Oh, Henry! The New Hank Aaron Limited Edition Timepiece from Oris
The Hölstein-based watchmaker Oris clears the bases with its heartfelt commemorative timepiece honoring one of baseball’s undeniable greatest-of-all-time players, both on and off the field.
On April 8, 1974, Atlanta Braves outfielder Henry Louis “Hank “Aaron stepped up to the plate in the fourth inning to face L.A. Dodgers pitcher Al Downing, but there was so much more at stake than just the face-off. More than just the game, too.
In fact, this game held such importance to the sport of baseball that it was broadcast nationally on NBC, and even though I was in single digits at the time, I still have vivid memories of watching this baseball moment with my father. That is because when Aaron cracked a hard drive over the left-center field wall against the bleachers, it was his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s longstanding record of 714 career home runs (which many thought would never be broken).
My dad and I are (and always have been) Boston Red Sox fans, but as I already said, we were glued to the TV waiting for this historic moment. So, when Aaron rounded the bases, we did what everyone else in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium did: We went nuts.
Why were two die-hard Boston Red Sox fans cheering for a player from a different team? Because Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s career home run record was a BIG DEAL not only for Hank Aaron and his family, not only for the Braves and its fans, and not even for only baseball. It was a BIG DEAL for the entire country as it navigated the cultural upheavals of the mid-1970s.
In The Park
Among other events, we were treated to a tour of the current Braves’ home field at Truist Park, aptly on the team’s official “Hank Aaron Day,” where the Braves defeated a persnickety Milwaukee Brewers team, 10 to 7. We also got to see the bat Aaron used to make his 715th shot, as it is ensconced in the Hank Aaron Terrace area of the ballpark. And I have to admit, looking at that iconic piece of wood got me a little misty-eyed.
Another misty moment was meeting the legend’s widow, Billye Aaron, a local TV host who heads the watch-partner foundation. When I asked her where she thought her hall-of-famer husband would have ranked his off-field charitable and community work versus his on-field exploits, she told me: “In many ways, he would have felt that that work was more important than what he achieved in baseball. He wanted his legacy to be evaluated more on his life as a man than as a baseball player.”
Off The Field
Hank Aaron once famously said: “The way I see it, it’s a great thing to be the man who hit the most home runs, but it’s a greater thing to be the man who did the most with the home runs he hit. So, as long as there’s a chance that maybe I can hammer out a little justice now and then, or a little opportunity here and there, I intend to do as I always have – keep swinging.”
Honoring this belief, the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation has, to date, awarded millions of dollars in scholarships to students with limited opportunities. As a result, over 800 young people have gone on to become athletes, musicians, doctors, scientists, and educators.
In addition to Oris publicizing the charity, a portion of the sales proceeds for the 2,297 limited edition timepieces will go directly to the foundation. (Fun Fact: 2,297 matches Hank Aaron’s prodigious career RBI stat, which is still an MLB record).
First, its red Arabic numerals are outlined in blue, while the minutes ring, which is blue, is outlined in red. Next, an extended central date hand with an inverted red arrow rides along the dial’s outer date ring to indicate the date. All of this is set atop a field of baseball white and presented in a “44” labeled box on a blue leather strap with contrasting white stitching (think, baseball glove). A second blue, red, and white NATO fabric strap is also included, along with a strap-changing tool.
In regards to its case, a smooth 40mm round steel case carries the Pointer Date’s signature fluted bezel to match the oversize textured crown at 3 o’clock. Meanwhile, the Oris 754 automatic movement delivers 38 hours of power reserve. And to close the game, an engraved caseback depicts Number 44 at the plate in his unmistakable “cross-hand” batting stance, ready to blow another one out of the park.
“To be able to collaborate with the Hank Aaron family and the Chasing the Dream Foundation, and to commemorate Hank Aaron, is a true honor,” Rolf Studer, Oris Co-CEO, commented. “Mr. Aaron is an inspiration. He broke down racial barriers, rewrote the record books, and devoted his life to the service of others. For Oris, it is a great privilege to be able to support his legacy and the foundation as it continues its mission...”