Oris Williams Chronograph Carbon Fibre Extreme — when co-branding works
Oris is the longest standing partner of the Williams F1 team, their relationship going back to 2002 and over the years there were several Oris collections inspired by and dedicated to the Williams team. One of them is the Williams Chronograph Carbon Fibre Extreme that I had the pleasure to try last year during the F1. As this year we were invited again by Oris to an extraordinary day at the Williams paddock — see TimeCaptain’s story here — I was offered to try again this special chronograph, this time having it for a longer period.
Introduced during Baselworld 2016, the Oris Williams Chronograph Carbon Fibre Extreme is not a novelty per se, there are plenty of reviews and articles about it online already and I won’t spend too much time writing about its technical specs. I would rather focus on my personal impressions after one month of wearing it almost every day.
This was not my first experience with a motorsport-inspired Oris, a couple of years ago I reviewed two Audi Sport chronographs, that even after all this time I remember them as one of the highlights of my watch blogging. Now, with the Williams Carbon Fibre, I have the impression that I understand even better the design philosophy of Oris and as a designer myself, I’m on board with it 100%.
Many motor-sport inspired watches will try hard to be loud, flashy, aggressive, and the results are often tasteless, especially outside a racing track. Not this Oris Williams chronograph, here, everything is balanced and while the racing and adrenaline seeking features are not neglected, they are kept under strict control.
Oris could easily have fallen into the trap of using the Williams F1 colour scheme: navy blue, light blue and red, and I’m afraid, it would have been a total disaster. The creative team at Oris went deeper than just putting some colours on an existing chronograph, they managed to express the essence of Williams F1 spirit in a watch.
It’s not the colours, it’s the material – carbon fibre, the ultimate performance racing material, resulting in a watch case five times lighter than stainless steel, yet twice as stable. To keep things light, the case back and the clasp are titanium. For me, the lightness of the case is a big plus, I have small wrists and there are so many cool watches that are too big and too heavy for me to consider them as everyday wearers. Besides being super-comfortable, the carbon fibre is a real eye candy, especially in sunny conditions the surface comes alive as the watch is moved and turned around.
If you don’t know anything about this watch, the only direct reference to Williams is found on the side of the bezel, visible thanks to a cutout above the crown. Another beautiful example of the subtle approach to the design of this watch. The Oris Williams plays according to solid design rule: less is more. In this case, it is way, way more! A high-end racing watch created for the die-hard Williams fan who wants a chronograph that will take the emotions lived on the racetrack, and bring them to the everyday life.
I could not escape it either. While checking the time or just admiring its pure aesthetics, the Carbon Fibre Extreme reminded me of all the emotions, noises and smells I experienced at the Williams pitstop. Everything was there, on my wrist.
For technical specs and price, visit the Oris website.