple question: what do you need in a wristwatch?

They told us a number of things: they liked watches that had clean, ultra-legible dials that they can read in a split second; they said they wanted a watch that wouldn’t reflect light – no glare; and they said they needed a watch with two tools – a GMT function for recording logbook times and a pulsometer that could serve as back-up to electronic machines that measure patients’ heart rates. That the watch should be robust, accurate and entirely reliable was a given.

So we built them the Big Crown ProPilot Rega Fleet L.E.. Its black dial has high-contrast white hands and numerals filled with high grade Super-LumiNova®. Its stainless steel case and Oris-patented ‘Lift’ clasp are coated in anti-reflective gunmetal grey PVD. It has a clearly indicated second time zone. And engraved into its bi-directional rotating bezel are a red triangle for timing the “golden hour” (the first hour after injury during which a patient’s chances of recovery are highest), and a pulsometer scale, read off with a white-tipped central seconds hand. We added leather and rubber straps with a quick change system.

But there was more. One pilot had an idea to link watches to individual aircraft to reflect the close bond crews and patients often develop with the them. So we created 21 different case backs, each engraved with the outline of a Rega aircraft and its registrations.

Only 100 of each will be made, making this the broadest but also most limited collection of pilot’s watches we’ve ever conceived. For these special watches, we also created a water-resistant red Ventile® pouch, complete with a second quick-change strap in hygienic, easy-clean red rubber and a tool for changing the clasp. The pouch has a number of elastic straps for tweezers, plasters and bandages so it can be upgraded to a pocket first aid kit. As a package, it’s the most collaborative watch we’ve ever made.

While each of the 21 models in the Big Crown ProPilot Rega Fleet L.E. series carries a unique case back, they share the same form and functions. Only 100 of each reference will be made.  The case is made of multi-piece stainless steel case with gunmetal grey PVD coating, grey PVD-coated bi-directional rotating bezel with red ‘golden hour’ triangle and pulsometer scale. The watch measures 41.00 mm in diameter and has a black dial with luminous material hands and indices with Super-LumiNova®, Top glass Sapphire, domed on both sides, anti-reflective coating inside. The case back is made of stainless steel, gunmetal grey PVD coating, screwed, with special engravings. 

Each watch is fitted with a black leather strap with gunmetal grey PVD-coated stainless steel folding clasp with Oris-patented ‘LIFT’ system. Supplied with additional quick change red rubber strap and clasp-change tool and the watch is water resistant to 100 meters. 

The watch features the Oris 798 movement with centre hands for hours, minutes, seconds and second time zone, date window, instantaneous date, date corrector, fine timing device and stop-second. It has an automatic winding mechanism with a 42-hour power reserve. Produced in a limited edition of 21 models, each limited to 100 pieces, totaling 2,100 watches. Each watch is delivered in a red Ventile® travel pouch and is priced at a Swiss retail price CHF 3,100. It is available from September 2021onwards.
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