Swiss watch brand Oris has introduced the Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition, a bronze-cased, two-counter chronograph that was made in the memory of heroic US Navy Master Diver Carl Brashear.
Brashear is one of the icons of the 20th century—having defied racial tensions, disability, and the weight of history to become the U.S. Navy’s first African American and first amputee Master Diver.
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. Like Brashear, bronze has a natural warmth, a quality that makes it an appealing material for use in watches.
Oris selected 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. His mantra, often repeated during his lifetime, was: “It’s not a sin to get knocked down, it’s a sin to stay down.”
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. Bronze ages over time, subject to atmospheric moisture and the pH levels in the wearer’s perspiration, meaning each of the 2,000 watches made will take on a unique look.
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.
The dial’s balanced, symmetrical layout is known as the “bicompax” and 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.
“We are so proud to be working with the Carl Brashear Foundation once again,” said Oris Chairman Ulrich W. Herzog. “Mr Brashear was an inspirational human being who brought significant, meaningful change in his lifetime. At Oris, it’s our mission to bring #ChangeForTheBetter.”