Williams 40th Anniversary Oris Limited Edition
Angus Davies gets hands-on with the Williams 40th Anniversary Oris Limited Edition, a retro timepiece created to celebrate the life of the legendary Formula One team.
This detailed review of the Williams 40th Anniversary Oris Limited Edition includes live pictures, specification details and pricing.
Success can be an elusive friend. However, Sir Frank Williams and his eponymous Formula One team are close companions of success having won 16 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, including nine constructors’ titles and seven drivers’ titles.
Now, Oris has unveiled a limited edition timepiece based on its iconic Chronoris, a period classic from the 1970s. This new timepiece has been launched to commemorate the 40th anniversary since Williams Racing participated in its first race, the 1977 Spanish Grand Prix.
Throughout the history of Williams it has engaged the services of some of the finest drivers ever to step upon the winner’s podium. The likes of Alan Jones, Carlos Reutemann, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve are just a few of the illustrious individuals to have driven for the celebrated team.
Returning to horological matters, I recently had the opportunity to test drive a Williams 40th Anniversary Oris Limited Edition, fitted with a 1970s period metal bracelet, in order to evaluate its performance over a few days.
An Oris black dial with Williams blue detailing immediately links this watch to the winning Formula One team. Oris has been working with Williams since 2003 and the dial seems like a metaphor for the two companies collaborating.
The silver toned hour and minute hands feature a smattering of luminescent fill near their tips. The applied hour markers eschew SuperLumiNova relying on their sparkling forms to capture ambient light. Everything is clear and easy to interpret.
The date aperture is very prominent with white text on a black disc. The date proves simple to discern.
Two chronograph registers grace the dial. The upper subdial, positioned below noon, is a 30-minute chronograph register, while the lower subdial, located above 6 o’clock, is a 12-hour chronograph. By restricting the subdial count to only two, the dial appears uncluttered, symmetrical and harmonious.
A slim Williams blue minute track surrounds the hour circle, adding a dose of colour to the interesting dialscape.
Surrounding the periphery of the dial is a tachymeter scale. This seems particularly relevant for a timepiece where racing is referenced and team personnel need to determine speeds as part of their working duties.
The oval shaped case stands out from the crowd. It immediately distinguishes itself as a child of the 1970s and brims with retro charm. The aesthetics may not be to everyone’s liking with some onlookers possibly considering the watch to be outdated, however, I am personally smitten with the styling of this delightful watch.
Surrounding the arcing sapphire crystal, the bezel is satin-brushed, while the case-band and case-back are highly polished. The mixture of surface treatments works superbly with all elements coalescing magnificently.
The chronograph push-pieces have a capstan-like profile and the vertical flank of the crown is curved, echoing the contours of the case.
Gracing the rear of the case, the case-back is embossed with the ‘Williams Racing logo’.
Oris offer the Williams 40th Anniversary Oris Limited Edition with a choice of straps as well as an elaborate 15-rows stainless steel bracelet. It was this latter option that was fitted to my press loan, ensnaring my heart with its 1970s aesthetics. The bracelet is incredibly flexible, ensuring a comfortable fit, while the folding clasp confers a secure union with the wrist.
The Williams 40th Anniversary Oris Limited Edition is fitted with the horological stalwart, the ETA 7750.
I remain an unabashed fan of the affordable ETA 7750 movement. It proves simple to service and repair. Moreover, it has gained an enviable reputation for its reliability and robustness.
The movement contains 25 jewels, a detail which is shown on the dial. It also has a useful power reserve of 48 hours.
The world of Formula One is a competitive arena where only the most capable succeed. Frank Williams and his team have shown an amazing ability to claim victories and taste the sweet flavour of podium Champagne. It therefore seems quite appropriate that the company’s achievements have been marked with a special watch.
The Williams 40th Anniversary Oris Limited Edition is a very special watch. It has an interesting dial suffused with tasteful details, such as the twin chronograph register display. The blend of black and blue tones on the dial works well and the tachymeter scale seems appropriate for a watch that references a speed-obsessed world.
Those readers who look back fondly at 1970s styling will find much to like about the Williams 40th Anniversary Oris Limited Edition. The oval shaped case, dial composition and retro metal bracelet all brim with 1970s glamour and sit alongside flared trousers and kipper ties when it comes to period authenticity.
One danger of period styling is that functionality can be impaired. However, on this occasion, the dial confers excellent readability along with handsome looks.
The design of this timepiece may not appeal to everyone’s tastes and is likely to polarise opinion, nevertheless, to my eyes the Williams 40th Anniversary Oris Limited Edition is a winner and a fitting tribute to a remarkable man and his racing team.
• Model: Williams 40th Anniversary Oris Limited Edition
• Case: Stainless steel; diameter 40mm; sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback; water resistant to 10 ATM (100 metres).
• Functions: Hours; minutes; date; chronograph; tachymeter scale
• Movement: ETA 7750; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve 48 hours.
• Strap: 15-link articulated metal bracelet with folding clasp
• Price: CHF 3,800 (RRP as at 17.8.2017)