Traditional Swiss watch brand Oris introduces its second limited edition bronze watch that pays tributes to the legacy of heroic US Navy Master Diver, Carl Brashear.
Carl Brashear was one of the most inspirational figures of the 20th century, defying racial tensions, disability and the weight of history to become the U.S. Navy’s first African American and first amputee Master Diver. Carl Brashear, whose life was remembered in the film Men of Honour, was a heroic figure, and Oris presents this year the second limited edition watch made in his memory, a bronze-cased two counter chronograph.
Like the first watch, a time-only piece, the Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition is based on the Oris Divers Sixty- Five and cast in bronze. Oris has chosen the material again to represent the early diving equipment Brashear used, which was also made of bronze.
The Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition uses bronze for its case, bezel, crown and pushers, a highly unusual material in watchmaking. This is only the second time Oris has used it for the case of a wristwatch – the only other time being for the first limited edition made in Carl Brashear’s name.
The watch has a stainless steel case back embossed with a diver’s helmet and Carl Brashear’s famous quote: ‘It’s not a sin to get knocked down, it’s a sin to stay down’ Inside the watch is Oris Calibre 771, a special movement with a two-counter chronograph and a formidable 48-hour power reserve. It’s based on Sellita’s SW 510 and appears in the Oris collection for the first time.
Oris has chosen a chronograph function for this special watch as a symbol of the number of times Carl Brashear was stopped by factors in his life he couldn’t control, and yet always got back up again. The dial’s ‘bi-compax’ layout gives the watch its classic chronograph look, which is further enhanced by the absence of a date indicator. The subdial at 3 o’clock is a 30-minute counter; the subdial at 9 o’clock a small seconds. The dial is blue, a handsome complement to the bronze case and a reminder of the deep water into which Brashear ventured so often and so bravely.
The watch comes on a vintage brown leather strap. A couple of finishing touches complete the story behind the watch. The stainless steel case back features an embossed traditional diver’s helmet and Carl Brashear’s famous mantra. The watch comes in a special wooden presentation box, complete with a coin issued by the Carl Brashear Foundation.
Carl Brashear was born in Kentucky, USA in 1931. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1948 as a 17-year-old, shortly after the U.S. Military desegregated, and quickly decided he wanted to become a deep-sea diver. He graduated from the Navy’s diving programme in 1954, despite facing discrimination on account of his race.
In 1966, he lost the lower part of his left leg in an accident during a mission to salvage a hydrogen bomb. After an exhausting period of rehabilitation, he became the U.S. Navy’s first amputee diver in 1968, and then qualified as a Master Diver in 1970, the first African American to do so. The training for Master Diver certification involved completing a gruelling assessment programme, including dives to depths of 300 metres (1,000 feet) – in Brashear’s case, all with a prosthetic limb.
After a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy that lasted more than 30 years, Brashear retired in 1979. He died in 2006 aged 75. His extraordinary story was the inspiration for the 2000 film Men of Honour, in which Brashear was portrayed by Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr.
Model: Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition
Ref. No. 01 771 7744 3185 LS, Ø 43.00 mm
Limited to 2,000 pieces
Automatic chronograph movement Oris Cal. 771, based on Sellita SW 510
Multi-piece bronze case with screw-in bronze crown and pushers
Water-resistant to 10 bar/100m
Uni-directional rotating bronze bezel with 60-minute timer. Zero marker filled with Super-LumiNova®
Bubble-curved sapphire crystal, domed on both sides and with anti-reflective coating inside
Screwed stainless steel case back with embossed diver’s helmet and Carl Brashear’s mantra: ‘It’s not a sin to get knocked down, it’s a sin to stay down’ and engraved limited edition number
Dark blue, curved dial with applied, polished, rose gold-plated indices, filled with Super-LumiNova®. Rose gold-plated hour, minute and central seconds hands, filled with Super-LumiNova®. Rose gold-plated chronograph minute and running seconds hands
Brown leather strap with bronze pin buckle (additional stainless steel pin buckle also supplied)
Presented in a luxurious wooden box with additional stainless steel pin buckle and with Carl Brashear Foundation commemorative coin inside
Swiss retail price CHF 4,700