- 18k Solid Gold
- 50m water resistance
- Date of release: – July 2022
- Price upon release – $19,000 USA
- Limited Edition of 100
Wings of Hope is a USA-based NGO that flies basic supplies to people in need in remote regions, with a claimed 65,000 people served annually as of this writing. Oris has partnered with Wings of Hope, supporting the cause with a limited edition watch, as Oris often does as part of the brand’s ongoing Change for the Better campaign.
Solid Gold Watches From Value-Driven Brands
It makes sense that Oris offers solid gold watches in connection with their Change for the Better partnerships, as there’s simply more money to be raised from each sale. I believe this is the logic that initiated the practice for Oris.
It maybe makes less sense for a brand like Tudor to offer the solid gold Black Bay 58 diver (however lovely at $16,000) or for Doxa to have offered its SUB in solid gold (however bizarre at $73,000), because it is just such a jarring price tag from brands that tend to play below the $5000 mark.
Setting Oris’ benefaction aside, however, we can still consider the value on offer here, too. I have concluded that Oris – like Tudor (and unlike Doxa) – has retained its value-driven pricing quite nicely relative to the price of gold. Both of these watches occupy what was previously a mostly (and perhaps entirely) unoccupied hole in the market: the sub-$20,000 solid gold tool watch, one with casual style and a decent waterproof rating.
It’s an interesting proposition, one that may make sense for someone who really wants a brand new solid gold tool watch. I’m often surprised how many people I know actually meet that description these days.
A Solid Gold Tool
The Big Crown Pointer Date at 38mm (first released in steel with a tuxedo blue dial in November of 2022) is my favorite Oris format since the brand was issuing 34mm retro pointer dates back in the early 2000s. This steel model lends much of its design – though significantly not its pointer date – to the Wings of Hope Limited Edition in solid gold. Without the pointer date (or any date mechanism), the result is a rather plain, somewhat vintage-looking pilots watch. A classic, old-school design rendered with restraint.
The eye knows right where to go; nothing feels out of scale other than the Big Crown, which delivers just enough aviation character (and ease of use). The design is further restrained through the omission of the coin-edge bezel and the use of a plain numerical font. The boxed sapphire crystal creates lovely distortions at certain angles (see above images), but that’s the only surprise I found. In essence, it’s a straightforward pilots watch – a solid gold tool.
Surprisingly Unique in Solid Gold
The Wings of Hope LE shows us a unique way to do solid gold, by only changing the case metal and not reaching to do more because of the gold. The result is a chill and sophisticated watch, but not in the least bit blingy. It’s understated, and entirely classy. In solid gold, I can’t think of another modern watch like it – certainly not at this price point – unless we include the aforementioned Tudor Black Bay 58 diver in solid gold.
The uniqueness of both watches comes down to being familiar, vintage-inspired tool watches in gold, and, importantly, to the ample brushing of the gold case. The Tudor is entirely brushed, which is strangely alluring, but Oris has alternately brushed the gold here, which suits the format well by emphasizing the relatively thin polished bezel. Specifically, Oris has brushed the top of the lugs, which goes a long way toward muting the gold visage.
Oris Calibre 400
We interviewed Oris’ N. American CEO about the release of this movement, so you can learn more about it here. It’s special for having a 10-year service interval and warranty, and for storing 5-days of power. The movement feels – and more or less looks – appropriately elevated enough for a solid gold watch. I’d have liked a gold plated rotor, perhaps, or further engraving – just a little more jazz around back.
Letting Gold Be Gold
Despite my wishing for a splash of gold on the movement, I think Oris got the formula right: elevate just the case and let stand the proven design and robust mechanics. This approach allows the gold to do its alluring thing without altering the core architecture that makes the watch so compelling in the first place. Gold turns out to be remarkably appealing – and for me more interesting – when its luster isn’t maximized.
So, even with its good cause aside, this limited edition seems like a compelling release, one that is not only rather unique within the wider watch market today, but one that I can see being very collectible over time on the secondary market.