One of the reasons we like Oris is because they oftentimes will produce watches that have meaning. For instance, they offer a limited edition Source of Life Aquis model to evoke the River Rhine and “celebrate the role water plays in creating, connecting and sustaining life, and invites us to think philosophically about how we care for the world’s water sources.” It doesn’t come across as sales tactic, but rather a concerted effort to give something back. With Oris’s special watch honoring the U.S. Navy’s first African American and first amputee Master Diver, Carl Brashear, there is actual meaning behind the watches design and material choice. The Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition was definitely one of the standout watches we saw at Baselworld 2018.
The two-counter chronograph is based on the Oris Divers Sixty-Five and cast in bronze as a nod to the diving equipment Brashear used in the 1960s and 70s. Bronze is not only used in the case, it’s employed in the bezel, crown and pushers. The dial is a deep blue, which is set off nicely with a domed sapphire crystal. The bicompax chronograph configuration allows for a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. There’s no date complication and runs on a modified Selita SW 510 movement.
The man behind the watch
Carl Brashear joined the U.S. Navy at 17 and graduate from the Navy’s diving program in 1954. Not only did he face racial discrimination, he lost part of his lower leg in an accident on duty to salvage a hydrogen bomb. Brashear overcame his physical setback to become the Navy’s first amputee diver in 1968 and a master diver in 1970. To become a master diver, one must complete dives to 300 meters, which is well beyond most divers’ range. Brashear went on to a storied career in the Navy and his story is told in the 2000 film Men of Honour, where he was portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr.
The watch is limited to 2,000 pieces and retails for $4,950. More information can be found at Oris.ch.