Skiing, mountaineering, and yodelling (yes, there is a world yodelling festival, held once every three years) are all traditional Swiss sports. One sport that you probably don’t associate Switzerland with is cricket, yet this hasn’t stopped Oris from sponsoring Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in London and now creating a special bronze watch to go with it. To be fair, the watch seems a lot easier to understand than the rules of cricket, as it’s inspired by Father Time: the name of the weathervane on the clock that presides over the famous grounds at Lord’s, where Oris is official timekeeper (actually the very first official timekeeper that the ground has had in its 236-year history).
Oris has been involved in cricket since last year, having turned its back on Formula 1 (where it was previously a sponsor of Williams for many seasons) in favour of something a bit more sedate and ecological, in line with Oris’s firm environmental message. And what could be greener than a cricket pitch?
The Father Time watch, released this month, features a stainless steel caseback with an engraving of the Father Time weathervane that is a symbol of arguably the most recognisable cricket venue in the world, sitting on top of the clock that looks over the pitch.
Inside the watch. you’ll find the familiar Oris 754 fully automatic movement, and it’s attached to your wrist with an equally familiar tan Cervo Volante deer hide strap (sustainably sourced as a result of the local deer cull near Oris HQ in Switzerland) or alternatively an imposing bronze bracelet.
Naturally, as we’ve come to expect from Oris, there’s a proper narrative behind this limited edition. Sir Herbert Baker, the architect of Lord’s second grandstand, gifted the weathervane to the ground’s owners – Marylebone Cricket Club – to apologise for the late completion of the building project, back in 1926. Father Time, a cast iron figure measuring almost a metre and a half and seen stooping over cricket stumps, is a mythical character who watches over the passage of time. More specifically, he represents Law 12.3 of the Laws of Cricket, held by MCC, which states that: “after the call of Time, the bails shall be removed from both wickets.”
And this means, if you’re watching, that’s your lot for the day. But Sir Herbert’s tardiness in completing the grandstand ultimately turned out to be good news for watch fans, as Oris is producing this distinctive limited edition watch in 1,926 examples – to mark the year of its inspiration. Father Time appears once more on the presentation box, and the whole thing retails for 2,950 Swiss Francs, which is around £2,750.
Although we’ve not yet seen this particular watch in person, we don’t actually need to, as it’s based on the well-known Oris Big Crown Pointer Date. This is a classically elegant design with an extra hand that points to the date, which is often easier to discern than squinting at a traditional window to find out: especially when that date is framed by a prominent red crescent at the end of the hand.
At 40mm it’s also a nice size, and you don’t necessarily have to be a devotee of the thwack of leather on willow to appreciate it – which is always the key to success with any special edition. So, pull on your whites, crack open the Pimm’s, and head out to the village green this summer to enjoy everything that Father Time has to give us. Even if you don’t understand cricket, you’ll still have the pleasure of checking your watch every so often to work out how long it is until teatime.
For more information on the new Oris Father Time Limited Edition, please visit: www.oris.ch.
Anthony Peacock works as a journalist and is the owner of an international communications agency, all of which has helped take him to more than 80 countries across the world.
Photographs courtesy of Oris