Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition - Baselworld 2016
The Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition isn’t simply yet another vintage diver’s watch featuring a bronze alloy-made case but it is rather a tribute to an important character in American history, someone who Italian people have got to know thanks to the talent of Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and the movie “Men of Honour”. In the movie, Cuba Gooding Jr. played the role of the first Afro-American person to become a diver in the US Navy during an era, it was 1954, when a black person still had to fight quite hard to enter the United States military world. Carl’s story didn’t end there though, since the man was the victim of a bad accident that maimed his left leg. Despite all odds, Carl managed to still pursue his military career in 1968 and subsequently qualify as a US Navy Master Diver in 1970.
Carl Brashear’s epic life, the historic meaning of his deeds and his motto (“It’s not a sin to get knocked down, it’s a sin to stay down”) have inspired the first bronze-made watch ever crafted by Oris. The Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition is a re-invention of the Diver’s Sixty-Five that was launched in 2015, the re-edition of an historic model by Oris featuring a 40mm-case and a bubble Plexiglas-made sapphire glass. The modern timepiece has replaced the Plexiglas material with sapphire and the tritium-made indexes with a material that is called SuperLuminova "Light Old Radium”.
The Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition has grown to 42mm, the same thing that curiously happened to the newly launched Tudor Black Bay Bronze, whose case suddenly became 2mm larger than the original Black Bay’s. The dial has been crafted in a deep night blue colour and the original indexes have been replaced by applied indexes which are coated in pink gold like the three central hands. The bezel is a bronze alloy-made ring featuring an engraved scale with the 10s and 50s number embossed.
The only part of this timepiece that is made of steel is its back where Oris have drawn the silhouette of Carl Brashear’s original diver’s helmet that was still made of bronze, the limited series number, the silhouette of a peak and Carl’s famous quote which encourages everybody never to give up. The Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition adopts caliber Oris 733, a customized version of a Sellita SW200 and features a nice leather strap with white stitching and a bronze tang buckle.
The bronze alloy-made case is quite prone to oxidization. As Oris and other brands have claimed in the past, this oxidization process is a completely unique experience that varies from one timepiece to another, it is highly influenced by one’s use of their watch and it gives each one of the 2000 crafted copies a different patina. This is a feature that one can only discover with the passing of time. From an aesthetic point of view, Oris decided to use an alloy that gives their timepieces’ cases a darker hue if compared to the colour of other brands’ cases, the second step is then the brushing of the cases that gives them that particular vintage look. Pity for that small date window that I would happily give up on every three-hands, even more when it comes to a vintage timepiece. This watch is an extremely successful mixture between the colour and finishing of the case and the night blue hue of the dial, the retail price totals 2,600 Swiss Francs, a price that makes the Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition today’s most accessible bronze-cased timepiece in the market.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter