Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition
It has not been a long time since the first article appeared in the new Top 5 section – it tackled five vintage bronze diver’s watches – and, once again, we will be talking about a watch with a bronze case. As I had already anticipated in that post, the Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition powerfully entered a sector populated by the three most sought after three hands watches in bronze existing on the market, alongside established models like the Tudor Black Bay Bronze, the newcomer Bell & Ross BR 03- 92 Bronze Diver (we had the steel version for a month) and, on the high end of the market, the PANERAI Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Bronzo PAM671.
In the last two years the partnership with the Carl Brashear Foundation has strengthened (Carl Brashear's son, Phillip, was a guest of the brand at Baselworld) and this confirms that the partnership has been extremely successful. In fact, from the point of view of the product, it was enough to read the enthusiastic comments of our readers and the market response. The quotations of a Carl Brashear Limited Edition watch on the second hand market are the confirmation of its success.
As I wrote in the Top 5 article and in the post dedicated to the first Carl Brashear Limited Edition launched in 2016, Oris presented us with a vintage inspired chronograph accompanied by a fascinating and authentic story that was perfectly interpreted on the big screen by actor Cuba Gooding Jr.
Above all, the brand launched a great product, because a good story without a quality product can only last a season. Using the Sixty-Five as the basis, Oris created the most authentic vintage diver’s watch within the three hands watches’ range retailing at under €3,000 and the attractive retail price did the rest.
A winning shouldn’t be changed and this axiom, if applied to watchmaking, becomes a mantra. Although the Carl Brashear Limited Edition is not a watch on which one could make sales volumes - it comes in a limited series and is therefore inevitably a niche product - the towing effect that it has on the rest of the collection and on the whole brand is undeniable and is also the reason why, in my opinion, Oris doubled up this year by presenting a chronograph version; a version that, in some ways, is even more interesting than the time only one. Bronze three hands watches made with a diver’s watch vintage inspiration have invaded the market and their novelty effect has now been diluted, but we cannot say the same thing of chronographs.
In this context we should exclude Montblanc that, last January, presented a bi-compax with a different inspiration, the German brand, infact, takes inspiration from the world of exploration rather than from the world of vintage diving. In short, the Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition watch is one of a kind and the crafting of the bi-compax dial is a great idea, as it was the idea to preserve all that we like on the time only version, such as the deep blue dial, the round shaped glowing indexes and no date on the dial.
It is such an intense, pleasant and balanced watch that you can turn a blind eye on the calibre; an honest and reliable automatic movement derived from a Sellita that does its job well, but that could be upgraded with something more refined. For a brand that built a best in class like the 110 calibre and its following versions and that had the courage to craft an in-house calibre with a manual winding, it would be the best option to equip the Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition with the technical alter ego of a 110 calibre.
This is the wish of an enthusiast who has followed with full interest the development of the brand in recent years and its progressive transformation into a vertically integrated manufacture and that also reported all this on the pages of this magazine. I am sure that Oris is working towards something new even within the chrono calibres sector and if that were the case, it would be nice to see a manual chrono similar to the Valjoux that were on the market in the 60s and 70s and that are now extremely sought after by enthusiasts of the vintage style and bi-compax watches alike. The Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition features a 43mm bronze case, the crown and the chrono buttons are also in bronze and the retail price of this timepiece has been set at €4,400.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®