Oris introduces its second limited edition bronze watch made to remember the legacy of heroic US Navy Master Diver, Carl Brashear.
He 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 is delighted to announce the second limited edition watch made in his memory. Only 2000 of the bronze cased, two-counter chronographs will be made.
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 the represent the early diving equipment Brasher used, which was also made of bronze. Like Brasher, bronze has a natural warmth, a quality that makes it an appealing material for use in watches. Bronze also ages over time as it makes contact with atmospheric moisture and the pH levels of the wearers perspiration, developing a natural patina that will make each watch bespoke to its wearer, whilst keeping a fresh and refined feel.
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 1966, and then qualified as a master Diver certification involved completing a grilling assessment programme, including dives to depths of 300 metres (1000 feet) – in Brashear’s case, all with a prophetic 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.
For such a special individual, Oris has created a special and unique watch. 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 dial’s balanced, symmetrical layout is known as ‘bicompax and gives the watch its classic chronograph look, which is further enhanced by the absence of a date indicator. The sundial at 3 o’clock is a 30-minute counter; the sundial at 9 o’clock a small seconds hand. The dial is blue, a handsome complement to the bronze case and a reminder of the deep water in which Brashear ventured so often and so bravely. The watch also features 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 divers helmet and Carl Brashear’s famous mantra.
Ulrich W. Herzog, Oris chairman, sind: “We are so proud to be working with the Carl Brashear foundation once again. Mr Brashear was an inspirational human being who brought significant, meaningful change in his lifetime. At Oris, it’s our mission to bring #ChangeForTheBetter.”