Double-signed watches represent a niche in the vintage watch market that has seen a lot of demand and pretty significant pricing markups over the past few years. A “Tiffany dial” Datejust or a “Turler” Seamaster can both command a handsome premium over their standard-issue counterparts. Today, however, collaborations between brands and retailers tend to represent a lot more than just two names on a dial. The Oris x Fratello Big Crown Pointer Date, featuring a bronze case and oxblood dial, is the culmination of a blogger’s crazy mod, a bit of historical research, and a partnership that has yielded quite a beautiful-looking outcome.
Oris is a brand that is no stranger to collaborations, particularly through their Diver Sixty-Five platform. While Fratello has not been quite as prolific with its collaborations, its two most well known, the “Speedy Tuesday” ST1 and “Ultraman” ST2 Speedmasters, have arguably been a pair of the most impactful and successful collab watches of the past several years. Fratello, a Dutch online watch magazine founded in 2004, launched its own e-commerce outlet in the fall of 2019 and has been slowly rolling out and expanding its retail presence. This 300-piece collab with Oris represents only Fratello’s second limited edition since launching the shop.
In 2018, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Oris pointer date mechanism, the brand launched a Limited Edition Big Crown with a green dial and a bronze case. A year later, Oris launched a Stainless Steel Big Crown with an oxblood red dial that inspired Mike Stockton, a Fratello writer based in Frankfurt, to create his own bronze Oris mod by adding an oxblood dial to an existing 80th anniversary Big Crown. It’s that mod that inspired this release. According to Fratello founder Ralph-Jan Broer: “The idea for this watch originated at Baselworld 2018, when our editor Mike Stockton, first saw the Big Pointer Date with an Oxblood dial. The dial had him hooked, but he had a vision of it in bronze. Oris trusted us with this idea, and here we are. I’m proud to work with Oris and believe we’ve brought something very special to life.”
This new collab differs from existing bronze-cased Oris Big Crowns in the addition of gilt treatments throughout the minute track and the replacement of all the non-lumed white printing on the dial with gilt letters and numerals. It’s notable that Fratello and Oris decided to keep white lume instead of going for more of a vintage look; the contrast is quite striking and keeps legibility strong while also preserving a nice “old meets new” vibe to the piece. After paying a visit to the Oris museum in Hölstein, the Fratello team also requested that the word “Automatic”, seen on the dials of most Big Crowns under the words “Big Crown”, be replaced with “Anti-Shock”, which remains factual as the watch sports a movement based on an Elaboré-grade SW200-1 movement that features Incabloc shock protection.
On the underside of the 40mm bronze-cased watch is a closed steel caseback sporting a Fratello logo and the LE number. The watch comes with both a taupe leather strap with oxblood lining and a gray NATO strap, both with bronze hardware to match the case. A couple of extra spring bars and a strap changing tool complete the set. As might be inferred from the name, the watch comes with an oversized screw down crown, though water resistance is set at just 50m. The case is only 12mm thick including the double-domed sapphire crystal, and lug-to-lug is a very manageable 48mm.
Oris x Fratello Big Crown Pointer Date Specs
- Dimensions: 40mm wide, 12mm thick, 48mm L2L
- Materials: CuSn6 bronze case, closed stainless steel caseback
- Crystal: double-domed sapphire with AR coating inside
- Water Resistance: 50m
- Lug width: 20mm
- Movement: Automatic Oric 754, base Sellita SW200-1 (Elaboré-grade) featuring hacking, hand-winding, pointer date, 38h power reserve, 28,800 BPH
This new Oris x Fratello Big Crown Pointer Date represents a unique and interesting offering certainly for Oris or Fratello fans, but also for folks looking for a bronze-cased watch with a beautiful dial and a backstory that doesn’t involve swimming with sharks on an underwater spelunking expedition or fighting space pirates over Mars with nothing but a CO2 scrubber and a pair of galoshes. The watch is limited to 300 pieces, 250 of which will be available from the Fratello Shop with the rest distributed through Oris boutiques worldwide. European pricing is set to €1,950 including VAT, which ought to end up at a fairly similar number in USD once VAT is removed and currency exchanged.
Ever since his first watch, a talking Dick Tracy thing won in a local chicken impersonation contest at age five, Aggressive Timing Habits has been fascinated by all watches from Amphibias to Zeniths and the people who create and collect them. His contributions to TBWS represent a new outlet to discuss the miracle of drilled lugs and debate the virtues of balance bridges vs balance cocks, much to the relief of friends and loved ones.