Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review of Oris Chronoris Grand Prix ‘70 Limited Edition

Model # 01 677 7619 4154
Brand:  Oris
Model:  Chronoris Grand Prix ’70 Limited Edition (total of 1970 pieces)
Material:  stainless steel case, leather strap
Complications:  date display, second time zone hand, chronograph timing in one-quarter  second increments up to 12 hours
Price:  MSRP  $4,650 USD

Plenty of photos follow the review.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I tend to like Oris watches.  I have three of them in my collection at the present time and this Chronoris Limited Edition is the standout of the bunch.  Oris makes a ‘standard’ Chronoris watch in orange and black that has one major downfall; it does not have a seconds hand for the non-chronograph portion of the watch.  This may not bother some people, but for me, and especially for an automatic, a watch needs to have a seconds hand.

The Chronoris LE takes care of this problem simply because the watchmakers at Oris decided to include a second hand on this model.  The Grand Prix LE Chronoris has a full 12-hour chronograph and an independently adjustable 24-hour GMT hand and is presented in a great black and green motif.  When I saw it, I had to have it.  The Chronoris is a limited-edition run of 1970 pieces.

Oris has made the Chronoris model for decades and vintage examples pop up for sale from time to time.  For the current LE model, they pretty much loaded it up with contemporary features while retaining a vintage look and created a stunning, functional and exclusive watch.

The Chronoris LE starts with a retro ‘disco volante’ cushion case shape with partial hidden lugs, in a brushed and polished finish.  The large signed crown is a thing of beauty, as it quick-locks with a quarter turn of the finger.  Oris calls it a ‘quick lock security crown.’  Totally nifty!

Case diameter is 42.3mm without the crown, 46.1mm crown included.  Case height is 44.1mm end to end, lugs are 21mm.  Thickness is 14.7mm.  This is a fairly large watch, but it wears well and imparts a terrific look on the wrist.

The chronograph pushers are polished and of good size.  The polished case back screws down and is a display type with a mineral crystal.  A slightly domed sapphire crystal has its edges flush with the case.  Anti-reflective coating is on the inside.  The Chronoris LE is factory rated for 50 meters of water resistance.

The dial on the Chronoris LE is easily described as ‘busy’, but not to the extent that it detracts from the functionality of the watch.  The innermost part of the dial is black, surrounded by a green chapter-type ring with white hash marks for the chronograph seconds hand, although the marks and ring are interrupted by the top and bottom subdials.

Outside the chapter ring is another circle of black, which is surrounded by a green and white 24-hour ring (a.m. on the ring is green, p.m. is white).  The 24-hour ring is in turn surrounded by a black tachymeter ring. 

Silver applied markers with luminous dots at the ends are placed every five minutes on the dial, going from the inner green and white chapter ring to the outer black ring.  I know this description sounds incredibly busy, but look at the pictures and you’ll see that it somehow all works together.

The subdial at the 9 position is the watch seconds hand.  The subdial at 12 is the 30-minute chronograph totalizer and the subdial at 6 is the chronograph 12-hour totalizer. 

The 30-minute totalizer also has an inner white 10-minute countdown ring inside the 30-minute ring, counting down 10 minutes starting at the 15-minute mark and going to the 25-minute mark.  According to the Formula 1 web site, the rules state “ten minutes before the start the grid must be cleared except for team technical staff, race officials and drivers. With three minutes to go all cars must have their wheels fitted (any car not complying will receive a 10-second time penalty).”  Hence, the reason this function appears on this watch.

The top and bottom subdials are oversized and are ringed in silver, making them stand out on the dial and also making them easier to read.  This design element almost makes the watch appear to be a two-register chronograph instead of a three-register style.

The subdial at 9 has only basic marks at each quarter hour and is not delineated by a ring or circle, making the seconds hand very subdued, but still present, which is appreciated.

All the subdial hands and the chronograph seconds hand are simple silver, with the hour and minute hands of the watch being silver with inset lume.  Lume is C3 Superluminova and quality is good.  There’s not an overabundance of lume on the Chronoris LE, but just enough for adequate time reading in the dark.

The 24-hour GMT hand is executed extremely well.  The tip is medium yellow, while the hand portion is black, so all you tend to see is the tip at the outer edge of the dial; it’s as if the yellow pointer is floating around the dial.  This helps lessen the complexity of the dial while retaining great second timezone capability.

A white on black quickset date window is located at the 6 position, inside the lower subdial.  The window is rimmed in silver and is easy to read.  Alignment of the date wheel inside the round window is good.

