Oris Honors Pioneering Humanitarian Organization Wings of Hope With Two New Limited Editions
The fun of flying meets the heart of horology in two new, beautifully classic pilot watches created in support of the Wings of Hope aviation humanitarian organization.
The intersections between aviation and horology are made most apparent with the time-honored pilot watch. The developments in wristwatches aimed at the specific mission needs of early pilots during the so-called “golden age” of aviation brought the entire concept of a watch worn on the wrist from a kind of practical ornamentation to decidedly critical use as a tool.
However, despite modern instrumentation, these timepieces’ traditional functionality, legibility, and style continue their vital role and enduring appeal into the present day. Indeed, a well-made pilot’s watch remains a standard piece of gear for those who work the yolk as much as it’s a fashion accessory for folks who spend their time in first-class seats.
Flights of Purpose
Besides the well-known watch/aviation link, there is also strong connective tissue between aviation and charity. Providing and piloting such awesome machinery in times of crisis can make a big humanitarian difference in the world. And pilots know that.
For 60 years, the St. Louis-based Wings of Hope organization, relying heavily on corporate and individual public donations and a dedicated team of volunteers, has been delivering vital medical service and material and providing patient transport to regions that are most vulnerable.
Need urgent transportation of vital medical equipment and personnel during the pandemic? Wings of Hope was involved. Shuttling patients free of charge in need of critical care unavailable locally? Wings of Hope is there. Operating in the United States and around the world, more than 65,000 people used the organization’s services last year alone, and its work has garnered two Nobel Peace Prize nominations, to boot.
Yet, the busy folks at Wings of Hope still find time to create and deliver STEM-based educational programs to attract, train, and prepare younger generations for the worlds of aviation and humanitarian aid.
Oris Comes Aboard
That is why Swiss watchmaker Oris has partnered with the non-profit NGO; the brand not only wants to lend support but also spread the word about this charity that, ahem, flies a little under the radar.
“I often say that Wings of Hope is the nicest two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee that very few people have heard of,” commented Wings of Hope CEO Bret Heinrich in a press release. “Making the Wings of Hope watches available to an international audience is a great gift and will be a huge support to our brand identity. Broader familiarity with Wings of Hope will allow us to move faster in building relationships that we count on to be able to save and change lives.”
Time To Fly
Based on the signature Oris Big Crown pilot watch and powered by the Oris Calibre 401 automatic movement, both Wings of Hope Limited Edition models deliver five-day performance (you can read that on the dial). It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate timepiece to honor the hard-working pilots and staff who give so much of their time and effort to others in need.
The 40mm Wings of Hope steel execution (limited to 1,000 pieces) includes not only the standard pilot watch’s oversized crown for easy gloved manipulation but also features an off-white dial with prominent Super-LumiNova-coated Arabic hour indices and blade hands.
A blue-gauged, red-handed small seconds sub-dial with a stop seconds function at 6 o’clock adds a bit of rakish pizzazz to the package. But minimal and brilliantly legible for quick wrist glances in the cockpit, the steel Wings of Hope Limited Edition is the very essence of a classic pilot watch in form and function. At its core, this timepiece is all about working precise and hard in flight or in everyday terrestrial life.
The special 38mm solid 18K Wings of Hope Gold version (limited to only 100 pieces) shares its steel sister’s straight-forward design cues and sturdy movement specs, albeit with the added eye appeal of shimmering gold, along with a gold tone on the lumed hands and indices. The noble metal adds some style points, to be sure, but its use doesn’t take one whit away from nor add any fussiness to the timepiece’s classicism and practical appeal.
Both models are presented on a sustainable tan Cervo Volante deer leather strap that couldn’t be more perfectly in tune with the nature of the watches. Part heritage, part elegance (especially with the solid gold case execution), it’s one of the best understated pilot watch straps we’ve seen. And, of course, both timepieces sport Oris’ quick strap-change system.
Finally, bring some attractive presentation boxing on-board (matte grey for the steel version, cherrywood for the gold) and numbered certificates, and your flight is cleared for take-off.
Pricing & Availability
The 40mm Wings of Hope Limited Edition timepiece in steel is limited to 1,000 and lists for $3,700. Meanwhile, the 38mm Wings of Hope Gold Limited Edition (100 pieces) goes for $17,000.