Oris Pays Tribute To US Navy Master Diver Carl Brashear
Oris made quite a splash when it released the Carl Brashear Limited Edition in 2016, an attractive dive watch encased in bronze. The choice of bronze lends it a retro vibe not just because of the colour but also because the material develops into a patina that is unique to the wearer over time.
When it is new, the watch posseses a shiny sheen similar to gold; after a period of time, the lustre would be replaced by a more subdued appearance of well-worn vintage. On the practical side, bronze is anti-corrosive, which is why it is popular in the marine industry.
The celebration of the life and accomplishments of Carl Brashear continues this year with a chronograph. The characteristic bronze case is paired with a blue dial, curved slightly for distinction. Rose gold-plated indices and hands make a nice contrast against the blue while complementing the bronze case.
The unidirectional 60-minute bezel, also crafted in bronze, features a zero marker filled with Superluminova for excellent visibility underwater. The steel caseback is embossed with a diver’s helmet and Brashear’s mantra: “It’s not a sin to get knocked down, it’s a sin to stay down”. A brown leather strap with bronze pin buckle completes the look.
Limited to 2,000 pieces, it is powered by Oris Cal. 771 based on the Sellita SW 510 workhorse.
Who is Carl Brashear?
The inspiring story of Carl Brashear is one of remarkable tenacity. He enlisted into the US Navy in 1948 and was so intrigued by the work of a diver while on duty that he applied to the navy’s diving school. After numerous failed attempts due to the colour of his skin, he was finally admitted. In school, he encountered hostile racism but persevered. When he graduated in 1954, he became the first African-American US Navy Diver.
In 1966, he lost the lower left leg after an accident while on a bomb recovery mission. Despite this disability, he was eager to get back to full duty and even qualifying as a Master Diver, the highest warfare qualification in the US Navy diving community, in 1970. He was also the first amputee Master Diver.
His life story was the subject of the Hollywood movie, Men of Honour, in 2000, starring Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr.. Brashear passed away in 2006 at the age of 75.