After years of tiptoeing around it and covering releases from Oris, I have to say that the recently announced Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400 Laser may be the watch that conquers me. Back when Oris announced the original Pro Pilot X, I found the design compelling but at the same time, a little too industrial-looking for me. I say that even as someone who is affectionately drawn to aviation themes, which Oris does very well. But now, Oris just had to add frickin’ lasers to the equation, pulling me closer to the ProPilot X. The new Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400 Laser introduces an interesting laser dial treatment process that has never been seen in watches before. And they’ve announced this just in time for Dubai Watch Week 2023.
Even without digging into the dial finishing process, the iridescent rainbow-like finish just adds so much playfulness to an otherwise brutalist design base. Seeing something like this in my collection of generally bland military pieces would be hilarious and really add to the fun of collecting in general. Maybe it has something to do with the dynamic range I’m seeing in the press photos but I can see this fitting in with my arsenal of black and white dial watches. Above all, I can tell Oris is just having fun with this and that’s exactly what I like to see from a truly independent brand. We saw this with watches like the ProPilot X Kermit Edition and the hand-painted cloisonné enamel dial Sun Wukong Artist Edition.
The Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400 Laser’s dial is completely laser-etched and this has been done in partnership with a research lab affiliated with ETH Zurich. The dial plays with light in a way that messes with the color spectrum, showing off greens and blues while giving reds the cold shoulder. It’s all about manipulating light to create color, and Oris nails it, making the dial the star of the show. And there’s this cool vertical texture adding more depth. Oris decided to skip the date and keep the hour markers understated, letting the dial do all the talking.
The rest of the ProPilot X stays true to its roots. It’s got a 39mm case that’s 12mm thick, paired with a titanium bracelet that’s comfy but lacks that extra smoothness in its movement. The design’s a bit on the edgy side, which might feel a bit off with the dial’s simpler style, but it all comes together for a unique look. Under the hood, the ProPilot X Laser rocks Oris’ own caliber 400, minus the date feature. You can peep this through the see-through caseback.
Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400 Laser Specs
- Case Diameter: 39mm
- Case Material: Multi-piece titanium case
- Water Resistance: 10 bar
- Movement: Oris 400
- Power Reserve: 120 Hours
- Crystal: Sapphire, domed on both sides, anti-reflective coating inside
- Bracelet: Multi-piece Titanium metal bracelet, folding clasp
- Price: $5,200
Whatever man. All that science-y laser stuff is cool but one thing I can’t get around is that this watch is seriously attractive to me. It makes no sense in the “grand scheme of my collecting” but it just looks fun. And fun is what I hope to have when I’m collecting. Maybe it’s because this watch is so different from what I usually look for. But it’s nice to know that the people behind Oris are working hard to offer something different and they do this often. Hopefully I get to play with one of these soon–I bet it would be a blast to photograph.
Michael Peñate is an American writer, photographer, and podcaster based in Seattle, Washington. His work typically focuses on the passage of time and the tools we use to connect with that very journey. From aviation to music and travel, his interests span a multitude of disciplines that often intersect with the world of watches – and the obsessive culture behind collecting them.