Baseball season is now officially in full swing and with it comes a sense of normalcy. I myself am not a huge Baseball fan (it's hard to be when you grow up in a Mets household), but I have always loved and still love getting to games. Living in the Lancaster PA area gives us a good amount of access to in my opinion at least one of the most beautiful stadiums in all of Baseball, Camden Yards. Now the word is the Orioles are going to be a pretty good team this year, but it's still a bit too early to be able to tell how things will shake down. There is one thing we as watch collectors can start theorizing about when it comes to Baseball and that has to do with who Oris is going to celebrate this year. Now watches and Baseball players go hand in hand, there are players that have some really terrific and amazing collections. Baseball and watches, especially luxury watches not so much. Now a few years ago Oris made a watch in celebration of Roberto Clemente which was a huge success and it is safe to assume they have something ready for this season. I would like to take a few minutes to theorize on what might be on the horizon for Baseball and Oris.
First, let's talk about the year so far for Oris. Oris has released some really great pieces so far, some are safe bets others are big gambles. When it comes to the gambles I believe Oris is in a place to be able to make those kinds of bets and it is exciting to see that adventurism pay off. Not only because it is producing some really great watches now, but also because it shows Oris that the market respects and WANTS creativity from them. Now I would say Oris's largest show of brand initiative has been the focus on really quality in-house movements, having now produced 10 in 10 years. I highly doubt we will ever see a tourbillon from Oris I think it is safe to say that we can expect to see more in-house movements used in more unique styles.
So Oris has released a handful of watches this year but there are three that I would say really have led the discussion on what we can expect from Oris moving forward. I'll start with what in my opinion is the most surprising, and that would be the Diamond Dial Aquis. OK, so the red was a great call for this watch, the Cherry Aquis has been one of their best sellers. On the other hand, the Diamonds feel like a departure for Oris, but the fact that they are lab-created Diamonds makes sense in a way although the jury is still out on if lab-grown diamonds are as good for the environment as the lab-grown industry claims it is. I personally would have rather seen a redo of the insanely popular New York Harbor Aquis.
The next watch that I just love is the new Oris Altimeter. About a decade ago Oris released on similar to this but they made some noticeable tweaks to the new model. Mostly the thickness and weight. Having made it out of carbon it is nearly half the weight of the original. They also fitted this model with the Oris Calibre 793 which helped them make it 1 mm thinner. All in all the Oris ProPilot Altimeter is a cool watch, it's sadly way too big for my wrist coming in at 47mm. this watch plays into Oris's DNA, I mean it's all practical mechanical science that makes the manual altimeter work and it's the only one are the market so that's pretty cool. This watch requires a very specific client, especially at the price point, the biggest departure I would say this watch has in relation to Oris is the size with 38mm being the sweet spot for Oris this watch feels HUGE next to the other watches they offer even next to the other 42mm ProPilots. Don't hate me Rolf, awesome watch just to be for this thin-wristed man.
Next, I'll just say one word and move on: Kermit
OK so let's talk Oris and Baseball. The celebration of Roberto Clemente created a really great watch which makes sense because it was celebrating a really terrific human being. It's hard to quantify both Roberto Clemente's achievements as a Baseball player and as a humanitarian. Roberto was a Puerto Rican who was a legend at the game, racking up 3000 hits while laughing in the face of out-of-control racism. Roberto dedicated his life to using his platform to fight humanitarian injustice and also aid people facing hunger and loss. It was on a humanitarian mission to Nicaragua to deliver relief supplies to the country after an earthquake when he tragically died in a plane crash on December 31st, 1972 at the age of 38. When his name is cheered by his native Puerto Ricans it is in celebration of the grit, determination, and pride that they share and he was fortunate to embody. It was in 1973 the first Roberto Clemente Award was given, the award was originally known as the Commissioners Award but in observation of his humility and dedication to his fellow man the MLB renamed the award in Clemente's honor. It is the only MLB award that is not awarded based on field performance but instead on service rendered to the player's fellow man. at this time there are 40 surviving recipients of the Roberto Clemente Award, nearly all of them retired. It is considered not only one of the highest baseball awards but one of the highest sports awards you could ever have the honor of receiving.
Now where does Oris fit into this? I am always personally skeptical of the desires of large companies, especially luxury brands to attach themselves to concepts like humanitarianism and generosity and the people who embody those virtues. It makes sense to me for two reasons for Oris to have done this. First, they did it tastefully and respectively. When they launched this watch they made 3,000 in celebration of his 3,000 hits. They gave one to each surviving recipient of the award and they kept 10 in reserve to award to future winners. Also, other players who share his values actually already had the watch. In 2022 when offered the watch in concoction with the award Paul Goldschmidt was already wearing the watch when Oris gifted him one for winning the award. Secondly, Oris places an insane amount of importance on the same values that Roberto Clemente embodied. Chiefly do no harm, and help if you can.
