Oris has announced a new partnership with the non-profit Roberto Clemente Foundation, along with a new limited edition watch to commemorate the late baseball player for which the foundation is named. The watch is a Big Crown Pointer Date with a unique color scheme that honors the life and career of Roberto Clemente in a tasteful (and quite handsome) manner. Like other LE watches from Oris that are designed to bring awareness to worthwhile causes (most recently, this Aquis), this Pointer Date strikes a balance between thematic cues from the cause it’s meant to celebrate, and being a compelling addition to the Big Crown collection.
After spending some time with the newest Pointer Date, we came away reminded of our fondness for the watch, which received its last big update in 2018. This edition shares the same frame and features as other Big Crown Pointer Date models, and that’s a good thing. What’s new here is the color scheme on the dial, and a unique case back engraving. This is a watch that we’ve seen take on a variety of colorways since it’s release, and we have yet to see one that doesn’t work. This edition is no exception, pairing a white dial with black and gold lettering and a hunter green chapter ring that brings some welcome contrast to the whole package.
Hands-On With The New Oris Pointer Date Roberto Clemente Limited Edition
Sellita SW200 With Oris Built Date Module
White with Black and Gold detailing
The Roberto Clemente connection is handled in a subtle yet effective way, with a gold “21” (Clemente’s number) appearing alongside the black Arabic numerals around the dial used for the date read out. Its appearance would easily go unnoticed at a glance, but it’s the kind of detail that adds meaning without compromising the core appeal and appearance of the watch. Before we take a closer look, it’s worth understanding the Roberto Clemente Foundation connection.
The Foundation’s namesake, Roberto Clemente played right field for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 to 1972. During his 18 year career, Clemente established himself as one of the all-time greats, with 4 batting titles, 15 all-star appearances, 12 golden gloves awards, and 2 World Series victories in 1960, and 1971. His professional success was only eclipsed by his humanitarian contributions to his home country of Puerto Rico. On December 23rd, 1972, the capital city of Nicaragua, Managua, was struck by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. Clemente immediately arranged emergency relief flights, though upon learning that aid was being diverted by corrupt officials of the Somoza government, Clemente decided to personally accompany his next relief flight on December 31st to ensure its proper disbursement. Overloaded and missing essential flight personnel, the DC-7 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Isla Verde shortly after takeoff, killing all 5 on board. Clemente was just 38 years old.
Today, the Roberto Clemente Foundation is run by Roberto’s son, Luis, who carries on in the work first started by his father more than 60 years ago by providing disaster relief for under-served communities and baseball clinics for at-risk youth in their mission of Building Nations of Good. It is in this mission that Oris supports the RCF, and this watch will hopefully bring some well deserved visibility to their work.
The Pointer Date LE is limited to 3,000 examples, signifying the 3,000 hits amassed by Clemente over the course of his career. The caseback of these watches features a relief of Clemente at bat along with each watch’s unique number out of the production run. If this is the first you’re hearing of Roberto Clemente, or if you aren’t all that keen on baseball, this great watch on its own merits.
On the wrist, the Pointer Date is effortless thanks to its 40mm case and ~48mm lug to lug measurement. The case is classically proportioned with brushed lugs and a distinctive coin edge bezel that provides a signature look to the watch. The bezel nestles into a notch at the base of the lugs to allow for a lower overall profile, a welcome move as the domed crystal accounts for a fair bit of height on its own, but don’t expect any issues with getting this one under your cuff.
The dial is old school in appearance, with cathedral style hands and mid-century modern Arabic numerals representing each hour just inside the dark green chapter ring. This tightens the dial proportions to appear smaller than the 40mm would suggest, creating what looks like a step down at the outer section of the dial. It is this furthest rung that houses the date numerals, each of which is represented individually. The crystal distorts at its edges but not enough to hinder a quick reading of the date at all but the steepest of angles. The date is read via …pointer hand with a golden triangle at its tip, the base of which indicates the date.
Oris excels at the color schemes with these watches, as we’ve seen on other limited editions as well as standard production models. It is here that the Roberto Clemente LE sets itself apart as the only Pointer Date to house a white dial. The gold and black additions are meant to evoke the colors of the Pittsburgh Pirates, but they work genuinely well here on their own, and if you had no knowledge of the Clemente connecting you’d be hard pressed to connect those dots from the dial alone.
The Pointer Date uses a Sellita SW200 (Oris 754) with an Oris built module to control the pointer date complication. Quick adjustments are handled with ease as the date hand can be adjusted on its own with the crown pulled out to its second stop. The hour and minute hands are the only items on the dial that receive ample lume, with small dots within the chapter ring for the hour markers barely registering, so low light usage is less than optimal.
The Roberto Clemente Limited Edition will be available this month for a price of 1,850 CHF. The watch is offered on a light brown leather strap with double stitching along its length, as well as a black, gold, and white NATO strap in the box. Learn more about this watch as well as the organization it benefits from Oris right here.