Inside the Chronoris LE is a 25-jewel Oris Caliber 677 Swiss made automatic movement, which starts as a base Valjoux 7754.  The movement beats at 28,800 vph and can be manually wound and hacked.  In my testing, I achieved a fine 53 hour power reserve (Oris lists PR at 48 hours) and in my accuracy tests, it runs at +7 seconds over 24 hours.  Totally acceptable. 

The movement runs great, sets and winds fine and the action of all the complications (GMT hand setting, chrono start/stop/reset) are good.  A fine movement for a fine watch.  And of course, the famous Oris red rotor is visible through the display back and is signed with the Oris name and Grand Prix ‘70.

The strap on the Chronoris is very nice.  A black perforated leather strap in a matte finish, a bit thicker but not really padded, with green stitching inside and black stitching outside and green edges.  A super look.  The strap is 21mm at the lugs and tapers to 18mm at the deployant style clasp. 

The clasp is also a beauty; it’s one of those designs that keeps the extra part of the strap (the part that normally would overlap and fit through keepers) on the inside of the strap for a clean look.  The clasp itself is a signed pushbutton machined deployant that has a satin finish on the inside and a bit of perlage on one part of the clasp.  A small but great detail.  The clasp and strap are comfortable and make the watch a joy to wear.

Overall fit and finish on the Chronoris LE is first rate.  I said it in my review of the Oris Maldives diver and I will say it again, I believe Oris has really stepped up their game recently and is producing even better quality watches than they did a short five years ago. 

Presentation of the Chronoris LE is a square cardboard outer box with a rubberized inner box in the shape of a racing tire.  A pair of driving gloves is also included in most sets (I did not get the gloves with my watch, perhaps because I bought this watch at a discount).  No biggie, the presentation is totally in fitting with the race theme of this watch.

In summary, the Oris Chronoris LE is a fantastic watch, if you can find one.  It combines a great retro look with modern functionality and has a color combination and style that is tough to beat.  A superbly executed watch.

Pros:  great functionality with multiple complications, super looks, nifty quick-lock crown, reliable Swiss engine, quality strap and deployant clasp 
Cons:  case shape may not suit everybody’s tastes, dial is rather busy, modest water resistance
Verdict:  in most respects, the Chronoris LE is a watch that almost does it all without going over the top in any way.  A well-done watch that will definitely get the looks.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pictures.


  1. I tried posting comment before but looks like didn't go through. Apology if double posting.

    Been looking for a GMT complication cheaper than Rolex GMT Explorer or Omega SMP series which I was told able to have second TZ pointed to home time and main hour and minutes can be adjusted to local time without affecting the GMT hand/2nd TZ hand once they've been set to home time. New Tag twin time seems doesn't provide this capability as the second time hand moves with main hour when the main hour is adjusted one way (although not the other way)- weird. Fine for travelling west but become a problem travelling back east.

    Out of the GMT watches you reviewed here (Oris GP, Colt GMT) which one would have that capabilities?

    Otherwise might think of a Perellet Seacraft GMT - maybe you can review that one too? Thanks

    1. Aside from the currrent Rolex GMTs and the new Omega Planet Ocean GMT with the Cal. 8605 movement, I don't know of any other automatic GMTs that allow you to adjust only the hour hand while keeping the GMT hand in place.

      All the GMTs I've reviewed here are ETA-based movements and don't have independent main hour hand adjustment, only the 24-hour hand can be independently adjusted.

      I have a standard Perellet diver, not the GMT, so I don't know how their GMT movement operates. Being an in-house movement, it may work as you are hoping, but I really don't know.

      Another option for you would be to try and find a GMT watch that has the second time zone as another small set of hour and minute hands and those could be set as desired. There are several automatic options in this design, I believe Maurice LaCroix makes one and their watches can often be found heavily discounted.

      Good luck.


    2. Thanks. I believe you may refer to ML Pontos grand Guichet GMT? I saw TAG release new model with second timezone with hr and minute hand, but knowing their fondness of using ETA movement I suspect it'll likely to behave like their twin-time

  2. I was fortunate to purchase the Chronoris after a period of searching. Not easy to come by since all have been sold out at Oris AD. Have it for 2 years now, and I love every bit of it. Mine comes in a leather case with the racing gloves and this being a limited edition makes it even extra special. To me, the Chronoris is an iconic model for Oris just as the Monaco is to Tag.

  3. Just bought Oris Grand Prix ‘70 Limited Edition from local dealer. This is a last one in their warehouse.