The watch itself is beautiful but also accessible in the fact they did not make this watch with one of the in-house movements meaning that the price was relatively lower than it would be if it had say a Calibre 400 in it. It also came with two straps that could be easily interchanged that showcased subtle Pirates colors. My favorite aspect of the watch was the collection they went with, choosing a Big Crown Pointer Date was a smart choice for a few reasons. First, the watch is fairly bare-bones lacking in unneeded bells and whistles that would take away from the message of the watch and the overall celebration of Roberto Clemente. Secondly, the Big Crown Pointer Date is one of the most popular collections that Oris has in their catalog. Going with a popular style enhances the popularity and accessibility of the watch even more.
Now let's get down to some Oris Baseball theories. It is safe to assume that Oris will partner with another baseball player, it's also safe to assume that it will be a player who has another lifetime achievement award. None of this is a give in but here are my predictions from what I consider most likely to least. I should also say that what I consider most likely is skewed a bit by personal preference. I'll also discuss the collection that I assume they will go with.
Lou Gerig, is arguably the most recognized name in baseball. He was the first to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs in a career. He is also honored with a lifetime achievement award that goes to the best MLB player each season based on integrity, sportsmanship, community involvement, and overall performance on the field. Gerig was also a very private person who lived with ALS for the last two years of his life. This tragedy only enhanced Gerig's legacy as one of baseball and humanity's greatest players. His speech at his Hall of Fame induction is remembered as one of the greatest in baseball history. An Oris watch in celebration of this great man could fit perfectly into the Big Crown family. It would be an honor for him to have a watch that celebrates his achievements, integrity, and sportsmanship associated with his name. The collection itself would feature Yankee colors to commemorate Gerig's life of commitment to the team. There would also be features on the watch to highlight the 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. This watch could also serve as a reminder of what those achievements mean. It's a reminder that we can all strive for excellence and integrity both on and off the field.
The reason I think this is the most probably for Oris is the huge marketing opportunity. First, it appeals to Yankee fans and baseball fans, also his fraternity is the one that began the process for his lifetime achievement award so right there are three large groups to market to. July 23rd is also Oris Day at Yankee Stadium so that would be a great time to unveil this watch.
Next, I think is possible but less likely Hank Arron. He was the first to break Babe Ruth's record of 714 home runs. He also won several lifetime achievement awards, including being inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1982. Arron's life wasn't easy and he faced racism throughout his career but he fought through it and paved the way for African Americans in baseball. Oris could create a watch collection that celebrates Arron's accomplishments, his courage, and the impact he had on baseball. The watch could feature the Braves' colors along with features that celebrate Arron's milestones throughout his career. This collection would not only be a tribute to Hank Arron but also a reminder of what one person can do when they are dedicated to making a difference in society. This would be another great idea for Oris because it plays well with the motif they have begun with Roberto Clemente. Also, Braves fans are some of the most loyal, and Hank Arron is a legend to them so it's safe to assume the watch would do quite well. I would really like if this ever happened to see them do it with an Aquis. I think the braves colors would look terrific on that collection with a rubber strap model and possibly an extra stainless bracelet.
So my final and least likely is a relatively new player, Yu Darvish. He is a four-time all-star, World Series champion, and has been one of the most dominant pitchers over the past decade. Darvish also faced his own share of adversity with an elbow injury that sidelined him for almost two years. This didn't stop him from making a remarkable comeback in 2020 though. Oris could commemorate this turn of events with a special collection dedicated to Yu Darvish's perseverance and success in baseball. The watch could feature Japanese colors as well as features celebrating Darvish's awards and accomplishments throughout his career. This would be a great way to honor not just Yu Darvish but anyone who has overcome personal struggles to achieve their dreams. It would also be another great marketing opportunity for Oris. I think this would be great for Oris in several ways and I think the implications are the most exciting. First, the Baseball World Classic has become extremely popular as baseball spreads throughout the world, and baseball in Japan is a very big deal. Japan just won the most recent cup and they have the most title wins of any country. That being said the watch would most likely be a watch they would market hard to Japan and other Asian countries which wouldn't resonate with their current business model. While an extremely cool idea I don't see it as likely any time soon. While I am dreaming I see this watch as a crazy cool designed ProPilot X.
I hope you enjoyed my theories and explanation of Oris and watches. I know for a fact that they will keep going with this because it plays so well into mutual passions and DNA. I actually believe in my core that all the watches they will do will be Big Crown ProPilots, the reason being it will be great for collectors who are aiming to build the set, whatever that number is that Oris has planned. Whatever they have up their sleeves we are sure to see it soon as baseball gets into full swing. Also if you are interested in seeing the Roberto Clemente ProPilot feel free to visit Laura Z Tai Fine Jewelry and Watches!